Monday, June 22, 2009

Road Trip

As most of you know, I recently returned from a 700+ mile road trip to Oregon. Come to think of it, I haven't done anything like that before ever. I mean, the longest distance I have ever driven previous to this excursion was Provo to St. George, when my mother ran in the marathon down there. But strangely I wasn't terribly nervous about that. I had some heartache over my car for awhile (turns out the starter was ka-puuutt) but it worked fine on the trip.

So Oregon is basically amazin! I think travel in general is one of the best things you can do with your time. Sure, I only went a couple of states away, but there are differences I noticed, believe me. That is the thing with travel. It makes you realize that people are different from you and they are happy that way. Sometimes I can get really caught up in myself and the way that I live and I begin to think that what I am doing is the ONLY way and that any other way is wrong or bad. And that is one of the most dangerous mindsets anyone can find themselves in. Not only do people live their lives differently from me, more often than not they live their lives better. I think the gospel has spoiled me a little. It's entirely my fault, but I've grown up with the knowledge of the church as being the one, true church and it was a big, brilliant lesson when I realized that there are good things, good people outside of the church, and more especially, outside "mormon culture".

Once I learned this lesson, the world has become a much larger, much richer place to live and grow in. This is partly the reason why I have decided to study history, and the art of teaching it to others. I want to show them this lesson that has been so valuable for me to learn.

History is like traveling, but in the past. You not only get to travel from continent to continent but from time to time. That may seem really obvious to the reader but its true! History isn't just about dates and names, those facts are good and necessary, but that seems to be the only thing people associate about history. It's so much more than that! It's about going through the millions of different stories in the world; picking out the best things and incorporating them in your life, so that at the end of the day, at the end of YOUR story; you have become the best sort of person you could be.

Without things I have picked up from my association with history and the study thereof, I would be a much less motivated and much less pleasant person to be around.


Back to my stories of Oregon. Sorry, I got so sidetracked!

We went to the ocean and it was the greatest experience when I first caught glimpse of the endless horizon and smelled the ocean breeze. It was seriously like coming home. I have lived my whole life in Utah, and really only spent three months living by the ocean, but I'm telling you man, once you've had it, there really is no going back. The weather was storming and chilly and typically not the most excellent weather for the beach, but while I was there I couldn't stop thinking how perfect it was. It was absolutely perfect.

Let's see...we took a day trip into Portland. It's not the capital, but its the biggest city in Oregon. It was a good experience. We took the wrong exit coming into the city and had to find the interstate again. It totally wasn't my fault, as the road suddenly split and I was in the wrong lane. I kinda just flowed into the wrong exit. Good news though, we miraculously found the interstate and then the next exit was ours! Hallejulah! So there are like five bridges in Portland. I'm fairly sure we went over at least four of them. NOT on purpose mind you. There are so many danged one-way streets in Portland, we went bridge-touring because we were so lost.

One of the best things of Portland? The International Rose Test Garden. Soooo pretty...I love roses. Did you know the rose is the flower of the month for June? It's like it's meant to be. Oregon is like THE best place in the world to grow roses, apparently. The red ones are my favorite. So Dramatic!

So things I learned/experienced in Oregon:

  • People drive slowly. very slowly, and yet, so much roadkill...

  • Women dress naturally. They don't look "made-up", so no exaggerated makeup (guilty!) and natural colors, and comfortable shoes.

  • THEY FILL UP YOUR GAS FOR YOU: this is a biggie, it was one of the biggest culture shocks I had to get used to.

  • Trees everywhere! This shouldn't have come as a shock but no, I was still amazed.
Last picture: there was a train engine in a park. Just so you know...and now you can look at it too!

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