Naming the Blog
Updated: Feb 7
We thought a lot about what to name our travel blog. Our placeholder was “Travels with Charlie,” but that felt pretty facile (given that it had been used before). Other contenders were “Charlie Goes West”, “On the Road with Charlie,” “Charlie Hits the Road,” “Going Down the Road with Charlie” “Boomers on the Move” …it went on and on. We talked about the focus: Charlie? Amy and Brose? Travel itself? And then we thought back to why we originally came up with the idea to do a cross-country road trip.
The conversation started in 2018. We were dreaming about where we might move for our “retirement,” what do we want to do with the last quarter of our lives, where do we want to die? At the time, pre-pandemic, we were very geographically open-minded: Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Oregon. We realized that we hadn’t been to most of the places we imagined retiring to, so it seemed clear that the first step to our retirement planning was an extended road trip. We knew we needed at least a little time to rough out a route, find a vehicle, and prepare for a long-term absence from our regular lives; 2019 may be too soon. Let’s aim for 2020; we’ll call it our “2020 Plan.”
And, we reasoned, there was the election and a mystifying threat of an ugly thug coming into power. Why was that happening? Who are these people who would support such a person? We must be misunderstanding something fundamental about our “fellow Americans.” (As the more naïve and sentimental one, I should probably be writing for myself here.) I thought, we need to go out and meet these people, attend political rallies, learn to understand, and respect the ideas of people who do not live on the coasts, who do not believe the truth of every word printed in the New York Times.
I began looking for quotes about travel that would capture this impulse. Nothing inspired me. Then I remembered an old Simon and Garfunkel song I used to love and sing, and was convinced that we are looking for America.
“Let us be lovers, we’ll marry our fortunes together
I’ve got some real estate here in my bag”
So we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. Wagner’s pies
And walked off to look for America
“Kathy,” I said, as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh
“Michigan seems like a dream to me now
It took me four days to hitch-hike from Saginaw
I’ve come to look for America”
Laughing on the bus
Playing games with the faces
She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
I said, “Be careful, his bow tie is really a camera”
“Toss me a cigarette, I think there’s one in my raincoat”
“We smoked the last one an hour ago”
So I looked at the scenery, she read her magazine
And the moon rose over an open field
“Kathy, I’m lost,” I said, though I knew she was sleeping.
“I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why”
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They’ve all come to look for America
All come to look for America
All come to look for America
© 1968 Words and Music by Paul Simon