The Open Road Cures

I was in a funk.

And I couldn’t even really pinpoint why, except to say that it was probably just a combination of many things. I had a bit of blogger burn-out, I supposed – I couldn’t be inspired to write anything about anywhere, guests posts and the like were piling up.

Add on the stress of working on a new business plan, a couple of unsatisfying course assignments, a few consecutive cool and rainy days keeping me huddled inside, and I just wanted to shut it all down. Curl up in front of the fireplace with a book and turn off from the world for a day.

So, I did that. But it didn’t help. I sunk a little deeper into the funk with the disappointment of its endurance, and couldn’t see how I was going to break free of it.

“Let’s go for a drive today,” Pete said from the foot of the bed as I rose late, the drowsy affects of a sleeping aid requiring a few seconds for me to register his comments. I truthfully wasn’t in the mood, I couldn’t be bothered to do anything, but he was eager. I got up, I dressed, and he drove.

The wonderful thing about where we are staying in central Ireland is that we are just a short drive to nearly everything on the island. Pete had mapped out a route that would take us through the Wicklow Mountains near Dublin.

We both snickered when we saw them. After growing up near the Rockies and spending almost a year in the Andes, the Wicklow’s have quite a feeble claim on the word “mountain”. But it was still a treat to drive through the Sally Gap, as the landscape brandished a shockingly different scene than what we were used to. We emerged from closeted narrow roads of bulging shrubs and overhanging trees to an unusual blanket of dry, sparse grasses. And after days of cool, rainy weather, clouds lifted and blue skies emerged. We stopped to snap several pictures along the way, and turned our faces upwards to welcome the warmth of the sun.

County Wicklow Open Road

After enjoying the much heralded view of Guinness Lake, we turned west and back into the forest. We came upon Glendalough, ruins of churches and the like that date back to the 11th century and sit in a glacial valley near two lakes. The grounds were crawling with tourists, which on any given day I would normally shirk away from, preferring a more private exploration of a given attraction, but we were eager to stretch our legs. And the tourists ended up being a big part of our entertainment on the stop. While we crept along and waited patiently for our chance to take pictures, teenagers took turns kicking soccer balls on the grassy parts and huddling around the cemetery for group pictures, flashing the peace sign with one hand while the other arm snaked around a grave stone.

The Ruins at Glendalough, Ireland

We both laughed at their antics as we sauntered back to the car. I sank into the seat, turned the volume up on the new Death Cab album, and we continued along the loop towards home.

After banishing all talk of website changes and photo editing, I allowed only good music, fresh air through the open window, and reflections on the day to sooth my soul. I silently wrote this post in my head as Pete guided the car along stretches of pavement through familiar tunnels of lush, overgrown trees. It was my first bit of writing in days, made possible by the brilliant sun and blue skies, this charmed life that I love, my all-knowing and ever-thoughtful husband, and the open road.


33 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • August 1 2011

    Great article Dalene. Something about just driving, breathing in the fresh air and listening to good music is magic! Works every time for me. More so, if I can be on a motorcycle and feel like one with the road.

    I really like the angle and the lines of the first photo too!

    • August 1 2011

      Ooh – a motorcycle! Haven’t tried that. Will save it for when I really, really hit a wall! πŸ™‚

  • Emily in Chile
    August 2 2011

    I sometimes try vegging out to cure a mood like that too, even though I’ve learned by now that what I really need to do is get up and DO something. It sounds like a beautiful drive was just what you needed.

    • August 3 2011

      A drive, a hike, I probably could have done anything and it would have helped, but once in the funk, it’s hard to see that – I’m sure you know what I mean. πŸ™‚

  • August 3 2011

    Great article, Dalene! There’s nothing like a bit of fresh air and sunshine to clear your head. Road trips are one of my favorite ways to see a place – I’m getting organised at the moment to head over to the US for a road trip through some of the national parks. Should be wonderful. Glad you are feeling better!
    Cherina recently posted..Paris Sweet Home

    • August 3 2011

      A US road trip is high on our list of things to do – we actually debated doing it before deciding to go to Europe! Enjoy!

  • August 3 2011

    A drive is a wonderful way to clear the head, isn’t it? Especially in Ireland! I loved the Wicklow Mountins & Glendalough. Of course, I pretty like everything about Ireland.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Views from POPOS

    • August 3 2011

      Yep, it’s hard not to love it all. Sometimes I forget where I am when it’s been a few days since leaving the house…a road trip was just what I needed to remind me of that!

  • This is so true and I’m glad you are feeling better! All it takes is a little change and to clear our minds to feel back on top of the world. After writing my burnout post, I actually started to feel a little burnt out and instead of a road trip, I spent two days on the beach, soaking in those positive ions. πŸ™‚
    Christy @ Ordinary Traveler recently posted..Yellowstone Time Lapse Video

    • August 3 2011

      Oooh yes, a beach could be the magic trick too! We subscribed to that strategy often in Roatan. πŸ™‚

  • August 3 2011

    True what you say about Ireland but just about any place is good for curing block or blues – if you just get out into it.
    Maria recently posted..Wheels Down – Part II

    • August 5 2011

      That is absolutely right. It’s just all about appreciating where you are at that moment, and getting out to enjoy it!

  • Hogga
    August 3 2011

    Ah I need to roadtrip ASAP!

  • August 4 2011

    I love this post and the message it shares. It’s definitely the descriptive writing though that does it for me. I love that closing paragraph!
    Phil recently posted..Bamako to Dakar: a Tidy 35 Hours on the Okra Sauce Bus

  • August 4 2011

    We did the same last weekend and spent it on a lake, soaking up nothing but Mother Nature! Amazing how a little fresh air and adventure gets the blood pumping

  • Jason Castellani
    August 4 2011

    Eventually blogging becomes a formal job and we always need breaks from that.

    • August 5 2011

      Yes, I am sure you could tell me a thing or two about that Jason! We’ve only been going 7 months strong…time for a vacay! πŸ™‚

  • August 4 2011

    We’ve done that drive so many times. It is a good little escape route. it’s so pretty and serene. You’ll have to go to Johnny Foxes for a beer a top the Wicklow Mountains
    Caz Makepeace recently posted..The Dangers of Being Culturally Defined

  • August 4 2011

    Oooh – you had gorgeous weather! We hiked in the rain there – of course, John pointed out that you haven’t really been to Ireland if you haven’t hiked in the rain.

    • August 5 2011

      Good point by John. We did that a couple of weeks ago too. I guess we can go now! πŸ™‚

  • August 6 2011

    The beauty of owning a car πŸ™‚ Another way to prove that you don’t need to go very far to be inspired and get a change of scenery.
    Eurotrip Tips recently posted..Top 5 Destinations to Propose in Europe

    • August 7 2011

      It’s actually courtesy of the beauty of house sitting and using the home owners car! πŸ™‚

  • August 8 2011

    Nothing like a road trip to cure all! I’m super jealous of your trip right now!
    jade recently posted..Lifestyle Travel: Music of Iceland

  • flipnomad
    August 8 2011

    great article dalene… i really need to learn how to drive again… got a bit traumatized after a vehicular accident when i was younger but i agree.. nothing beats the feeling of just being on the road… i miss having roadtrips with my friends… just driving without really any destination in mind is really a fun thing to do πŸ™‚

    • August 9 2011

      It’s a rare thing to get out on the road without a real purpose – hey? But it can be the most fun, and the most nourishing to the soul! Need to do that more often. πŸ™‚

  • August 9 2011

    I have also been in that same funk where nothing seems to be appealing and there is no motivation to do anything. However, if I will just stop wallowing in my misery for two seconds, it’s usually the simplest things that will bring me out of the funk. Sounds like you two had a good day!
    Claire recently posted..Misery and Illness Love Company

    • August 9 2011

      I hear you Claire – sometimes it really can be that simple, and for me, it really was. During the quiet moments of the drive I was really able to focus in on what was bugging me so much, and then decided what I was going to do about it. I really knew it all along, just needed to clear my head with new scenery and fresh air! πŸ™‚

  • August 10 2011

    It’s easy to get stuck in a rut or feel your creativity is being zapped – especially when blogging becomes routine. This is a great example of how an inspiring day can recharge one’s battery and creative juices.
    Nomadic Samuel recently posted..Satay | Jama Masjid | Old Delhi, India | Travel Photo

  • Faith
    August 10 2011

    There is nothing like a day on the road to cure me when i get down! I can definitely relate to this post. Im glad it cheered you up πŸ™‚

  • August 14 2011

    i hear you – the only thing that works for me is a digital detox, too. glad you got out – such beautyf!
    wandering educators recently posted..β€œWalking the Wall” Berlin history tour

  • September 11 2011

    Love this. And I love Glendalough. We were lucky enough to be there in January, on a very windy day and had dramatic skies and the place to ourselves. There were even waves on those smooth lakes, it was so windy.
    Mara recently posted..Colonial Williamsburg: One last look

    • September 11 2011

      Thanks Mara! It’s a pretty special place, especially when you can get it all to yourself! πŸ™‚

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge