During the summer of 2016 I took a road trip across the United States. I drove over six thousand miles (about 10K kilometers) and the experience was life changing for me and those with whom I connected while I was on this journey of self-discovery. I was not driving a Volkswagon van and I did not pass through Zion Canyon National Park, but it was an incredible journey nonetheless.
In May of 2021 I am repeating the experience. It will only be a five-day road trip days this time and I will cover about a twelve hundred miles in all. But the impact will be just as great, or perhaps even greater because I have been limited in my travels since the world became smaller as a result of the pandemic that first affected all of our lives in March of 2020.
When I set out alone in my car, whether I’m driving to my local Trader Joe’s market, driving between the two California cities I call home – Santa Clarita and Santa Barbara – I always set my intention of what I want to focus on during my journey. Some of my best thinking occurs while I am relaxed behind the wheel and listening to a book on tape, my local NPR station, the news, or simply breathing in the silence and watching the road ahead and the scenery all around me.
When I set out on my cross country road trip in 2016, it never occurred to me to turn the experience into a book. But a couple of years later I did do just that, and in January of 2019 The Road Trip: An Entrepreneur’s Journey of Self-Discovery was published to wide acclaim.
Once I realized that my trip was a metaphor for the life experiences that had touched my heart and turned me into the person I had become, I knew that sharing the stories with others would make sense. Will this first road trip in fourteen months end up as a book in the future? Perhaps. But it is far more likely my experiences will enhance my focus and vision so that I may better serve the new and newer entrepreneurs and authors who come to me for guidance and direction as they build and grow their own online empire.
Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I am reminded of my own mother, Audrey, who had a bit of the wanderlust within her spirit. If it had not been for a road trip she and my father took in the mid 1950s I wouldn’t be here today. It was a weekend trip to Las Vegas that changed the way each of them thought of themselves and envisioned their future.
I’m leaving on my current road trip in a few hours. Most likely, as you read this I will be headed north along Interstate 5 at a cruising speed slightly above the posted limit. Upon my return I will update this post and share as many details as possible with you. It is always my goal and intention to use my life experiences as a living and ongoing case study for those wishing in even the smallest way to emulate and learn from what has transpired.
To be continued…
Monday, May 17th, 2021
I have returned home after five full days on the road. I’ve always said that events, situations, and experiences change your life forever, and this one was no exception. Being out on the open road allows me to blow off the dust and clutter that has infiltrated and permeated my brain leading up to my travels. And once again, I learned more about myself and who I am at the core level. My beliefs may have changed and shifted in the past few years, but my values have not. I am happy and confident with the person I’ve become and how I show up each day.
My first stop came in the middle of the day on Monday. It was at the home of a client who has now become a dear friend, as my clients typically do. She lives out in the country in a semi-rural community and the setting is picturesque and breathtaking.
What impressed me the most is the fact that she and her husband have created a home for three generations of immediate family and extended family members, with everyone having the love, support, and space to grow and flourish. And there’s a vineyard in the back yard, so there’s that as well. Here is a video I created early in the morning before leaving for my next destination…
My next stop was only about 50 miles south, but the morning traffic heading into San Francisco made it a full two hour drive. When I pulled up in front of the four level home in the hills overlooking the Bay, I paused to reflect on my reason for coming here. It’s the home of my younger sister, and I wrote about this experience in a post about the three sisters. Growing up as an only child, it’s a gift from God to now be connected with these amazing people with whom I share DNA that includes our father’s green eyes and so much more.
I left before sunset and headed east to Berkeley. My clients there have a home in the hills, far above the college campus and a world away from the people I had already spent time with on this trip. They were kind and gracious and we went to bed early so we could get started with our work before daybreak on the following morning.
What I love most about being a marketing expert and strategist is spending time with highly intelligent people and working closely with them to first identify, and then solve their business issues. I love this work so much that it feels more like play than work, and I would almost be willing to do it for free instead of being paid the generous fees I receive. Almost.
On this day we worked for several hours at their home before driving into downtown San Francisco once the morning traffic had subsided. The sights, sounds, and smells of Berkeley are reminiscent of what I remember from spending time here in the 1970s and 80s. There is a freedom and a longing for something different that permeates the fabric of this community. I wish I could stay longer, so perhaps a return trip is in my future.
The city of San Francisco is a magical place. As a child, my mother used to refer to it, and to all of the Bay area as the “sophisticated” part of California. I didn’t quite understand that description until I was an adult and lived just south of San Francisco for a couple of years. I was in Foster City while I attended graduate school in Daly City at San Francisco State.
I’m Connie Ragen Green, an introvert who is continually reinventing myself so that I may connect with more diverse people, live through a series of interesting situations, and evolve into the person I’m pretty sure I want to be in the future.