After college, I started working a 9-5 office job and still had the printed poem. Day by day, I felt my soul being sucked away through the computer screen or screams on the other end of the telephone line. I imagined the triumphant day I would leave, walking away from security, the status quo, and the way things were. On that day, I told myself, I would post on my Facebook the first lines of that poem that served as a beacon of hope for all those years:
Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me, leading wherever I chose.
The same copy of the poem came with me when I finally quit my job and traveled for 5 months.
Each time I leave to travel, I read Song of the Open Road again, new lines jumping off the page to guide me. Because every journey off the beaten path brings a new lesson, a new challenge, a new perspective. What excites me most about my travels are the things I’m not expecting, aside from knowing that I will be surprised by the twists and gifts of Grace as I walk this open road.
I’d like to share with you the entirety of Walt Whitman’s ode to the traveler, so that you may be sung to by the message that your heart most needs to hear.
Song of the Open Road