Forever West: Why Driving Through Wyoming Can Be Oddly Meditative
WYOMING—There are few things more meditative than driving on the open road in Wyoming, largely because there is nothing there. Sure, it has the Tetons, it has Yellowstone—it has a few key sites of national geological importance, but for the most part there is just nothing. Wyoming is a place where a junction (of two roads) is a landmark.
And what do they sell at the junction of I-80 and 789?
Fireworks. There’s a sign for gas, but there is no gas station.
There is nothing in Wyoming, the speed limit is 70MPH, 80MPH; you click on cruise control and you ride. You put your windows down, and you stick your hand out of the window. You keeps your eyes on the road, but you cruise. And you shut your mind off. Because it’s not inundated with thoughts.
I don’t have a radio in my car. There's no music to distract me. There are no buildings to look at. Sure, there are a few signs, billboards, advertising services to look at—notably, Yellowstone National Park, gambling dens; strike it rich here in Wyoming. But other than that, there is nothing—just rolling green grass as far as the eye can see.
On I-80, everyone does 85MPH, 90MPH, clipping through the countryside.
Sure, there are things here to see, but what you come to see is not Wyoming itself, not the countryside—you want the destinations, so driving through it, for six hours, can be a bore. But because there’s nothing to distract you, to distract your mind from just thinking, it’s peaceful, it’s meditative. This is the first time I’ve driven through Wyoming like this, and I’ve got to say—its really not that bad. I know there’s nothing else to do except to escape inside of my head, be present in this moment here, appreciate the warm air outside, the rain clouds in the distance, but the blue sky ahead. The wind whipping at my arm, the feeling of freedom, which I associate with a state whose motto is aptly titled, Forever West.