When I began to concoct my scheme to move West, it was really more of a scheme to make a move at all.
Last year I finally graduated college (after 7 years, two boyfriends, multiple moves and one brain injury) and decided I wanted to go travelling one more time before I gave in, grew up and got a job that gave me health care. I did all of the above but after the gig as a reporter stopped being fulfilling, I decided I just don't have the financial freedom to do a job for glory.
My thoughts on that paper experience: Thanks, but no thanks. I'm glad I got published so much, but the corporate atmosphere was not what I expected when I decided to become a writer.
Currently, I feel this career choice is making me into a great waitress, but hopefully this blog will be the start I need to become a greater travel writer and the author of books.
So now I'm returning to Alaska this spring (where I spent the summer working after I graduated college). It will be a road trip to end all road trips with my friend Samantha. Maybe my magnum opus travel story? To me, when I travel, it's the only time I feel comfortable with feeling uncomfortable- a feeling I run into a lot.
My previous travels took me to New Orleans and Western Europe after the opportunity presented itself, and I had nothing keeping me home.
With New Orleans, I was dealing with the death of a friend. This time, when my long-time internet boyfriend (virtually the only type of boyfriend I had in high school) told me I should come visit, I took him up on it. I've always been sort of fascinated with Louisiana and the bayou and the creole and cajun people and voodoo of that place. It's completely foreign and interesting.
I booked a ticket that night and three hours later I was on a flight from BWI to Louisiana. I had a hot 24 hours to spend in NOLA so I could make it down and back, (and show up only 45 minutes late for my dinner shift waiting tables, thank you very much). I didn't fall deeply in love with the guy, surely, but I did find another love during this expedition. Travel.
I followed New Orleans up with another trip two years later, but I went bigger. I paid off my new credit cards and saved an entire summer's worth of earnings to visit friends in Germany, with three thousand dollars and a one-way ticket.
I spent most of my time in Europe high out of my head. Bong hits of hash had a way of making me content with spending the day indoors. After living with my friend's family for a while, quitting my job, and watching money dwindle (they let me live rent-free, but hash was an expense and the polizei (sp?) was cracking down), I decided it was probably time for me to experience something beyond Ramstein, Germany on my own.
I cleared up my woes when I went to Amsterdam, where I knew I could get high and would check out a million museums.
When I stayed in Amsterdam, I visited coffee shops and daily. Nightly, it was the red light district (think hookers in windows with dildos on cell phones) the hostel bars, Leidseplein, bed of ars and red-light district (purely for entertainment, of course) each night.
During my time Europe I only visited Germany, France and Amsterdam. I visited Paris at my sister's request, (shortly before I surprised my parents when she returned home with me. I saw the Eiffel Tower in Paris (but didn't go up) and visited a couple Museums. Versailles and Jim Morrison's grave were all I wanted to do with Paris, and those were the trips I required of my visit. There is a lot more I'd like to see, with unlimited time and money, but the the catacombs are the only thing I wish I'd seen on that visit.
Paris is a stylish, artistic city, but it smells like shit.
While I was in Europe, it became apparant what I was to do with myself. I spent every day writing pages and pages in the first (and only) journal I ever filled up without becoming bored with the cover or format and picking a new "more inspirational" volume.
Upon my return, I had a the new focus of knowing what I wanted to pursue and thought surely I would go to the main campus of my college, go on to be a sorority sister, get married and pop out a few kids by the time I hit a quarter-century. Girls in pearls, guys in ties style.
Thankfully, none of it worked out quite the way I planned. I was too worldly and unimpressed with college life at 22. So, by not following my scheme, I got my 20's back to be as adventurous and adult as I want. I don't know if I should have tried harder to fulfill the first plan because here I sit, waiting for my next adventure but also wondering why I feel the need to keep running. At the same time, I made a promise to myself not to settle. So I go.
After my most recent adventure (to Alaska) I thought I would be able to go hard on the career track. Do a year at the paper for the experience. I made it 10 months.
Where I live, I could have kept toiling at my job at the newspaper and maybe I would have gotten into DC if that was who or what I decided to be. Problem is, I live at the beaches where those self-important DC collar poppers drink themselves into filth and vulgarity each weekend, all summer long. I don't want that and hate them for for being able to make laws they think I should follow.
Baltimore desn't bug me so bad, it's a little more blue-collar and real.
Same goes with Philadelphia, which is also a stone's throw. I hate the football team there but I love the Phillies! (It's about time somebody in that town didn't go limp when it counted. )
Nevertheless you can see I have a bit of disdain for some of my neighbors here on the East Coast. I certainly never planned to be in Delaware forever. Not even this long, really, but if you are still with me, you can already see not all my plans pan out the way I hope.
Going to Alaska opened up this world of the West for me. I'm not a fan of guns, but there is much more to the west than guns. It seems like the land, the earth itself talks out loud when I go west.
My current plan is to drive to Alaska this Spring, work there another summer, save some dough and head south to Oregon where I have some friends who recently relocated and love it. Even if I don't end up in Oregon, the idea of being on the Oregon Trail sort of communicates the promise of a life well lived to me. Actively living my life, instead of acting like it is just something that is happening to me.
I don't know how this will really work out, but I plan to record it from this point on, so at least something can come of it.
My name is Molly, welcome to my Oregon Trail.