Living out of suitcases wears on a person after awhile. I stayed 29 nights in one hotel room or other. In total, I drove 8,056.3 miles in 30 days. Since I swore off television and radio, most of the time in the hotel rooms was spent eating, reading, and sleeping. I read several books on the trip - don't even remember most of them. The real frustration set in at Yellowstone where the RV traffic drove me insane. The awesomeness of the park was nearly canceled out by the crowds. The Grand Canyon had a similar crowded feeling. But for every Yellowstone or Grand Canyon there was a Sequoia, a Glacier, a Crater Lake or a Mount Rainier. I don't regret going to any of the places that I visited. I took over 30 roles of film (224 of the best are here). Everything was new, different, and awesome in its own way. Here is a map of my wanderings:
I decided to do this trip to "find myself", which I know is a cliché, but I was at a place in my life where I felt stagnant and I didn't know where I was going or what I wanted to do with my life. I was a 32 year old single guy who had never dated in his life (sadly, that is not an exaggeration). I had no friends outside of work. I spent my nights watching television, playing crappy video games, and surfing the web (The web was around in 1995 but there wasn't much there yet). I was pretty anti-social outside of work.
At work I was more social and I had a group of really good friends. But that ended at the door each day, mostly by my choice. I was at a crossroads at work as well. The project I had worked on for the last 8 years was winding down and I wasn't sure what I would be doing next. I wasn't much interested in getting promotions as the next step up would be management and I wasn't interested in management.
So this month of traveling the west, visiting parks, hiking in the wilderness, and marveling at the beauty of it all, gave me time to really contemplate my situation. What I had hoped for, that life altering epiphany, never happened. I was mildly disappointed but that passed and I decided to just keep doing what I was doing. Seven days later, while looking for information about Space: Above And Beyond, I entered a Fox Network chat room and met the Wife. My life hasn't been the same since. The road had put me in the right frame of mind and I found what I had been looking for, not on the road, but on a small screen in my apartment back home.
How appropriate that I am posting this on Thanksgiving for the Wife is what I am most thankful for.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!