Those were the roads I needed to take to reach my destination – going from Massachusetts to South Carolina for school. As I got behind the wheel of my ’88 light blue Honda Civic Sedan, I checked the list again. Then I fastened my seatbelt, turned on the ignition, and headed out the driveway and on to the Mass Turnpike to start my journey.
I had taken this route many times – in my parents’ car, with friends, by tour bus, but this time I was driving it on my own. No cell phone, no GPS. No exit numbers. Just me, an index card, a back up road atlas, and my car.
I knew how long it was through each state – Massachusetts to Connecticut to New York to Pennsylvania, and then 3 hours. A quick jaunt through Maryland and West Virginia followed by 5 grueling hours through Virginia. Then North Carolina, and finally South Carolina. The Gaffney Peach was always the welcome sign that we were almost there.
I now live by the GPS app on my phone (WAZE) and even when I’m just driving home – I still turn it on to help me avoid traffic jams and unforeseen road delays.
Yet there I was, barely 20, driving myself almost 1000 miles with no clearer direction than searching for the signs to tell me where the roads led, and then choosing which way I wanted to go.
This morning, I woke up and felt lost. The road ahead for us is not clear, and many dangerous things lie ahead. With all my technology, there is no confirmed route that will ensure a safe outcome for any of us.
I took the roads that I thought would lead me where I wanted to end up – a place that would provide safety to my friends, equality for all. I woke up and found out – the orange glow was not a familiar landmark telling me we were in the home stretch. Instead, I know we have some new routes to plot out, some new travel plans to make, and a long, long way to go.
I’m still confident we’ll get there. I’m just not sure when. And I hope my fellow travelers will be safe along the way.