By Taylor Burgess
I have spent the past four years living and driving in the Over the Mountain area. As a student at Samford University, I have circled around Homewood and Vestavia Hills and Mountain Brook a countless number of times. Every semester, I have taken multiple trips home to Florida—and, of course, made my weekly commute to intern here at the Over the Mountain Journal. In short, I have done a lot of driving.
However, I would not say that I have done a lot of traveling. What I have been doing is just getting from point A to point B out of necessity, even if I don’t mind the places that I’m going.
And this is, of course, something that all of us do. Most parts of the Over the Mountain area are spread out, suburban rather than urban. We move and drive around because we have to go to work and buy groceries and go home again.
I do not think that transportation for practical purposes is inherently negative. It is a concrete and metal web binding much of our society.
But even so, as my graduation from college looms close—only two days off from this issue’s printing—I find myself wanting to make most aspects of my life both meaningful and economic uses of my time.
So after four years of pushing my creaky, un-air conditioned 1999 Mazda Protégé up and down Alabama hills and across Florida highways, I have decided to make the parts of my life that involve going places more worth my while.
I am going to travel.
I am beginning with the stereotypical post-grad jaunt—a few weeks with a backpack in Europe.
For the first two weeks, I am staying in a university-owned house in the Kensington district of London. Several very knowledgeable professors will be there as well, so my days will be filled with walking and talking about the staggering number of historical and intellectual landmarks on practically every street corner.
After I leave the United Kingdom, however, my travel will become a little more uncertain. I will hop on an intercontinental flight to Oldenburg, Germany, where a few close friends are studying in an exchange program. Here, my plans are less definite, and I will no longer have professorial guides to explain the significance of the places I will experience. I will have to figure that out for myself.
When I return to the U.S., things will begin to take a turn for the unconventional. Coming home, for the time being, will not be the beginning of a responsible career or graduate school. Instead, I will continue my pursuit of travel.
Throughout the fall months, I will be touring large swaths of America as an electric guitar player in a band with several close friends and musical collaborators.
While our primary purpose is to expose our music to as many people as possible and see what our career prospects—if any—are, it will also be an excellent opportunity to see more of the U.S.
I will driving exponentially more during those touring months than any period of my college career, but I think it will ultimately be much more rewarding. I will pass through places I have never been, navigate to unknown destinations, and know all the while that I am travelling for the sake of something that I love—music.
I am open to wherever the road takes me.
Follow Taylor on the road as he blogs about his travel experiences in Europe and the U.S. at www.otmj.com.