Glamourous, wouldn't you say?
I hear three (four?) words almost daily - "I'm so jealous." It'll come from a friend that I call from the road or maybe a friendly stranger I meet along the way. And I can always count on my hosts exclaiming it at least once.
I am not complaining, because I get it. I do. I am traveling around the beautiful United States of America for six weeks with the sole responsibility of keeping myself safe while I enjoy it in each and every way I am able to. Already it has truly been a spectacular experience and I am so thankful for the opportunity. But, and yes there is a but, that jealousy is too much to handle.
To begin with, I'd like to remove the silver lining surrounding Road Trip USA:
- Although I revel in my independence and can oftentimes be introverted, I do get lonely.
- Driving is absolutely, positively exhausting. I made sure to never commit myself to more than 8 hours, but even as little as 5 can be painful.
- I am so tired of my snacks. This is not a negative reflection on their taste or ability to satiate, just my own dissatisfaction with the mundane repetition. Still, I will continue to eat them out of necessity.
- That financial necessity I speak of is draining. Without gas, I am on a $30/day budget. I can come in below the limit on a long driving day, temporarily giving me more wiggle room, but otherwise, I have to constantly be neurotic about my spending which includes highway tolls, museum admissions, parking meters, restaurant meals, and the occasional oil change. I do not enjoy being this way.
- Blogging can suck. After driving and exploring cities in 48 hours or less, trying to recap every little thing that happened, upload photos, and edit videos takes a lot out of an already wiped out me. That's not to say I'm going to stop though, (I love it and you too much,) you just might want to prepare yourself for my photo-heavy posts and rambling vlogs.
- I almost always feel unbalanced. Just because I was never one to maintain a consistent exercise routine, doesn't mean that I don't crave daily movement. Being stuck in a car is limiting in that sense. In addition, I continue to have a mental battle food-wise. If I'm only spending one or two days in some of America's culinary capitals, I want to make sure I sample as much of their specialties as I can. Then again, I hardly ever have the money to do so, and in these situations will often revert to my snacks. On top of all that, I have no desire to gain weight. And, if we're really being honest here, would be truly unhappy if I do gain any more than I already have. Since, yeah, I don't know the logistics but I can certainly tell that I have. If only I didn't care.
- Knowing that trip is six weeks long is never not daunting.
Furthermore, there's the fact that this entire phenomenon did not happen by chance. I envisioned the idea, planned and saved for it, and now am simply making it happen. It is not an impossible feat. Then again, I realize that I am in a uniquely ideal situation to turn my driving dreams into reality: I have no family to worry about (at least not the kind that it would be my responsibility to take care of), I had no career to end (although if it could begin asap that'd be very much appreciated), and I no longer have any scholarly obligations. Plus, I have a new car and GPS that needed breaking in.
Yet I can assure you that you could do it too if you really wanted to. If you were to give a travel aspiration (say, a cross-country road trip) high enough priority, eventually it would happen. It might take years, it might have to be streamlined in budget or time, but after all that dedication and hard work, one day your life will be ready for such an adventure. And I don't doubt that this tactic could make other dreams come true as well, when the time is right of course.
Perhaps it is easy for me to say these things though. One of my most childlike qualities is how easily I am able to get my hopes up. Tell me something is probably going to happen and I will believe you with all of my heart. I'll create daydreams upon daydreams based on the event. I'll conjour plans of fantastic outcomes and consequences. To assume that I'd then be disappointed by the chance that it never actually takes place... is most definitely an understatement. So, now that we have that part of my self understood, note that I thereby always do everything in my power not to be the disenchanter of my own expectations.
Try it some time :).
Anyway, the end. I apologize for my less-than-stellar mood and sincerely hope that I don't offend anyone with my bluntness. You see, I was planning on posting my vlog from Oklahoma City to Denver, along with a few clippings about my short stay in Kansas. That is. until I was driving to Santa Fe today and got caught in a dangerous downpour that forced me to get off the road before my intended destination and pay too much money for a stuffy motel room. On the bright side though, because even in my grumpiness there is a bright side, the takeout is no greasy dinner but rather a salad bar creation from Whole Foods. Besides this morning's Colorado hike in the Garden of the Gods (which seems like ages ago), it is the highlight of my day.
Oh, but wait! Admitting all of the above does not mean that I do not appreciate this road trip, this personal journey, this American adventure, because I do. I do, do, do. Probably more and more every day. Even in the midst of my frustration I know that I am doing an amazing thing for myself and that, as others have suspected, my life and perspective will forever be changed by it. I do not and will not ever regret challenging myself to this experience. It's been as fun as it's been hard. I have really had as wonderful a time in these past 9 cities as I continue to claim that I have. I've already learned so much. I just wanted you to know that.
Alrighty then, that's really it. Sweet dreams.