Los Angeles to Seattle: A Road Trip Story
I own a 1994 Plymouth with manual crank windows and no AC. As I drove in the slow lane with semi-trucks passing me for miles at a time this past weekend I kept telling myself that my car is just as cool as the Volkswagon buses that vagabond books have been written about. Whether that be true or not, I decided to write my own story, in more ways than one.
Orange County, CA
This is where I live. This is where the story starts. The night before I left, I watched the "This Will All Make Perfect Sense" documentary on Youtube about John Mayer's first album and subsequent three guys riding around in a van tour. The weeks leading up to this, I re-read "Through Painted Deserts" by Donald Miller. I also listened to an excerpt of "Vagabonding" by Rolf Potts on the Tim Ferriss podcast. All of these influences encouraged me to build a freelance career and ultimately provide me with the freedom to make this trip.
Day One Highlights:
- Began my personal mission to call every number saved in my phone
- Won $25 playing blackjack at a gas station casino
Once you leave Southern California and actually drive on the 99 or the 5 freeway for any length of the state, you realize that the majority of California is not covered in palm trees. The majority of the state is covered in farms and desert, and after six hours of farms and desert, Sacramento was a welcomed sight. Sacramento is filled with young urban professionals and I loved the vibe. There are plenty of good places to eat and drink and I even got the opportunity to watch the up and coming Sac Republic FC. Located conveniently off the freeway, without the hassle of having to venture over to the coast to San Francisco made it an awesome stop.
Day Two Highlights:
- Learned the process for artificial cow insemination on dairy farms
- Toured the state capitol
The Portland portion of this story was written at Barista on 23rd. From the bar facing the street, I typed it out on my iPhone because they didn’t have wi-fi (or any that I could find), or a place to plug in my non Mac laptop. I ordered a cappuccino for the first time in my life, straying away from my traditional iced coffee. Cappuccinos are brewed at a cooler temperature so you can drink them faster but still contain a full shot of espresso just like a latte. Armed with this new knowledge I will definitely be ordering more cappuccinos, plus the foam ended up making good mustache wax.
I learned a lesson on transparency at Barista. Instead of pretending like I knew how to order coffee, I looked at the lifelong Portland resident and confessed it was my first time in the city and the first coffee shop I stopped at. I proceeded to make a friend as he asked me where I was from and helped me make the best decision I could instead of wasting the opportunity and sipping on a watered down iced version of life.
I did some tweeting to the obscure bands I saw later that night and pretended to read a book on how to manipulate online media. I underestimated how hip Portland was going to be and felt too intimidated to post anything on Instagram. #KeepPortlandWeird
Day Three Highlights:
- Getting yelled at for pumping my own gas
- The short stop for dinner with Mrs. Lee (Favorite High School Biology Teacher)
- Feeling like I was living an episode of Portlandia
I've never had a strong affinity to one geographic location and the story of where I'm from has continued to get more confusing. But, this time seeing the welcome to Washington sign and being back in the area that shaped me during an earlier time and is still home for a lot of my friends and family made me excited. Stopping back in, after having gone somewhere different, has given me new insight that I'm looking forward to sharing.
Day Four Highlights
- Lunch with my dad at the Safeway Deli where I worked throughout School
- Watching my sisters middle school volleyball game
- Seeing Mt. Rainier
I'm writing my own story. I'm building a freelance career. I'm deciding to not make any excuses for why I shouldn't drive a beater '94 Plymouth 1100 miles up the West Coast (all while earning Southwest credit card points to fly somewhere else). I hope I can inspire you. I hope you know that the dream inside of you isn't a joke and was put inside of you for a purpose.
I'm learning the faster I can get over myself and put aside my expectations for what life should look like it makes it easier to stop comparing. That then makes it easier to give someone a call with no agenda other than to catch up and be an encouragement.