A Girl Named Leney

THE JOURNAL

The Wild and Wonderful American Road Trip

 Red Rock Canyon, Nevada in 35mm film 2016

Red Rock Canyon, Nevada in 35mm film 2016

i don't remember the first time i thought about driving across the country. 
there are many dreams that live inside of me that feel like they've just always been there. often i can remember various details and mile stones that attributed to their growth and permanence within me, but i don't always remember their conception. 
the American road trip is one of those kinds of dreams. 

(a related side note: after i wrote this whole post, i vaguely recalled writing about this dream years ago and after searching my archives, came across this from 2013. so, you know, there's at least one recorded mile stone for you.)

i think sometimes there is this unspoken expectation in our society, in regards to our dreams and the things we tell others we want to do. which is that for some reason they require justification by means of history and long-time desire and even a communicated "always" to validate them. i'm not sure why that is really. perhaps the drive to be different and one-of-a-kind and original. we didn't just see someone on instagram do that and now we want to, we are deeper and more thought out and planned than that. we wanted to do that before it was "cool". 

all of that to say, it feels important to communicate the "i've always wanted to do this" tagline not as a way of validating my desire, and elevating it over anyone else's that may be similar, but more so to simply revel in, and celebrate, the finality of finally embarking and choosing action and motion in regards to this long-held dream.
a fact that feels important in more ways than one for me. many of which i am not able, nor will i try, to communicate here. 

but that idea, of getting in my car and driving from one end of the country to the other, and back again, as cliche American right-of-passage and Jack Kerouac as it may be, just feels like one of those things i need to do. 
not to mention i have somewhat had this long-time obsession with being on the road. some of you may even remember one of my past knitwear collections being designed around that theme. 

for so long there has been a rhythm of restlessness in me. indeed i have a hard time remembering any kind of living without it. it's even translated in small long-ago-ways in my childhood. wanting to accompany my Father to run various weekend errands or visiting never-been-before places with my Mother. or even the short reels of memory that contain closer-to-home moments, though still ones of motion, in the way of dancing and running around the apartment i was born in.
i have always loved movement. in all of it's various forms. 
set in motion perhaps by the above reasons and also the privilege of many family trips to far-away places in my adolescence that attributed to shaping my curiosity and perspective.
and of course a voracious appetite for reading has lent a hand or two over the years as well. 

i tried to quiet it for a time, that desire to go and move, appease it with other smaller things. short-term things. often guided by the desires of others as opposed to my own. a thing i am really the only one to blame for. if there is any blame that even needs to be cast. which i suppose there isn't. for that would convey some manner of regret, which i don't really have, because i recognize all that i have lived and done before now has been what has shaped me into the person i presently am.
a person i actually quite like. 
but it took me a few years in the in-between of wide-eyed-innocence, and whatever you would call my current state, to realize that.
to realize that the voice telling me to "go.run.move" cannot be quieted. 
i don't know if i will always have this insatiable desire to wander and roam, but i know that i have it now, and now is all i am promised.
so that is the moment i am going to live in. 

i will be leaving very near the eve of the first day of Summer, next month. not exactly planned, but a happy happenstance. for what better time to set out on a Summer road trip than the first day of said season? 
i will be gone for a few months and i have a list of places i must see, people i want to visit and meet, and experiences to settle into and feel with every bit of my skin and bones. 
but there's going to be a lot of wandering. a lot of free wheeling. a lot of let's-see-what-happens. 
partially because i have never been one for planning every single detail of my life, and partially because the times i have always seem to end up falling by the wayside as counter to what was supposed to happen in the first place. 

i would be lying if i said there weren't some nerves jumping around inside of me. i live in Virginia and the farthest i've driven alone is Georgia and the farthest i've driven with others is probably a toss up between Maine, Florida and Michigan.
while i've been to many of the points in this country (32 of the 50 states to be exact), and many of the places in-between that connect them, most have been traveled to by plane. which feels in this particular way a kind of short cut and is coupled with an odd feeling of loss in regards to many of the unseen pieces-places-people that make up our country and that seem somewhat elusive and unable to be explored and experienced with a quick two-week trip. 

SO to wrap this up, here are some things i do want to specifically say:

1. i have several photography jobs along the way so if you live in any state out there other than Virginia and you have a desire to get some photos of some kind taken by me, let me know! it doesn't hurt to at least express interest, because you never know what could work out! as stated on The Traveling Photographer page, sessions booked during my travels are always cheaper because i waive travel fees because i'm already on the road. 

2. if you have a thing, a place, a food, a person or really just about anything that you have experienced or met or seen in this big beautiful country of ours, that you want to share or suggest for my trip, i would love to hear from you. instagram DM me or shoot me an email. i admit i am somewhat overwhelmed with the long list of things i already am trying to organize and connect into a cohesive plan, but i just can't say no to more suggestions (especially because i have a feeling this isn't going to be the last trip of this kind) so please bring them on!
big or small, i want them all. 

3. i am looking specifically for suggestions and "nominees" if you will for my Artists In Film series. so if you're a person who's doing interesting things, you know someone doing interesting things, or there's an artist you follow somewhat anonymously but would love to learn more about, message me!
i want to continue to expand the idea of what it is to be an artist and to showcase beautiful people in all walks of life who are doing things they love doing. 

4. if you want to say hi and EVEN if you have a guest room/couch to crash on/yard to camp in, well i would kind of love that too. again, much of this trip is about meeting new people and making new friends, so i would love it if you wanted to be added to that list of persons (regardless of whether or not you're willing to host me! meeting over coffee/walks/drinks are also welcome.)

so i suppose all that is left to say is what the aforementioned, and possibly overly quoted (especially by yours truly in 2014), Jack Kerouc said: 

"Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road."