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Spoonbridge and cherry in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

It’s good to see you excited about something again.

“It’s good to see you excited about something again.”

When I started planning my summer road trip, that’s what I started hearing from everyone, “It’s good to see you excited about something again.”

And, I mean, I was excited. It had been over a year since I took a vacation at all and an even longer time since I’d traveled somewhere new.

Spoonbridge and cherry in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Spoonbridge and cherry in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I was excited for this road trip. I was excited to travel again, even if the destination was the not-so-exotic Idaho. I was excited at the possibility of sleeping in a giant potato. I was excited to see the world’s largest cow and the world’s largest bull and the world’s largest buffalo. I was excited to gather more content for my neglected roadside attractions blog. I was excited to share my photos. I was excited to be out of my apartment.


Feeding Dolly the Cow at the Big Idaho Potato Hotel - Potato AirBNB in Boise, Idaho

Feeding Dolly the Cow at the Big Idaho Potato Hotel – Potato AirBNB in Boise, Idaho

But there was something about that “again” that was always tacked on to the end of that sentence that hit me. It wasn’t that I was excited for this trip. It was that I was excited again. Again, as in, I’m not usually all that excited about anything.

And I guess it’s true: I’m usually not all that excited about anything.

When I’m not excited, I’m depressed. Or, maybe, when I’m depressed I’m not excited. I’m not really sure which comes first.

But I get in my own head a lot. I’m either anxious about the past or worrying about the future. I’m either thinking about money or my to-do list. I’m pessimistic about my weight, about how I don’t like how I look in any of my clothes. Or out of any of my clothes. I’m either home and dreading going out or out and wishing I was home.

It’s hard to get excited about the present sometimes. Especially when, in the present, I don’t have enough time or energy or money to do those things that might excite me.

Pinky the pink elephant in DeForest, Wisconsin

Pinky the pink elephant in DeForest, Wisconsin

When going out to a show or a bar or a restaurant means worrying about whether I can actually afford a cocktail or if I’ll have to splurge for a Lyft if I stay out too late, I’d rather just stay home, in bed, snuggling with my cats and binge-watching true crime on Netflix. And when I do go out I just think about all the things I should be doing back at home. Cleaning. Blogging. Sleeping.

The things that should bring me joy don’t because they are wrapped up in this anxiety-ridden box.

But when I’m excited, I’m less depressed. Or, maybe, when I’m less depressed I’m excited. I’m not really sure which comes first.

When I’m excited about something, I’m excited about it. I’m all in. It’s all I want to talk about. It’s all I want to learn about. It’s all I want to think about. It’s all I want to dream about.

Like when I’m in love and I will abandon everything to hang out with him, no matter what is or isn’t in my bank account or on my to do list. I don’t care. I don’t think about those things. I’ll leave bed at 2am and take a taxi over if he asks me to. I’ll go anywhere, anytime, just to see him. Just to be with him.

Like when I am planning a trip and planning that trip consumes me. And it doesn’t matter that I can’t afford that trip. And it doesn’t matter that there are so many “productive” things back home I could be working on instead. I will go and I will be there and I will be present.

Salem Sue, the world's largest Holstein cow in New Salem, North Dakota

Salem Sue, the world’s largest Holstein cow in New Salem, North Dakota

I was excited for this road trip. I was excited in the weeks leading up to the trip, as I was planning and plotting and dreaming of what was to come. I was excited the entire ten days of the trip, as I was seeing parts of the country I had never seen before and roadside attractions that I’ve always wanted to see. And I was excited after the trip, reminiscing, high on the adrenaline the vacation afforded me. At least, I was for a time, until I wasn’t excited anymore.


After it all wore off, I wasn’t excited about something anymore.

How do you have a life where everything excites you? Or at least, most things? Many things?

How do you have a life where you feel excited most of the time?

How do you have a life where excitement doesn’t come in spurts but in continual waves?

How do you go from being excited again to just being excited?

I guess, maybe, the only way to be more excited is to do more exciting things.

But how can you do more exciting things when your bank account is always low? When your scale is always high? When your head is always cloudy? When your pillow is always soft? When your cats are always comforting? When your time is always sparse? When your energy is always low?

How can you be excited when again and again and again there are so many reason not to be?

Otto the Big Otter in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.

Otto the Big Otter in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.


In case you missed it, here are the recaps of each of the ten days of my ten-state road trip:

A Road Trip. Part 1. To Iowa.

A Road Trip. Day 2. Des Moines to Omaha.

A Road Trip. Day 3. Nebraska and the Sandhills Journey.

A Road Trip. Day 4. Wyoming to Utah.

A Road Trip. Day 5. Salt Lake City to Boise.

A Road Trip. Day 6. Boise to Butte.

A Road Trip. Day 7. Driving through Montana.


A Road Trip. Day 8. Billings to Bismarck.

A Road Trip. Day 9. Bismarck to Minneapolis (and all the biggest things).

A Road Trip. Day 10. Minneapolis to Chicago.

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1 Comment
  • Chris
    November 20, 2019 at 6:59 am

    I don’t know if I’m suggesting that Mellencamp is a master songwriter, but I’ve lately been struck by the lyric “Oh yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone” which I guess means I’m also rarely excited.

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