The End of This Adventure
For the last two weeks I have spent my time traveling the country with no destination and no plans set in stone. I left with 14 articles of clothing, popcorn, some carrots and hummus, peanut butter with tortillas, and a gift card my brother gave me to Starbucks.
As a recap I visited Dallas, Tucson, San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, and the Grand Canyon. As I was getting ready to leave Arkansas my aunt found out I was going through her area and invited me out for lunch. It was during that meal that my cousin in Tucson found out I was driving near their area and they invited me in for a couple days of family time and hiking. From there I headed on to San Diego and slept in my car between downtown and Balboa park. New Years Eve was spent in downtown Las Angeles with my car parked to sleep in near the LACMA (Las Angeles County Museum of Art) before heading to Santa Cruz to stay with a friend of my roommate, which was arranged the morning I left for the San Francisco area. After one night in Santa Cruz I was going to head to San Francisco, but my host talked me into staying another night and then heading back the next morning. I protested at first, but it turned out to be a great idea considering the central valley of California was predicted to get up to two feet of snow.
To finish my trip I camped out in the Grand Canyon National Park and spent the next day hiking along the south rim followed by a 12 mile hike that started with a 3,000 ft descent and finished with the same cliff. I took off on this journey for the purpose of self-discovery, transformation, and to attempt detaching from technology. The depressing thing to say is that the hardest task of those was the fight with technology.
Having so much time on the road by myself left plenty of time to analyze the way in which I handle my time in the world. Before I left on my trip I realized that I had put too much time and energy into planning out my existence and carried an expectation of it being met. Through my journey I came to realize that this not only had a negative impact on those around me by holding them to standards that they did not know, but it also kept me from fully experiencing the world.
Prior to my journey through the southwest I had visited 44 states. For those trips I had each city planned out that I was going to visit and tried to go to as many cities as possible in as short an amount of time as possible. One detriment was that I did not leave any flexibility to stop and see random things that caught my interest. There was so much of this journey that was unexpected and absolutely breath taking. The sunrises and sunsets in the Grand Canyon and the central valley completely astonished me! New Years in Grand Park Los Angeles was exhilarating with all the people, fireworks, and the light show.
Beyond the actual sights, I had a lot of discoveries within myself. I was beginning to realize how much I actually love aimlessly wandering around the country meeting people in practice and not just as an idea. Eventually I will need to invest in a better vehicle to do this. My CUV fit me fine, but I would not want to live in that cramped of a space for long periods of time (about 100 cubic ft I think).
I also learned that how I am perceived and how I actually feel do not match up with each other. A friend recently told me that they did not like seeing the "angry Adam." This boggled my mind because in the last couple years I have only felt upset a small handful of times. While driving I came to understand that I use language that does not actually match my feelings or sentiment. This is a terrible and difficult thing because language means so much and I feel horrible for the people that were pained by this.
My visit in Santa Cruz was a very enlightening time. After having a best friend who I had so much in common with choose a different path in life, it was hard to accept that there would be many more people like me in the world. My host in Santa Cruz was a pleasant surprise because we shared a lot of common traits and even a similar situation with friendships. This was then followed by the landlord explaining that during her No Conflict Communication courses they stress the idea that everyone has within them everything that they need to be happy. This was a very big idea for my road trip. I have spent so much time on the road in the previous 12 years wishing to share my experiences with others. This was the way I expected to live out my happiness. While seeing the wonders of the country is an experience I will never forget, it always seemed to lack something until now.
The underpinning of a lot of the struggles I go through I found to be rooted in anxiety. After spending so many years growing up alone, I developed an unhealthy need to be around people. While I know this is something that I will probably struggle with most of my life, I did learn that it is something that I have the strength within me to fight plus family and friends who love and support me.