This road is now my only friend
It welcomes me through straights and through bends
But no matter how long I stay,
It will never know my name
Oh, I am a long way from home
Yeah, I am a long way from home
Lyrics from "Names" by Radical Face
Holy heck, I've been on the road for three weeks?
It's felt like a lifetime but also no time at all. Time doesn't operate like it would in a "normal" day for me. Some days I drive 7 hours, some days I drive 0 hours, but now a “2 hour” drive is like nothing to me. I literally just drove an hour and a half from hiking ~5 miles in Yosemite. If I were to do that on a normal day…. well hell I wouldn’t really ever do that.
The past three weeks I’ve covered a lot of ground. Columbus, St Louis, Colorado Springs, Telluride, Lake Powell, Las Vegas, San Diego and now Yosemite. Needless to say, there hasn’t been a lot of time for me to sit down and blog. And when there was time, I was too tired to do anything. But I know that blogging helps me categorize my thoughts - which, as one might imagine on a solo road trip, there are many.
The first question I get a lot when I tell people that I’m on a road trip is “You’re traveling alone??” like I drove in from Mars. Yeah, I am. Traveling alone warrants a whole other post, but all in all I don’t mind it, except when I have to drive long stretches. Which luckily I had some help from my friend Bien to get us across Kansas.
Since I don’t have a lot of brain energy, I kind of just wanted to dump some random thoughts I’ve been having about doing this kind of road trip. I don’t want this to be an inherently negative post, but some thoughts might come off that way.
Monument Valley, UT
Thoughts from the road:
Slow the eff down.
I’ve done almost 4K miles and I’m really trying to slow down. Spending just one night in a place is draining, and it takes a lot of energy to unpack and then repack. I am trying to keep my stays to a 2-night minimum.
Being creative is hard when you just want to meet your basic human needs.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t really taken that many photos or gone out of my way for sunsets & time lapses. I have been trying to keep a daily journal, but I haven’t carved the time just to relax and sketch or other creative outlets. A lot of days consist of: What am I going to eat for 3 meals without breaking the bank? can I shower somewhere? am I going to sleep well tonight? Things take a lot longer when there is no set routine - cooking dinner ends up being a whole evening ordeal because I’ve got to find everything in the trunk, set up the camp stove, find a sink to wash the dishes, etc. I’m still getting the hang of this part. It saves so much money but is not without effort!
Lake Powell, AZ
Speaking of money…. It’s so easy to spend it!
I have a budget, and I am trying my best to stick to it. But sometimes it just slips away like it never existed. I haven’t bought much more than food and gas, but those rare treats tend to add up. I’m hoping to stick to a more simpler lifestyle and find less monetary treats. (But getting a massage was so worth it after a day at Disneyland. ahem.)
The Touristy places are cool, yes, but not really my favorite.
I went to Antelope Canyon for a tour (it is required to have a guide due to occasional flash floods.) I had to check it out since I was in the area. I was put into the tour with 13 South Koreans who were traveling the West with a church group. They were sweet as could be, but just imagine me being lost in translation. Antelope Canyon is very narrow and at every corner is a cooler rock formation, so naturally everyone was taking photos of themselves. It just felt like a “look where I am” tour, and not really stopping to talk about the geology of the place. Perhaps this is why I’m turned off from taking photos at these places - it seems like most people are only in it to relive the past memories. I wanted to remember it through my own eyes. But of course I still took some photos. There was a similar vibe at Horseshoe Bend, AZ. SO MANY SELFIE STICKS.
I can’t be hard on myself for not doing “enough”
I try and have a plan for the next 24-48 hours, and no further. Each day it’s nice to hit goals, whether thats doing laundry, going for a hike, driving 6 hours, being in bed by 10. The thing is, I know I can’t do it all but time slips by and I get down on myself for not “making the most of it.” There’s not really a formula for a x-country road trip. Going and stopping is about all that there is. I am learning what things drain my energy and what will fulfill me and that’s about the only routine I can find myself living in. I’ve come to terms with this trip being somewhat like a “sampler” tour of America, and I know that my lifestyle will not stray from traveling, so this is the best time for me to plan where to come back to!
I am capable of a lot more than I think
Whether it’s real mountains or mental mountains, whenever I am feeling like I can’t do something I keep trudging forward and come out the other end saying “Oh, why did I ever doubt myself.” But I always forget that notion and end up in an anxious state leading up to the event. The anxiety is so draining! I am not sure when I will learn my lesson, but hopefully after countless efforts of putting myself in new situations will I internalize my confidence without a second thought.
Yosemite National Park, CA
But dang, it is worth it!
That's it for now!