I was eighteen years old when I bought my first car. Half a years worth of pinching pennies, and I had a clunky little Volkswagen to show for it. At first I used it for little things while I put myself through two years of college; trips home, midnight ventures to the Dairy Queen, etc. But I always knew she (the car, I mean) was meant for more. She was meant for adventure.
So, I adventured. For a whole summer, I climbed mountains and caught fireflies and met strangers who then became friends.
One day, I decided to drive my trusty Volkswagen all the way to the ocean. This was quite a feat, you see, since I lived about a day’s drive from any sort of ocean. And I wasn't all that sure that she (the car) would make it that far without breaking down or something.
I had faith in her and went anyway. I was about halfway there when my poor old gal sputtered to a stop. Luckily, she was just out of gas, but I would have to wait until someone came by to get any sort of help.
I was in a very, very remote road in a very remote part of a very remote forest. So, not so lucky I guess. I didn't know why I felt the need to use roads like that, they just always felt more exciting, more aesthetic, more alive.
Well, I was paying for it that day, so I sat out on the roof of my car and waited. And waited. And waited and waited and waited. I read half a book. My phone didn't have any service, or else I would have called someone. It was getting dark, so I made a little sign out of loose papers in my back seat that said, “If you can read this, please help. Out of gas,” and stuck it to my windows. Then I brushed my teeth and fell asleep.
In the morning, I had a hearty breakfast of gas station pastries and lukewarm lemonade, then put on some good walking shoes and started off in the direction of the nearest civilians. According to my map, that is. I loved the look and smell of the trees there, and I thought to myself that I might go camping there later. Much later.
A loud chirping sound caught my attention, so I turned to the trees, looking up their long trunks that stretched into the sky. A squirrel looked at me, then chirped some more and scurried down the trunk. I smiled and continued to walk down the road, but something deep in the trees caught my eye. I squinted, trying to make sense of the shapes I saw hidden in the trees and sparse undergrowth. Finally, I decided to step off of the road and into the forest.