When finding what I want to do in life feels like a puzzle, I take road trips as opportunities to process my life choices.
The breathtaking, winding drive along the breezy shore of the Pacific Ocean is paradise for road trippers.
While my husband drives on one of the most mesmerizing roads in the world, I have the opportunity to stare out the window and think. Passing neon green pastures, majestic rock formations in the water, and the short salty waves of the ocean make my mind wander.
Long drives give me time to think about how lucky I am to live this nomad lifestyle. Am I really lucky?
No, it was a decision I made to live this way. I’m driving up the Oregon Coast on a random Tuesday while my friends whom I grew up with go to their nine-to-five corporate jobs.
I have a constant battle in my head about wondering what the right way to live is. Should I go on vacation, or can I live a vacation? Does this even fall in the same thought process as our life’s purpose?
It isn’t until we reach the northern part of the Oregon Coast that the weather turns. The mystic fog turns into storm clouds and light drizzle turns into dense Pacific rain. We sleep in a yurt that night and I keep waking to the sound of heavy rain and 40 mph wind gusts. I’m all about camping, but staying in a yurt that night was one of the best decisions.
The next morning, we continue north along the coast with the winds still intense and violent. Once hunger kicks in, we stop at a small coastal town in northwest Oregon. After one too many fresh oysters and house-made crab cakes, my husband wants to take a walk to the beach. On our way, we pass a kite shop and my heart skips a beat. I’m overwhelmed by childhood flashbacks.
I’ve been amazed by flying kites ever since I was a little pony-tailed girl. I remember getting a pink Barbie kite for my eighth birthday. My parents didn’t think I was going to beg them to come with me to a nearby meadow where I could fly it, but they took me anyways.
The next flashback is when I was around 16. My friend let me fly his black and red kite at a seaside marina. It was aerodynamic and was made of more durable material than my Barbie one. Besides the fact that it looked badass, it was also dangerously fast and sensitive.
Watching my friend do loopings looked simple enough, until I tried flying it. I crashed it twice within five minutes. It was a skill that would be cool to master and have full control of, but you’d need to practice and have passion for kite flying to do that.
By the time we reach the beach, I’m certain I can’t leave town until I go to the kite shop. It’s hard to see the beach because the sand blows in my eyes with the wind gusts. On the way back, we walk past the kite shop again. “I have to go in,” I say.
My hopes are high as we enter. I thought this was the kind of store I’d been searching for ever since I flew my friend’s kite. As I walk in, I’m surrounded by hundreds of kites—hanging from the ceiling, hanging on racks, and hanging above the cashier’s counter. The more I walk around, the more I start to feel disappointed.
There are so many different shapes and colors everywhere—it looks like a rainbow threw up in the local small-town store. I’m completely turned off by the Made-in-China looking kites of shark and dolphin and Superman shapes. I think it’s yet another tourist trap. The store reminds me of a Halloween shop, except they’re selling cheap, stupid kites. I can’t see anything similar to what I had in mind.
The red-bearded guy at the counter seems busy at the computer, but offers to help us if we have questions. It doesn’t hurt to ask, right?
“Yeah, do you have any ‘adult’ kites?” He walks around the counter and replies, “I don’t know what you mean by ‘adult’ but yes, everything on this side. Are you looking for one line or two line kites?” There I am, feeling like a fool for judging the store without knowing what I’m looking for and calling it “adult” kites.
The guy immediately jumps to the back-left corner of the store where the samples of kites are. He talks fast, but not too fast for an amateur to understand. Once I confess I’ve only flown an “adult” kite once, he finds three kites that would be appropriate for me. He tells me of the specifics of the material, the speed, the size, and other details. I get more information than I can handle, but know one thing for sure: This guy knows all the details about every kite in the shop, and you can feel the knack he has for kites.
I don’t hesitate to pick the right kite for myself. After the guy does a short demo on how to put my new, purple and blue kite together, I walk out the store happy about my new toy and blown away by its presentation. The confidence and knowledge the guy had about kites was truly admirable. He turned his passion for these fun toys into his profession. Not only is he doing what he loves, but he’s also 100 percent passionate about it.
A random stop on my travels turned into inspiration to keep completing my life’s purpose. Now I’m sure that I want to keep traveling and sharing my experiences with others. I want to do it without questioning my lifestyle choices.
If we want to fulfill our life’s purpose, we need to start listening to our heart. We need to follow our passion for what we love and give it all we’ve got. By staying true to ourselves, we inspire others to follow their dreams.
As soon as we get further away from the extreme Pacific winds, we pull over on the side of the road to test our new kite. Flying the fast, purple beast requires all my attention and gives me no time to take in the gorgeous scenery of the sunset-lit meadow. I stay focused and diligent to keep my kite flying. As I continue to travel and share my experiences to keep myself flying, I inspire others to get their passion up in the air too.
Author: Eva Gisburne
Image: Flickr/Michael Coghlan
Apprentice Editor: Michelle Jung; Editor: Travis May