I’m a bit of a poetry nerd. Just a bit. Okay, okay, so I’m obsessed with poetry. I'm obsessed with the poetic language. It’s part of my English major blood. I’ve been touched by words of emotion, awed by words of beauty, and floored by words that have allowed me to view the world through entirely new eyes. Some of the best words I’ve read, though, come from the legendary Walt Whitman poem “Song of the Open Road.”

The open road is nothing and everything. It’s common enough to exist as a speck of dust in the corner of my mind when I’m driving across fields of pavement. It strikes me as nothing out of the ordinary when I’m rushing mindlessly from Point A to Point B. The open road is nothing more than a distance I must travel to get to where I’m going.

It’s so much more than that, though, so much more.

When I catch the traffic just right in the morning and I’m not holding my breath while willing the light to stay green, the road is so much more than just a tool. Instead of being the path to a destination, it becomes the destination itself. I never know what wonders I’ll find along the way. I treasure the butterflies in my stomach when I’m taking a new road. There’s a quiet thrill in exploring territory upon which I’ve never rested my eyes.

My heart yearns to discover havens along new roads. I’m drawn to the open fields enveloping fresh asphalt, tucked away in small towns distant from industrialization. I’m captivated by the shops and cafes lining busy streets in swiftly moving cities. I’m in love with roads that take me to places where I can place my pencil on paper and write the words that grow in my mind as I drive.

There’s something sublime about ending up in a place I never knew to have existed, not even in the depths of my imagination. That’s the magic of the open road. It leads me off the beaten path to worlds locked away within my everyday world.

Beyond its capacity as a journey to the unknown, the open road is my home away from home. It’s always there for me when I need to take a drive to calm my nerves, to ease the racing thoughts in my mind, and to soothe frantic emotions running wild beneath my skin. I’m fortunate the road never ceases because my worries wouldn’t fit within a starting point and a finish line. When I’m gliding across the road in the safety of my beloved car, the buzz of the outside world fades into background noise.

So thank you, Open Road, my dear friend. Thank you for everything. Thank you for serving as the subject of a sensational Whitman poem and thank you for staying by my side through thick and thin. Thank you.