While author Sandi Ault is
avidly researching for her next book, members of the WILD Bunch are offering fun guest blogs on a wide range
of subjects. This guest blog is from Gillian Driscol. Our thanks to Gill
for providing us with her account of a road trip to Sandi's WILD Writers Workshop.
Road Trip by Gillian Driscoll
When I first moved to the west from England 27 years ago (yikes,
has it really been almost 30 years!), I became fascinated with stories of the harrowing journeys of the original settlers.
I read book after book, account after account of those marathon meanderings across parched plains, towering mountains, raging
rivers and impenetrable canyons. I was awed at the stamina of those folks, at their determination, at their capacity
for winning through and the way they coped with crippling conditions and devastating losses.
I wondered just how
they coped on a daily basis, spending hour after hour, day after day, either walking alongside or riding in those covered
wagons. The women especially, with the responsibility of children not to mention giving birth on the go, won my undying
admiration. How did they do that? How did they survive?
My good friend Sandi and I have been friends
and fellow life travelers for many years. Lately, however, our busy lives have left us little time for chats over tea
or even extended phone calls. Undaunted, we two resourceful Geminis, came up with an answer. We would take advantage
of Sandi's writing class in New Mexico and take a road trip.
As I jumped into my car to drive to Sandi's house,
I tried to cheer up my husband, who had a "you're leaving me behind all on my own" look on his face, by chirping
brightly "Hey, why don't you take a road trip with your buddies sometime?" He stared back at me with
a look of incomprehension, mumbled something indeterminate and kissed me goodbye. I guess same sex road trips can't
be a guy thing? Who knew?
I was excited. Six hours in a car with my friend meant lots of time
to chat and catch up. I couldn't wait. I even had a couple of books with me that I wanted to share excerpts from
with her. When I got there, I found she had done the same. Oh the joys of having a friend on the same wavelength!
We packed the car and set off, immediately tuning into the same spot on the dial. Let the conversation begin!
The journey passed quickly. We fixed our families, our health, our futures, our spouses and the world. How satisfying!
We laughed and came to the brink of tears. We ate (healthy stuff), drank and gushed about how much we loved the West
and the stunning vistas we passed through. We were so engrossed in our mission to catch up, we only made one potty stop.
Sandi's workshop was wonderful. The weather was wonderful. The company was wonderful.
New Mexico was radiant.
On Sunday morning we slept late and embarked on our journey home. Now it will probably
come as no surprise to female readers that our return trip was not a rerun of the outward leg - it was a continuation.
Far from running out of topics, we had the weekend to process, further thoughts on previously raised issues and more reading
to do. Despite traffic holdups that extended the time by another hour, we never ran out of things to discuss.
Now at last, after all these years, I realized I had my answer to the question of just how those women settlers coped.
They just kept talking with their BFFs! Every day as they set out on their dangerous journey into unknown territory,
they settled into their wagon or strode alongside making sure that a woman friend was nearby. As they walked they must
have reminisced about places and family they had left behind, shared concerns with each other, given advice, offered support
and comfort, speculated about the future, laughed and cried.
This is how women cope. This is how they survive
the unthinkable and trudge into the unknown. With their friends at their sides, women can survive most anything.
As long as we can talk, we can live.
Gillian Driscoll Ph.D. is a writer, spiritual teacher and speaker who
enjoys finding surprises in the ordinary stuff of life.