While I could add some cliche nonsense about how everyday is an adventure, I'm going to focus on the dictionary defintion: "an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks," or "an exciting or remarkable experience." Sometime in the last couple years I caught the travel bug. A really bad case of it. It might have something to do with being stuck inside for a year, or realizing that I'd never really been anywhere, but now all I want to do is go everywhere.
Prior to summer 2014 the furthest west I had been was Buffalo, NY - the city where I was born. Then I visited my cousin in Chicago. In December 2021 I made it further west, all the way to California. I'd stopped in most of the states on the east coast of the USA, but needed to check out the middle. In May 2022 I left my job, jumped in my car, and drove around visiting 18 states in 23 days. I came back, then drove up to Vermont, and down to Boston, and a few weeks later flew across the country to Arizona.
While I've now seen a lot of the United States, I know there's a whole bunch more to see. Especially since I've only been to eight of our sixty-three national parks. I've been to Cananda, or at least the Toronto area, and one trip to the Dominica Republic, but that's as far as my interntional travels have taken me. And that's going to change. I'm not wandering around the world to "find myself" or whatever - I'm going because this world is huge. It's full of jaw-dropping beauty and incredible people. And I've spent most of my life looking at the trees in the northeast, and interacting with suburban Americans. I need to change that. So here we go.
Acadia National Park in Maine has been on my mental “places to go” list for years. Only eight hours away, it’s close enough for a long weekend. Full of fun hikes, cool camping, and adjacent to cute ocean-front towns. Once I visited my first National Park this summer (Indiana Dunes), and made it an official goal to visit all sixty-three (or more, if and when new ones are added), Acadia moved higher up the bucket list. I convinced Dad to take a weekend out of sailing season and head up the coast, camp, and hike with me.
It still doesn't feel one hundred percent real. It feels like a really vivid dream. I was in Macchu Picchu a month ago. I was standing at one of the wonders of the world. I was standing where Incas stood 500+ years ago. I hiked 26 miles to get there. I made some really amazing new friends and created some incredible memories. We have a group chat with everyone who was on the trek. It’s a pretty quiet chat, but every handful of days someone will shoot out a message and I’ll smile. Just like I was the entire trek, even when I was struggling to catch my breath.
I convinced my parents to take a day trip to NYC, maybe see a broadway show, wander around, oh and drive me to JFK so I didn’t have to deal with the train to subway to subway to AirTrain or the overpriced Uber/Lyft/Cab. That afternoon I saw my first real Broadway show (Aladdin), and that evening I was at JFK waiting to board my first solo international flight for my first ever trip away from North America.
As I’ve started to travel a lot more - by planes, trains, and automobiles - I’ve learned a few things. I rented my first car this year, spent my first night at an airport (simply because public transit couldn’t get me there early enough in the morning), and had my first overnight flight. I’m learning, and y’all can learn with me. Airport Logistics:
In May 2022 I jumped in my car and headed west. Here’s what I learned after 23 days on the road, visiting 18 states.