Mari Katherine Raftopoulos
Mari Katherine Raftopoulos' column appears in the Craig Daily Press
and the Saturday Morning Press
"Sis, once you get in this Dodge, you don't stop. Just keep driving," my little brother Angelo said as we set out for a daily trip to the ranch.
I was the more experienced older sister, and most would assume I would take the role as the driver in this case.
But, the confidence in Angelo's eyes as the truck hugged the corners of the red dirt roads and glided smoothly across the washboard bumps showed me he had been doing this for years.
Most likely before his feet could even reach the pedals.
This was his response to my request to stop at the Maybell store for a coke and a beef jerky stick.
I wasn't particularly hungry or thirsty, but stopping, in my eyes, is a part of the journey.
A part of the road trip.
As a child, there was never a trip down to the ranch without stopping at the Maybell store. Maybe it is a tradition. Maybe it is a nuisance, but it is significant.
Whether it is a road trip, a flight, or a cruise, the most memorable stories come from the journey.
Is stopping along the way necessary or merely a distraction?
Some pursue a goal with drive and focus, never using their peripheral vision or knowledge along the way.
For them, the store is merely a distraction, merely a nuisance. The store has no real relevance to these people toward the journey, and this is the reason they wouldn't stop.
Others see the destination or goal in their future, but the vagueness and ambiguity of the goal leaves them in a route of discovery and exploration.
This is the reason they stop at the store.
For George, my older brother, the store carries much more than a beef jerky and a coke - in fact, it holds a chance for opportunities.
He says, "You never know who will be stopping at the Maybell store. Someone might hold the latest gossip, a job opportunity, or even love interest for you. This is the reason you stop - because you just never know."
You just never know if there is a chance, if you do not take the chance.
For me, stopping at the store is just as important as the drive.
Some will never take the chance to stop because it would delay their arrival to their destinations or goals.
Others will be stopping constantly because they fear the future. For this reason, I never live my life in cruise control and never in drive - it is always somewhere in between.
Although we sometimes wish that we all had superhuman abilities to teleport ourselves to those goals or destinations, the only way to get there is through the drive, or the journey.
So enjoy the ride.
Having a set of goals is important. If these goals did not exist, neither would direction.
Without goals, we would be carelessly going around in circles. That being said, these same goals must be willing to shift and alter depending on the chances you take along the journey to reach them.
So instead of asking myself, "Where I am going today?" I ask myself, "Where I am stopping?"