It’s official. Our cross-country, five state, road trip/moving adventure starts in exactly TWENTY DAYS! That’s right, on the 29th of this month we pack up the car, and set out for California. I’ve been planning this trip for months – prepping, making lists, buying supplies, charting our route – but now that it is three weeks away, I’m slightly nervous. I’m excited, but nervous.
The reality of winter camping slapped me in the face this week when winter finally came to Texas. I’m not complaining mind you. I’ve been waiting for this since last winter, which lasted all of two weeks. I’m a fan of cold, chilly weather. I loved wintertime in Prague with all the snow, and the cold. I didn’t care for the fact that it got dark at 3:30 in the afternoon, but other than that, winter was a time of mulled wine and hibernation. It then dawned on me that much of my enjoyment of cold weather happens while I am wrapped in a blanket, in a cozy, heated flat. I’ve never intentionally camped out in the snow before. Unless waiting in line in the snow at 4am outside of the Czech Foreign Police counts as camping. Which it should.
Here’s the plan, the itinerary. We’ll be driving between 5-7 hours a day,and then camping overnight. We’ll be camping in Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and California, and we might be going through Vegas. We plan to spend New Year’s Eve camping under the stars at The Grand Canyon. Sounds romantic, right? It sounds a little less romantic when you realize that it will be around 18 degrees overnight. And there will probably be snow. I’m a total badass, but camping in a tent in the snow seems just a little crazy.
So I made reservations at a Hostel near the Grand Canyon. The idea is to keep the reservation and play it by ear. If it seems like we’ll end up as an episode of Dateline where they interview all of our friends and family about what kind of people we were before we froze to death, then we’ll stay at the hostel. I kind of also made reservations at The Wigwam Hotel on Route 66. I thought it might be fun to ring in the New Year in a teepee, and I have always wanted to stay there. I like having options that don’t include freezing.
The trip is designed for us to move and see some parts of the country we might have not seen before. I have a list of things we will be seeing along the way. Things like The UFO Museum, standing on the corner of Winslow Arizona, The Grand Canyon, San Simeon State Park, The world’s largest artichoke, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and much, much more. I’ve seen many of these sights before, but never as an adult. We both feel like we saw and did a lot while living in Europe, so we should do the same while we are here in the states. Who knows if we’ll stick around, so we better see the sights!
We’ll arrive in San Francisco just in time for my birthday. It feels like I’ve come full circle. I lived in Oakland/San Francisco before moving to Prague. I had my 30th birthday there, and now I’ll have my 40th there. It feels like the right time to come home again. I’ll get to see friends that I haven’t seen in almost ten years. I’ll get to introduce my fella to some of the coolest people I know, and I’ll get to sing karaoke at The Mint once more. It’ll be great. Just looking at pictures of The Bay Bridge gets me excited and happy.
I can’t wait to start this next adventure. Because this isn’t just a road trip, we are pulling up stakes and moving yet again. The plan is to spend six months volunteering at Ratna Ling Buddhist Center and then move to Seattle. We talked about all of the reasons Austin didn’t work out for us and looked for a city that had some things Austin was lacking. Things like walkability, good public transit, weather, green trees, gays and good coffee. I can’t wait. I seem to have made a habit of moving to cities I’ve never stepped foot in before. Should be fun.
The way I see it, life is just a big adventure waiting to happen. You can choose to participate or you can sit on the sidelines and watch. Thoreau once said, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” And that’s what I’m trying to do. I wasted enough time working in an office doing silly, meaningless things like data entry, or answering the phone for someone who was far too important to do it them self. That’s not living, at least not to me. Do no harm, but take no shit. That’s my motto.