If I ever found myself on the side of a highway with my thumb in the air, I’d like to think I wouldn’t have a destination in mind. I’d like to think I’d go anywhere by way of any route, and that the freedom of the road and whomever was at the wheel would take me somewhere beautiful.
I have never hitched a ride in my life, and thanks to my mom’s words of warning, I’ve never gotten into a car with a stranger. Maybe that’s why the idea of hitchhiking is so interesting to me! I do, however, regularly get into the car with my husband and set off on a drive to nowhere in particular, camera at the ready. We drive aimlessly through the countryside, just for the pleasure of it. When we do these random drives, we always always always find beautiful things in unexpected places, and it’s a joy to photograph these sights because I know it’s my only chance to capture them, we’d never be able to find our way back even if we tried. Dilapidated farm houses, unusual wildlife, amazing cloud formations, abandoned towns...these are all things you can’t plan on discovering, you can’t set out looking for them, you have to come upon them purely by chance.
I experienced a cross country roadtrip vicariously through Nick and Celia’s journey. Although my main characters had no specific route planned for their trip, I got to spend a lot of time looking at maps and deciding where to have their story unfold. I was able to tie in some of my own travel experiences with the story early on in the book, but as Nick and Celia drove on, I got to write about places I’ve never been before, and that was an enjoyable challenge.
Now that the novel is complete and published, I daydream about doing a Nick and Celia road trip and following along with the book to visit all the places they passed through, though I’d prefer not to have to beg, borrow, or steal along the way.