Value in the journey itself

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When I ask you in my surveys why you go hunting, you cite dog work, friends and being in beautiful places. You seldom mention the journey, the getting there, the Road Trip. Maybe it doesn’t belong in the Pantheon of those reasons, but for me (and I’ll bet you) there is value in the voyage.
 
My last trip is typical. I left early enough not to rush – smelling roses along the way was easier with a distant deadline. I detoured to scout a trout stream, caught up with the wildlife refuge manager, had coffee at the cafĂ© whose town’s population swells to ten when I visit. Each pepped up my ho-hum drive, planted mileposts of variety along the endless ribbon of asphalt.
 
A dog in the front seat, the right license plate frame or window decal spark conversations with strangers in small towns and gigantic parking lots. If you keep an open mind you come away with insights into people and places. A new camping spot, landowner with ringnecks on his property, and if you’re lucky, a brother and college friend who intersect at one of your stops.
 
Kevin Bacon’s six degrees of separation are whittled to a couple in the Upland Nation. That guy in the next booth has a cousin who hunted with the guy you’re going to visit. The clerk behind the counter reads your magazine column, and his brother shot sporting clays with you last year. You only know and appreciate these family ties by stopping, breathing deep and opening your mouth and your mind.
 
So what makes your hunting trip more than a hunting trip?