This Road I'm Travelling

As summer draws to a close, I have my eyes set on another long roadtrip. Last year, I drove all the way to St. Louis, a town I had never visited before. This year, it's another town I've never visited: Nashville. I'd been close to Nashville before (Memphis, to be specific), but I've never been there.

There are multiple reasons why I chose Nashville. My friends in Braid will kick off a short tour there when I'm in town. They aren't coming to Texas anytime soon, and I haven't seen them in a couple of years. I always enjoy spending time with them, and it makes a much more involved experience. It beats standing in a dark bar for a couple of hours, surrounded by people staring down at their shoes or their smartphones. (Full disclosure, I usually am one of those people at shows, too.)

The drive to Nashville is not short, but it's not insanely long, either. Ten hours on the road is enough for me, and that's how long it will take for me to get there. I look forward to seeing a part of Tennessee that I have never seen before, and that's a major plus about traveling to parts of the country I've never seen before.

Like my trip last year, I have a limited amount of time to make the most of my trip. I get more out of a trip this way, as I don't have much time to fart around. I plan on hitting up a few record stores and eating at some restaurants my friends have recommended to me. The morning after the show, I'll be back on the road and heading home, hopefully stopping in Memphis for a couple of sight-seeing matters (Sun Studio and Ardent Studio, mainly).

I'm at a point in my life where I force myself to take some kind of vacation every year. I'm thankful to work for a company that encourages its employees to take time off, and one that doesn't shame you for wanting some time off in the first place. I don't think of the years I spent with my former employer as wasted years. The times I was able to vacation in Chicago, Little Rock, Memphis, and Destin really stick out from all the days I spent working, partying, walking the dog, writing articles and books, playing shows, and seeing shows.

I continue to choose a responsible attitude with leaving town for a few days. I have a plan to get to my destination and return. I don't have many responsibilities in my life, aside from work, paying rent, and taking care of two adorable dogs, but they are important responsibilities. As much as I look forward to spending a few days away from them, I look forward to coming back to them.

And yes, this year's trip is another part of the process in grieving the people (and relationship) I lost last year. Life has been, overall, significantly better in 2015, but there are still a lot of questions about where the hell my life is going next. I recently talked about grief in a feature I wrote for the Observer. Talking to Brandon Curtis, a former Dallas resident about his current projects, we openly talked about grief as he continues life, thinking all the time about his younger brother Benjamin, who passed away in 2013. Talking to Brandon was incredibly therapeutic, and I appreciated his openness with me. It was a conversation I had to have.

No other long roadtrips are on deck for me this year. Aside from a family reunion in Round Rock over the Labor Day weekend and family visits during the holidays, the rest of my year will be going to a lot of shows (especially this month and next month) and doing as much as I can to live with what I have now.