ROAD TRIP: outer journey, inner mission

Sep 8, 2022

A couple lean out the window and sunroof of an SUV travelling down an empty highway on a road trip through farmlands.
Photo Credit: Connor Wilkins via Unsplash

The open road beckons: bigger, better, boundless. To see and to seek is a mythological theme with an American stamp, from wagon trains to memoirs and movies. The psychology of the road trip runs deep.

Progress and mobility have long been associated with forging ahead and hitting the trail. Cars are personal capsules of autonomy and freedom: load, stop, and go according to wish or whim. Passing through and possibility are part of the road trip’s drift and direction. The traveler may hope for treasure, pleasure, or revelation—or be in flight from stasis, failure, and alienation.

A road trip can be planned or spontaneous, solo or partnered, an initiation into the next stage of life, or an effort to evade it. Many are about relinquishing ego’s desire for a well-mapped destination and opening a path to psyche and Self. A road trip is an inner journey in the outer world. What will we encounter that reveals us to ourselves?

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“I was sleeping in my apartment in Brooklyn when I heard someone trying to break the door into the hallway from outside. I stood in front of the entrance door, waiting for whatever would come, thinking it was better to face it. The door opens, and two figures walk in: one is my father (dead by then), another a shape of a man covered feet to head by a black overall.”


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