One Hundred Years ago, it was common for people to live most or all of their lives in one place. People’s ties would remain with one community throughout their lives. For a typical American one hundred years ago, this all but guaranteed that certain people would remain in each other’s lives throughout its course.
All that changed as society became more mobile. While there are still some people out there that remain in their community or metropolitan area of origin throughout their lives, it has also become quite common for people to move to different regions as their lives progress. This makes each of life’s new chapters increasingly involve new places, new people, or both. In early 21st century society, even those that are committed to one place for life will experience significant flux with regards to the people they encounter and interact with on a day-to-day basis.
As one’s life turns from one chapter to another, it is all too easy for anyone to lose touch with the people that had grown important to them in any of their lives’ previous chapters. Life’s new chapter demands attention, and it is a bad idea to constantly live in the past. It also suddenly requires significantly more effort to remain in touch with people, especially if the next chapter of your life involves a move to another city/region. However, I definitely believe it is worthwhile to keep in touch. Many people have told me that I am good at keeping in touch with people. I believe this only to be true for early 21st century standards. Overall, I still think I could do a much better job of this.
One problem is that our society is still in a restructuring phase. We are restructuring our communities around increasing mobility, new forms of communication, and our society’s changing needs. We now have websites like Facebook that help us keep in touch. But, while Facebook helps us track each other’s lives from remote locations, it is no true substitute for having actual experiences with one another.
This is why I decided to take some spare time I have to go on a major fall road trip. My itinerary is summarized above, but there will probably be more to it than what is presented on this map. My idea behind this trip is to see some people that have been, and still are, important to me, but also develop some new experiences.
With a total of two weeks worth of time, I will not be able to make it to all of the places I would like to, and see all of the people I would like to. But, I still think I came up with a plan that will allow me to reconnect with a significant number of people with whom I would like to remain connected with, without being too hurried to actually enjoy the experiences. I have a plan, but I am ready to adjust, and there is some extra time built in. It is a balanced road trip, a mix of the familiar and the new, a mix of the urban and the wilderness, and a blend of efficiency and flexibility.