The journey down south (pt. 6)

(Read parts 1 through 5 first.)

While I felt mostly chill about the whole car situation, not having a vehicle on a road trip leaves a person feeling quite insecure.

Not only did I not have the one thing I needed to get me from place to place. But I also was relying on my friends to take care of me. They were kind enough to house me and drive me around. But after a while, being so dependent made me feel like a child.

Day 6 (cont.)

So now that I picked up my car, I decided to go full send and got my own Airbnb for my last night in Asheville. I would spend the final evening driving my own car and sleeping in my own space.

I hugged my friends goodbye and did just that.

Day 7

I woke up that Thursday morning at 7am, showered, packed, and hit the road. It was 11 hours to the retreat near Tampa.

My favorite thing to do on long solo drives is to have deep phone calls with friends. I’m sure what it is, but something about being alone in a car makes me feel tens times more present with whomever I’m talking to.

But before I would do that, I spent the first two or three hours with my phone on airplane mode sitting in silence. Just thinking and listening to the sounds of the car as I sped down the highway.

Just like taking a walk with no phone, the mind will go to creative places if we allow it to. I thought about my friends, my business, my health. I came up with ideas that I voice-logged into my Apple Notes.

Eventually, my mind felt refreshed enough. I turned my phone back on and played “This is Drake” on Spotify. The world was right again.

My car doesn’t have a phone charger so when I go on road trips, I look at the next few directions on the GPS and commit them to memory. Not only does this save battery but it also makes me feel more old school—like I could take a wrong turn and have to ask for directions (i.e. look at my phone again).

When I crossed the state line into Florida, one of my best friends called.

We chatted about the podcast we’re making, about our separate vacations, and then he asked me a question.

“So what have been your biggest insights? What are you thinking about right now?”

He knows me well. He reads this blog (sometimes). He’s aware of my habit to take lessons from everything I do. I thought for a few seconds.

“You know what,” I said. “This may sound strange, but I honestly don’t really know what I’m thinking about right now. I’m not thinking about anything. I’m just talking to you.”

“Wow,” he replied. “I think that means you’re just present right now.”

I loved this realization. I truly wasn’t thinking about anything in my future or anything that happened in my past. I was just laughing and conversing with my good buddy.

I was so ready for this retreat. Ready to meet the man who taught me everything I know in my career. Ready to connect deeply with people I’ve only seen on Zoom in the past year. Ready to have nothing to do and nowhere to be.

We ended our call as I pulled into the neighborhood. Every house looked like a mansion. Then I got to the end of my GPS route and saw a van in the driveway. It was the van that would be taking us all around town.

I got out and heard laughter and shouting from the backyard. I walked around and saw all these people I’d known for a while but didn’t know at all.

“Dillan!!!!” was the first thing I heard.