If you haven't heard, I'm currently traveling across the US!
It’s hard to believe that I’ve never embarked on a proper cross country road trip. I’ve moved my car cross country and back, gone on short trips from Point A to Point B - but never a real road trip.
This whole trip was born in Telluride, Colorado last year. My visits to Colorado were always quick and I wanted an opportunity to enjoy the town before Mountainfilm Festival started. Riding on the post festival high I believed it could be done, until I completely shoved aside the idea. It got in my head that I should be a responsible adult, keep working at my j-o-b, set roots on the East Coast and succumb to boring old adulthood. (jk.)
I am wired to travel for long periods of time.
Hence why this trip turned into a 2 month trek.
2 and a half years ago I spent 6 weeks backpacking Europe - yet another trip that started with a week long idea (my friend’s Italian wedding!) That trip was amazing and exhausting, and to be honest it left a strange taste in my mouth. I did not properly plan the adventure, and in turn I felt severely burnt out and skeptical of putting myself in that situation again. I don’t want to knock the trip, since I did truly need to go through that process to learn what not to do…. such as:
Visiting 8 countries in 6 weeks.
Holy hell. And my main method of transit was a plane. Yes, flights are cheaper in Europe but there is an amazing rail system I didn’t utilize. So why did I fly? I wanted to visit people. And I don’t regret that. But the people I know are scattered across the continent and perhaps I should have chosen a route closer together and spent more time in each place.
It’s important for me to tell this story because it gave me one of the biggest revelations of my life: I am an introvert. Bouncing around from couch to couch, starting fresh every few days with the same pleasantries may be exhausting for many, but especially for introverts. I barely had any days built just for myself to relax and that led to me crying in a Proscuterria (which is basically vegetarian hell) bathroom in Rome, desperate for comfort.
This realization informed how I planned the road trip I’m on now. It’s too early to say if I “did it right” but I think I planned a healthy balance of visiting friends and having stints in nature by myself. Loneliness is bound to happen, but it happens at home or anywhere else. So why not have a change of scenery?
My goals for the trip:
- Explore my business / blog
- Take lots of photos but not like I have to be “on” all day, or else it feels too much like a job
- Maintain somewhat of a self care routine: yoga, less social media, meditating, lots of reading, and journaling.
- Try and be present
- Plan downtime and not feel bad if I miss out
- Step out of my comfort zone (camping alone, backpacking in Yosemite, more TBD)
- Walk with confidence in an unknown place
- Be prepared for the unexpected (kind of an oxymoron, but I think it’s a state of mind to achieve)
- Take it day by day
We’ll see what happens, and I’ll do my best to document it. All I know right now is that all the stress and preparation was worth it as I immediately felt relief hitting the highways heading west.
Jenni is a photographer and graphic design from Central New Jersey. She has always had a passion for travel, art and specifically finding new ways to be creative.