The weather this winter seems to have been warmer than usual, even for South Georgia. In fact, the last day or so seem to have been the coldest so far, and very well may be the coldest for the entire season. I like cold weather. I always have. Whenever the temperatures begin to fall, my mind immediately wanders into thoughts of travel and holidays. The cold weather forces us inside – inside of our homes, cars, and anywhere with heat. However, it also forces us inside ourselves and gives us time to contemplate our lives.

For my entire life, I’ve lived either in South or Middle Georgia. So, it’s safe to say that I’ve never had to experience any truly brutally cold weather. Other than vacations, the extent of my winter experience is formed through the real life experience of a mild Georgia winter. The coldest weather I’ve ever experienced was in North Dakota in early December of 2009. I decided to take a weekend jaunt to see a concert in Rapid City, South Dakota. Being an introvert, I decided to make the trip the ultimate “introversion excursion.” The plan was simple. I would fly from Atlanta to Minneapolis to Rapid City, see the concert, and fly back the next day. On the way up, I decided that it would be a shame to go that far and only visit Rapid City. So, my plan changed. I decided to rent a car and drive as much as I could before my flight back the next day.

Due to dastardly weather conditions, my flight to Minneapolis was delayed and I missed my connection to Rapid City. By the time I got to Rapid City, I had enough time to get to the concert venue and take my seat. After the concert, I decided I should still see what I could of the area even though it was late in the evening. So, I got in my rental car and drove. I started outgoing west on the freeway and made it to Wyoming. I hung a right and went straight up to Miles City, Montana. By now it was late, around midnight. I was full of energy and decided to keep going. I drove back east into North Dakota. As the hours progressed and the miles added up, the snow began to fall. Pretty soon, traffic was barely moving and only one lane of the road was passable. I stopped for gas and the temperature was -10 degrees. It was cold. Not only was it cold, but I had also missed my exit and traveled too far into North Dakota and missed the road that I had intended to take back into South Dakota.

By now it was late. I backtracked a bit and was soon headed back in the right direction. As I drove through the slippery, snow-covered roads of the Dakotas, the sun began to rise. I had driven all night. It hadn’t seemed that long but that’s exactly what I’d done. Why had the time passed so quickly? I’m not sure, but I simply blame it on winter. Through the hours of treacherous driving, I had time to think. I delved deep within myself. My mind wandered as I drove and thus the hours passed. To say the least, it was quite an experience.

No sooner than the sun had begun to rise than I realized that I was still quite a long way away from the airport in Rapid City and it would be almost impossible to make my flight. Needless to say, my late night travels through an unfamiliar area had lasted a bit too long. I began to drive a little faster. Not having any experience driving in the snow proved to be a problem. I hit a slick area of the freeway, made some amazing 360-degree turns, and came to rest in the median of the road. What a way to end the trip. I managed to get the car out of the ditch and make it to the airport. Needless to say, I missed my flight. The rest of the trip turned was riddled with snow delays and mechanical problems on planes. Finally, two days later, I made it back.

The trip was quite an ordeal, but it was an adventure. It was a time of reflection, adventure, and perhaps a little misfortune. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. So, my friends, enjoy the cold weather while it lasts and remember to make every day an adventure.