So as many of you know, I spent a significant period of time over break traveling and going on adventures. Honestly, it was partly because I was looking for some part of myself. I was looking for answers to questions when I didn’t – and still don’t – even know what the questions are. And as always, I was looking for a cool story to tell.
Travels – Day One – 12/20/10
I started off the day at the twins (my roommates/best friends) house in my Small High School Town. I did some work for the boarding school I went to. They had me scanning a cropping some old pictures for a new building that is under construction. After a verydelicious lunch, I hit the road. Well… Not literally. Cause that would hurt. I drove for many, many miles. My aunt has some friends who used to be her neighbors that live in upper Northern California. I stayed with them for the night. They were very kind about welcoming me into their house, which was on a hill in a small secluded town.
Travels – Day Two – 12/21/10
I started the day in California, but I was very close to the border of Oregon. I made it across, and through Grant’s Pass. In this area, I learned that my concept of I-5 being completely straight was shattered. I also learned that a 6% downhill grade is enough to be kinda scary. Especially when it’s full of curves and turns. At 60 MPH. I stopped at Oregon State University to explore the campus. It is BEAUTIFUL. I always love seeing different college campuses. I think this was the day I ate dinner at a Fuddrucker’s by myself. I made it through Portland just past sunset. I wanted to stop there and see the city, but I didn’t have time. I booked it further up I-5, and made it to my aunts Port Town by around 9pm. It was decided that the next day, I would go into Seattle with my Aunt.
Travels – Day 3 – 12/22/10
Wake up around 6AM to get ready to go into the city. We take a ferry from Bremerton to Seattle. It’s not a tiny foot ferry. It’s a LEGIT ferry. I love those boats. They are ABSOLUTELY incredible. You can drive cars onto them and stuff. I walked my aunt to work, then hung out in the Pike Market for awhile. I looked at bookstores and such. My aunt and I went to Noah’s Bagels for lunch. I got a pizza bagel. We ate back at her office. I decided I was going to see a movie that afternoon. I wanted to see Tron:Legacy, so I went to that. I was pretty excited. The only showtime that worked was a 3D show. Blegh. Not a fan of 3D. But I went to go see it anyways. I guess it was only some scenes that were in 3D. Which is silly. I fell asleep for like, the last twenty minutes, ish. I saw the very last scene then it went to credits. Sigh. Such is life. Met up with my aunt, and took the ferry back to her house.
Travels – Day 4 – 12/23/10
Woke up early again. This time to go to Canada. We drove to Port Angeles to catch a ferry to Victoria. The ferry ride over was wretched. It was a smaller ferry, and part of the trek is over open water. I absolutely hated it. The ship was bobbing back and forth wretchedly until we landed. I got my first stamp at the border! The border guard challenged me to fill the passport in the 10 years I have it. Getting the stamp was very exciting. First thing we did was go an ATM. We withdrew some Canadian cash. I got like, $40 and it was legit. Their money is beautiful. We then went to a coffee shop to figure out what to do next. We decided it would be best to check in at our Hotel. We stayed at the St. James Bay Inn. It was cute. And a place to sleep that wasn’t horrid. We dropped our stuff off and got lunch at the Inn Restaurant. I got bangers and mash, cause I figure if you’re in another country, you should eat their food. Then our travels returned us back downtown. There was an amazing bookstore called Russells Books. I browsed there for hours, then my aunt was like “we need to go,” and we left and explored more of the city. It was so beautiful, and clean, and amazing. There was this one place where you can buy waffles. Like, the waffles are just a snack. And I guess the 23rd of December was their anniversary of being-open-ness. So it was a 2 for 1 deal on the waffles. The place was so tiny and cute. Literally, it was box size. You walk in and there’s a few bar-stool-like seats facing the windows, and a small table. Then it was enough area for the two employees to take orders and make waffles. I got two regular waffles – though I shoulda gotten a belgian and a regular – with powdered sugar. As it got towards sunset, my aunt and I started looking for a restaurant for dinner. We settled on The Bard and the Banker. I got two amazing beers there, after sampling a couple different ones. Then I ordered Pork Sliders. They were really cool. One was pulled pork, one was bacon, and one was some other kinda pork. We had a cheese plate too. It was DELICIOUS. I love cheese. Especially fancy, pretentious cheeses. After dinner, my aunt went back to the hotel, and I wandered downtown Victoria by myself for awhile. I ended up going back to the bookstore and buying a British Harry Potter, and a two-volume copy of Les Miserable. I am very excited to read it in a coffee shop sometime. Maybe this semester? or in grad school? hmm. After that, I returned to the hotel. I saw no need to stay out too late.
Travels – Day 5 – 12/24/10
Ate breakfast at the hotel restaurant. Caught the ferry back. Met some cool people on the ferry. Vomited on the ferry. And on one of my shoes! I was so sad. But I was happy to have service on my phone again, so I could text people about the misery of sea-sickness. We drove back to my aunts house after getting off the ferry, and I put my shoes in the washer. Not too much notable happened in the evening. We had dinner and opened gifts. I got a laser point and silly cheese – amongst other stuff. I used the laser pointer to play with her cats for awhile. It was fun.
Travels – Day 6 – 12/25/10
Very calm and relaxed day. Read a lot of Harry Potter 6. Watched movies. Baked.
Travels – Day 7- 12/26/10
In the morning, I scrambled to get my aunts (now-late) Christmas gift together. I printed a bunch of pictures at Fred Meyer, and grabbed a large frame at Wal-Mart. In secrecy in my room, I pasted it together while she made lunch. She was sooo happy to see it when I gave it to her. So now she has tons of pictures of me! mwahahaha. A couple of her friends came over for lunch, which was delightful. In the evening we went to the mall to get me some clothes, then we watched TV and relaxed.
Travels – Day 8- 12/27/10
I drove to Canada by myself. I was bound and determined to go to Vancouver. It was alright. Everything was very spread out. There was no one place to park and say “hey, I’m gonna explore for a couple hours.”
So that was frustrating. Didn’t really see anything incredible or inspiring. Nor did I buy anything. Border dude on the way over was asking me very detailed and specific questions. “Why are you going there without a plan? what are you trying to see? yadda yadda” Dude. Just chill. I’m a student. I’m exploring. Get over it. On the way back in, the border guy was asking me if I’d bought or was transporting any marijuana. Really, dude? Have you MET me?
On the way back, I was 10 miles from my aunts house, and about 1/2 mile from the next gas station when I ran out of gas! I reached to my wallet to pull out my AAA card, but I had removed it the day we went into Seattle cause I did not need it then. I called my aunt to have her read me the numbers, then called AAA. After about 45 minutes of waiting, I finally got gas. When I got to my aunts house we had a really cool conversation about life and experiences, and family, and things that happen to people. She had a really cool story about taking a random adventure and having all these cool things happen. It made me think about how I want that kind of adventure. I packed a little bit and got to bed.
Travels – Day 9 – 12/28/10
This was the day I was driving back to my Beautiful California University City. My plan was to do it all in one day. My aunt and I decided it would be best for me to take 101 from Oregon instead of I-5. The logic was that even though it was longer, with snow in the Sierra’s (and likely a few other places), I would take about the same amount of time either way. Astoria, Oregon is a beautiful city. I got about there and recieved a text message from my roommate that the storm that was supposed to hit on the 29th was actually gonna hit that night. I booked it down the Oregon coast, and by sundown had only made it about 1/4 way down the coastline. Still, I was determined. So even when the storm hit, I kept going. Let me tell you, this was seriously one of the scariest events of my life. After driving in this storm for three hours, mildly hydroplaning once, and nearly hydroplaning multiple other times, I pulled over and almost started balling in an Arby’s parking lot. I called a friend who at first tried to talk me into pulling over for the night. After a few moments, I think she realized that I was being stubborn and started giving me a pep talk. I pick up and go again.
Travels – Day 10 – 12/29/10
I drove over a tree at some point during the night. I was in the right side of a passing lane, probably a bit too close behind someone. They randomly change lanes. I figure they wanna go faster. Whatever. Next thing I know, there’s a tree in front of me, and I’m going 50 MPH. I can’t stop. I can’t turn. I have to face it. I think my tires may have not been on the ground at some point. I’m freaked out for a good half hour.
I make it into California, and keep driving. I arrive back in my Beautiful California University City around 6AM. As I check my e-mail and other things on the internet, I see the sun rise. Then I fall asleep.
I wake up around noon. I realize my New Year’s Eve plans have fallen through. I was going to hang out with a friend at my house. My roommates wanted to have a party. So I called some friends to see what they were up to. Everyone already had plans, and I didn’t fit into any equation. My friend in Sunny Southern California invited me down. I said I’d think about it while I ran some errands. I take my car to get the oil changed. They tell me the Serpentine Belt needs replacing. I panic slightly, and tell them I’ll bring the car in early the next week. I got many of my hairs cut. It was delightful. And I start gearing up for another road trip. Because it had been decided that I would be driving to Sunny Southern California the next day.
Travels – Day 11 – 12/30/10
Late morning or early afternoon, I leave for Southern California. The drive is slightly bland and uneventful. I did not hit very much traffic at all. I arrive in the mid-evening. Also, I had completed a drive of basically the entirety of I-5 within two weeks.
Travels – Day 12 – 12/31/10
My friend and I spend the day preparing for the night. We went to Universal City walk in the evening. My friend and her sister and I drove out there to meet her other sister and her posse. The posse was very large. All-in-all, the evening was very fun. Had some drinks, did some dancing, played some air hockey – yes, the club we went to had air hockey and video games that were covered in the cover charge. They also had a bowling alley. That woulda been fun to do. Oh well.
Travels – Day 13 – 1/1/11
I don’t really remember what happened this day. Not a whole lot.
Travels – Day 14 – 1/2/11
My friend and her sister and I ventured around SoCal and went to this cool tiny hole in the wall Mexican food place that had the most incredible food for the best prices ever. Seriously.
Travels – Day 15 – 1/3/11
My friend and I drove back to our Beautiful California University town. It was a good drive. Our conversations are always very flow-y. So that’s pretty cool.
And those are my travels. By the time I was finally home and done, I was absolutely exhausted. I was so tired and done with traveling. I had had plans to venture down to San Diego in mid-January, but by the time it got there, I did not have the energy to do that.
A recent conversation with one of my mentors led to him saying something along the lines of “We need to travel to search for ourselves in order to understand that we knew who and what we were the whole time. It was all at home. You always end up coming home.”
I believe that to be true. I thought I’d learn some great revelation about myself. That I was something. That there was something more that I needed or something that I was missing. When I got back to my Beautiful California University City, I found what I had spent those hours of driving looking for. I found me. That doesn’t mean I understand it. But I have peace with it.
And when I lose that peace, I’ll travel again.