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Road Trips

Road Trips

I started my first roadtrip when I was 19, heading west on I-40. All my life I had traveled with my family about 1000 miles to see our extended family. We would usually stay in a hotel to break the drive into two days. My dad would get a nice hotel such as a Holiday Inn. So when the end of the first day of my first roadtrip came, I found a Holiday Inn to spend the night in, costing $90. I remember lying in bed thinking, "What am I doing staying in such a nice hotel?!" It was just what I was used to. I knew this just wasn't going to work.

On the second night I made it to New Mexico. I found a National Park in the mountains to camp in. It cost $6 per day. I laid in my hammock, looking up at the brightest stars I had ever seen. I had learned something already. The hotel was filled with rushed business people, the National Park was filled with families who smiled and talked to me about who I was and where I was adventuring to.

This was one of the best parts of adventuring alone. I was forced to talk to people who I had never met before. I didn't know a single person within 1000 miles and I had to make every decision for myself. And if I wanted someone to talk to I had to walk up to strangers and make it happen. It was a great way to grow as a person.

I drove out to Southern California and stayed there for a few days, having fun and meeting lots of people. I turned north up the Pacific coast, then drove east across I-80 towards Salt Lake City. I did five road trips around the country. The small towns were better places to find someone to talk to, as they were excited to see someone new.

I was sitting at a diner talking to two girls who worked there. One of them talked on and on about how she just couldn't wait to get out of Iowa and move to some place cool. "All we have here is corn! I'm going to California!" I told her that I had just come from California and there were people there who talked about how big and crowded it was and how they just couldn't wait to move to some place smaller. I think I left an impression on both of them that there was a great deal to appreciate about their home.

I grew to appreciate the country I lived in and appreciate every relationship I had so much more. Imagine not having any relationships. Imagine not having anything new to discover. When I came back I was much more satisfied and grateful for my life.

Interstate 40 West I-40
Rural California Rural California

I'm sure I will be updating this post as time goes by, at least to add pictures.

Originally published

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