It all began back in March of 2015 when the pressure of post-college-grad life loomed in the distance and everyone demanded an answer to the “What are you going to do after graduation?” question. For me, and most other soon-to-be graduates, the first part of answering that question was easy – “Uh, get a job.” The second was … not so clear – hmm, what job? With only a couple months before my launch into adulthood, I buckled down, started looking online for job opportunities to fit my communications, journalism degree, and found myself planning for the ultimate America road trip at the same time.
Honestly, I’m not sure when exactly the idea to travel the country by car became an acceptable option in my mind, but, somewhere along the way, it did. I’ve always loved to travel, and road trips have been a fairly regular part of my life. My family has driven from Colorado to central Texas by car or motor-home more times than I can remember. And I loved it, well, minus my dad’s occasional John Denver kick, which amazingly enough, I now have my own Denver moments all the time; funny how things change. While these were most certainly contributing factors to the trip’s inspiration, a book from one of my final college classes played a particularly influential role.
A John Steinbeck novel, “Travels with Charley” reveals the highs and lows of Steinbeck’s camper-truck road trip around America, along with his musings, discoveries and revelations. With the help of his French poodle, Charley, Steinbeck journeys around the U.S. searching for the heart and identity of America. Along the way, he visits old friends, meets new ones and catches a glimpse of America’s soul along the way. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend that you do.
By the end of the book and through the class discussions, my love for road trips and travel writing grew tremendously. The idea of driving across the veins of America with nothing but a packed car and a dog sounded magical. Needless to say, the idea was planted. As the semester progressed, I finished my senior thesis paper and a few other final projects, and started creating the most intense Excel, road trip spreadsheet of a lifetime! If my public relations internship taught me nothing else, it taught me Excel.
After hours of googling, googling and more googling, I compiled a lofty list of more than 300-rows worth of states, cities and sight-seeing destinations. A couple months later, diploma in hand (well fake diploma, they mail you the real one later), I graduated and started a contract job with a marketing company based in Colorado. Then, in September of 2015, the dream actually became a reality; my road trip commenced.
Three wonderful months later, I found myself in the heart of Texas after seeing many of the northern states and cutting diagonally across the Midwest. My original plan had been to circle the states along the coasts, but as I was nearing the northeastern states, the temperatures continued to drop and the weather became less and less conducive to outdoor activities. So, I called an audible and made a beeline South just in time to catch a ride with my Nana up to Colorado for Christmas.
In about a month or so, I will be catching a flight South and continuing my see-the-states road trip. I’m really excited to have this blog up, running and ready to record all of my past and upcoming adventures. Stay tuned because it’s going to be a wild ride!