This post is the second part to my Into the Wild article talking about my solo journey westward for a few weeks as I learned more about myself and this beautiful country I call home.
So 4000 miles and 52 hours of driving later, here we are. I’ve barely gotten a moment to breathe between unpacking and shooting portraits, but I’m already gearing up again to head out to Colorado on Monday. I just thought I’d take a minute to talk about my journey and some things I though were worth sharing.
I’ve always dreamt of just riding off into the blue sky, nothing but open road and opportunity ahead of me, so when I set to make plans for this trip, I intentionally left a lot of gaps in the timing and locations. I knew the basic cities I wanted to visit and that was about it. I gave myself two weeks, a budget, and a carful of non-perishable foods. I just expected to fill in the blanks as I went along, writing my own story while I was living it. Though I ended up spending more time with people that I initially intended, by all intents and purposes, it was a solo trip. Of the 14 days I was gone, I spent 8 of those sleeping in my truck or at shared Airbnb to save costs.
I would definitely say the biggest personal realizations happened on the road alone. Driving through the desert canyons with only the moon to guide really puts life into perspective in a way that meditation alone hasn’t enabled me to do. One of my biggest goals on this journey was to becomes less reliant on the presence of others for happiness and I would say I attained that, or at least an idea how to. The notion that happiness comes from others is totally self-inflicted and not true in the least, I came to realize. It’s all internal, with others helping draw that out of you through interactions.
Additionally I wanted this to be a bit of a test to see how I liked “life on the road.” Stated more tangibly, it’s been on my mind lately to take some time to trip extensively either around North America or Europe and support myself by freelancing remotely and through the goodwill of others. I really think it would be beneficial to do so from a self-growth perspective - I learned and retained a lot more behind that wheel than I have from the formal education of my past. How am I expected to learn and absorb the teachings of others if I don’t truly understand myself?
On a different note, I was pleasantly surprised that my truck held up quite nicely to all the abuse the road threw at it. From the icy plains of Wyoming to the blistering LA heat, I never had a single component break. My own technical issue seemed to be startup issues camped at Big Sur, CA, but I believe that was just caused by poor fuel grade, so I’ll brush that under the rug for now.
I will definitely say that that trip gave me a taste of a lifestyle I greatly desire: one of constant movement, exploration, and adventure. I’ll surely be doing more of these semi-brief trips in my future and will post more about them here.