The road on the map is a squiggly line that appears to connect with the Pig Trail Scenic Byway in the Boston Mountains of Arkansas. That darting line of indecision proves to be the rockiest of roads with no cushy marshmallows to break up the bumps. The car stops as the windows roll down. I listen to the chatter of the leaves in the wind. The sound is magically uninterrupted. Time suspends.
Lately I have been struggling with travel, time and money. There never seems to be enough of these three. Travel and time collided for me on a whirlwind trip through Dusseldorf, Copenhagen, Vienna, Zurich and Lucerne at the beginning of the month. Views were only appreciated for brief moments. Feelings weren’t given enough time to grow for each destination. And yet on that back road in Arkansas, I found travel, time and money meeting in their simple, true forms.
I pass by barns that look like they have seen a few covered wagons roll past. Deer frolic in open fields as they though don’t have a care in the world, despite the fact that hunting season is in full swing down south.
I have nothing but time to get lost down these stretches shaded by bright orange leaves. And with time comes the ability to soak up the travel experience. Each bend in the road, every change in direction is not just a foggy muddled mess in my mind, but rather an experience of fall in Arkansas. I don’t have 5 minutes to enjoy the view or just $5 to spend on the experience. I am penniless and content.
I have wondered if my ability to merely let travel and time go as they will has something to do with the lack of funds spent on the experience. To traverse the back roads of Arkansas, you don’t necessarily need to be rich in your pockets. A few gallons of gas will see me through this afternoon excursion. There are no hefty plane ticket prices, baggage fees or admission tickets tacked on to this lazy weekend adventure. With no real life worries, I can focus on the task at hand, simply traveling through a corner of the world.
My simple journey of bumpy back roads meets up with the paved Pig Trail Scenic Byway. It travels through the rugged Boston Mountains of the Ozark Mountains. Around 19 miles, a few other cars travel beneath the tunnel of foliage.
With the afternoon quickly fading and the evening creeping in, my journey becomes an act of chasing the sun. I pause at an overlook, blanketed in shadows.
And in chasing the sun, it becomes clear that I am in a metaphorical race. I want to capture this day, this simplistic travel moment under the sunlight. In many respects, I don’t want it to end for I know these days are few and far between, days where time, travel and money meet in their best light, a light you don’t notice until its gone. You don’t need a full bank account to see the world. You just need to see the world in the subtleties of travel.
Have you ever had a similar travel day, one where time and money seem to fade in significance and you can focus on the travel experience completely?