If Portland, Oregon is the place where young people go to retire then I recently came out of a productive and happy 14-year retirement. I moved there straight after college; it’s where I met my husband, where our daughter was born, where we all made dear friends. Why leave such a place? There’s only really one thing that makes people move from Portland and it’s work. This spring my husband was offered a job in Fort Worth, Texas and suddenly we were moving. He left a couple of months before myself and our 9-year-old daughter who, while excited, was also nervous about what was to come. Mapping out our drive it appeared the shortest route would take us 3-4 days but was that any way to drive to a new life in the middle of summertime? I wanted to give her an adventure and some perspective on this move, on the distance we were to travel, on its place in what I hope will be a big life. There’s really only one way to do that: the all-American road trip. Given the novels written on the subject already, I can’t increase anyone’s understanding of what it’s like in the wide expanse of the American west; the small towns and surprising beauty and feelings of isolation and also belonging that come from days of driving through nothing and everything. The meaning comes from the experience and having this experience with my little girl seemed like the perfect way to transition our life. We left feeling a bit like adventurers in our own Hero’s Journey, hoping that by leaving all we knew behind and traveling into the unknown (but highly map-able) we’d discover a path home again.
All photos by Morgan Ennis