This is why we drive. Lessons from the back roads.

Ever have a moment where you just need to get away to reset? Since Chris and I had met, we’ve always gone on random rides around back roads. We have even been known to take hours of extra time to get somewhere close by. My eco-conscious and sustainably-minded friends are so mad right now! I know, I know… I’m not doing the environment any justice by burning more fossil fuels. To be honest, we never go anywhere. To and from the girls’ school or work, to and from the grocery store… you get the idea! Two weeks ago we didn’t go anywhere for 4 DAYS!

There are so many projects to do at home that there is never a slow day. With so much space to disappear, we are never bored. On the other hand, just being out in the world where other people don’t tend to go is inspiring and makes me feel like I’m part of a bigger world. You can start to feel small and isolated when you spend so much time away from the energy surrounding you.

When we lived in Ballston Spa, we’d drive so far away just to see old architecture and barns and farms and forests and rivers and mountains and lakes... I could go on forever! As much as I wanted to stay in Saratoga County, it just wasn’t our reality. I always joke that I was born in the wrong era. My soul feeds off of a slower pace of life and conservative morals guide where I invest myself. The history where we live now is so deep and the people who live here have no idea how lucky they are!

We live about fifteen minutes away from the southern Adirondacks and the Adirondack State Park. So many trails to hike and so close to home! Mud season needs to come to an end! Go the opposite direction and you’re 20 minutes away from Schoharie and the Heldeberg Mountains. From our house, we can see across the Mohawk River and into the mountains. So humbling!

But if you go deeper and explore the back roads, you get a much deeper appreciation for where we came from as a society. Seeing what the people before us were able to accomplish before modern advancements are amazing! Our conversations usually include many versions of “look at that!” “did you see that?” “that poor house” “I want to save it!” Never a dull moment!

You’d never know that a few hundred feet away was a beautiful Amish farm.

Saturday was one of those days for us. We had to go to Target so I asked if we could go out and explore. Explore we did! We ended up driving in and around the Town of Glen. I am so lucky to have a husband who will stop in the middle of the road so I can take a picture! Or apologize for not being able to stop before I even had a chance to ask!

Right after this was taken, I got an apology for not stopping to take a picture. I wasn’t sure I liked the view enough to ask him to stop.

After taking that picture, we drove 100 ft or so and I saw a horse hooked up to a trailer and immediately realized it was an Amish farm. I immediately felt a ton of guilt and wanted to delete the picture. The view was stunning! But the Amish live a simple life dedicated to the “old” ways of living. They don’t believe in modern technology, their dolls don’t have faces, and they will not have their pictures taken. To them, they are a community that works together to take care of one another. Knowing how strong the Amish convictions are, I felt bad for photographing something that belonged to them. I decided to keep the picture as a reminder of how much we feel entitled.

These are my most favorite pair of shoes. EVER!

For about 20 minutes we drove through a legitimate Amish community. What I saw blew me away! I have never seen a farm (houses, buggies, fields, etc) so clean! The houses were so white, the buggies so black, the animals living the life! And then we’d drive past a farm with all.the.things! Tractors, trucks, electricity. They were awful! The animals were all over, fences falling over, houses chipping paint. It was really sad. What we consider a modern farm is what we depend on for our survival and they can’t be maintained. Our farmers aren’t compensated as well as they should be. There is no reason why the people we depend on so much to live in disrepair and insecure about the safety of where they live.

The contrast to the Amish is night and day. The Amish have absolutely nothing to do other than maintain everything. The Amish were not distracted by cell phones and televisions, fast food, or cheap entertainment. They have the same 24 hours that we do, they just choose to spend it differently. If the world went into chaos (I envision the Walking Dead, without the zombies. Zombies are weird), the Amish are the only ones who wouldn’t be affected. Life would continue as normal. I joke that I want to live with the Amish for a month so I can immerse myself in all they know. Some days I don’t think the idea is so crazy.

These kinds of bridges are all over. For some reason, this one was a mind trip to look through.

Random drives through back roads are where you experience the world. It sometimes feels like wrong turns are way too intimate or violating the people you drive by. Turn around and accept the lesson learned: don’t go that way ever again, those people deserve their privacy!

Dirt Road Anthem and Ridin’ Roads are our lives in a song. Just not as sexy or smooth. These roads are rough and NOT FUN in the winter!

I’ll take those drives over anything, any day!

History and experiences are found on the back roads that surround you. Allow yourself to be humbled by what came before you. The intimacy teaches many lessons!

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