The Journey of Life

Recently I shared with you my plan to RV (now a well accepted verb) with my husband Dan to Los Angeles for the arrival of a new grand baby. Wanted to let you know our social-distancing travel plan worked! We only stopped for gas (did you know that an RV has a 55-gallon tank and gets an average of 7 miles/gallon?), Mt. Rushmore and Zion National Park.

It was an adventure without mishaps, thank goodness. But there were adjustments: the challenge of driving through South Dakota’s gusty plains; increasing our speaking levels so we could hear each other over the noisy RV ride; and living in cozy quarters…well, you can imagine.

By now you might also expect that I have some observations and insights about the trip that I continue to reflect on and want to share. Overall, I would describe the trip as humbling, insightful, and introspective.

We will always appreciate the kindness of others.
Although we stuck to our intention to avoid as much as possible direct interaction with people, we truly appreciated kind inquiries by KOA escorts who offered their help in hooking us up for the night. They made us feel welcome and reassured as RV novices. Our experience brought to life my philosophy that people remember how you made them feel (see my email signature).


Symbols of pride and achievement bind US.
I visited Mt. Rushmore as a teen, as a seasoned adult the visit inspired awareness of our country’s history and events/period that defined its development: Freedom/Democracy/Revolutionary War (Washington), the vast expansion of our country (land acquisitions by Jefferson); the Civil War (Lincoln); population growth through enormous immigration leading to much urbanization and industrialization (Roosevelt). And thoughts about what lays ahead for the USA.

We felt linked to these determined people and their time through the turmoil of today, the challenges that COVID-19 has thrown us— and our determination to be present as a new life is welcomed into our family.

Driving through the vast, vacuous space in Wyoming provided stark contrast to our familiar urban and suburban neighborhoods. We passed few vehicles and saw few homes. Commercial establishments were few and far between. After all, as the least populated state, it’s home to only 579,000 (lots of windshield time for learning).

Utah’s mountain ranges gave us pause to marvel at the hardworking Americans who built roads through them. The majestic canyons and red cliffs of Zion National Park are miraculous. The Mojave Desert’s Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is a testament to American ingenuity in creating massive amounts of solar energy and lights that can be seen miles from it.

Divisions need understanding.
I continue to replay our seven-states-in-four-days route in my head. The symbols that connect us as Americans inspire pride, loyalty, and gratitude for the blessings of freedom our country affords us. Yet recent events have shed light on how our connection doesn’t mean we all have the same views about our country—like families that don’t always agree.

Personal experiences, how we’ve been treated, and information about how others are treated certainly account for how views are shaped. And the past six months have widened divisions among US that we need to work on to mitigate divisiveness.

It strikes me that the workplace is a microcosm of the country, with the organization likened to the USA and each department or business unit like a state often marching to its own rhythm. I’m suggesting that we as a business and as a country can be more successful when we are willing to listen open-mindedly and respond to all parts of the organization.

As always, I’d love to hear your views. Also happy to impart RV advice. Stay safe.