Like most people in the world I have an itch to travel, but I never thought that living out of a car for two months would have been the trip that changed my life. For the last two months I was lucky enough to travel across the country with one of my dearest friends. My life was straight out of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.” Endless hours on those ribbons of highway made me fall in love with the endless skyway.
When I was growing up I always dreamed of driving across the country. I would read outdoor magazines admiring the adventurers who were rock climbing on the red rocks of the west, or exploring the swamplands of the south. I would envy their courage and willingness to peruse their dreams. It wasn’t until we reached New Orleans that reality hit me and I realized that now I was the one who’s dream was coming true. This feeling multiplied when my eyes swelled up with tears when I first saw the Grand Canyon. I never thought I would be able to make it out to Arizona; it was only a dream, a dream that was now an experience.
Having grown up in a small town with one stoplight and the possibility there may be a stray cow walking down your street, I have learned to love and appreciate the world around us. I am one of Mother Nature’s biggest fans and my experience on the road has only strengthened that feeling. My friend and I would camp most nights at free BLM (Bureau of Land Management) campsites where we would often arrive at night. My favorite part of the trip was getting to our campsite in total darkness, setting up my tent by the light of my headlamp, getting on my layers and bundling into my sleeping bag with a surprise waiting for me in the morning. The coolest part was that our morning surprises varied from a heard of antelope in a field next to us, to a carrier train flying on a track fifty feet above our head. I woke up to bursting yellow aspen trees in Durango, chattering birds in Santa Fe, a wandering river in the Smokeys, the rolling waves in Big Sur, the list is endless.
If you can believe it, the nights were even better than the mornings. You learn to throw away your internal fear of the dark once you surround yourself with it. I thank our nights under the stars for giving me the courage to trust the darkness that engulfed us each night. I became fascinated with night. There were so many new sounds and so many mysterious shadows that I would listen to while I waited until the moon and the stars would come out. Sometimes we would wait up for hours just to see the stars come out. When the moon wasn’t out, the stars were able to shine, and they were breathtaking.
The best night of stars was towards the end of our trip. We were on the beach in Big Sur and as the sun went down we watched the rocky coastline turn into an artistic silhouette that made the protruding cliffs seem like shadowy giants. But once I took my eyes off the horizon and looked up at the sky I was speechless. I had never seen so many stars in the sky before. It was like a blanket had been draped over the earth and a hummingbird had poked thousands upon thousands of holes into it. It was at this moment that I was in complete awe of the world around me. I felt so lucky to have been able to be in that exact moment, sitting on the beach, listening to the waves, staring up at the magnificent universe.
My six-week adventure was an eye opening experience. It showed me there is more to America than pestering politics and economic divides. America truly is beautiful land, from its red woods forests to its golden valleys. I developed a new appreciation for the country I live in once I realized how lucky I was to experience all the amazing places it has to offer. It made me realize that in order for your dreams to come true, you just have to pack up and peruse them. You wont regret it. Life is too short. My advice to all is to go on the adventure of a lifetime because you never know when you may have a life changing po-boy in New Orleans or see the biggest tree in the world or skinny dip under the hot Austin sky. Get out there and explore the world. It’s never too late to chase your dreams. Peace and Love.
To enter to win a pair of Moon Phase Arm Warmers AND Everything Yoga Tote comment below with your favorite adventure story! Winner will be announced on Friday, 12/18.
CassieDecember 14, 2015 at 11:53 pm (7 years ago)
Love the thought that you lost your fear of darkness by surrounding yourself with it! I can only imagine how beautiful those sky’s must have been!
Brandi GlennDecember 15, 2015 at 12:36 am (7 years ago)
My fav adventure so far in my life was a 7 day bike ride from colorado through utah. all back country and unpaved roads. We had to haul all our own gear. Ran into rattle snakes, mountain lions and warm beer. My best friend had a total melt down and thought we would never see home again. She crashed and hit her head so hard she knocked herself out. Thank god my husband was there and we had a dr with us as well. it was a serious inner journey for her. and to this day we know it was a meant to be journey! I would do it again!
JesseDecember 15, 2015 at 1:49 am (7 years ago)
My great adventure was to move 1200 km away from my hometown at 18. From a small town of 2000 to Vancouver a city of millions. We drove two full days to get there, with a little kitten we snuck into our hotel room. We drove through prairies, forests, foothills, snaked along the sides of mountains for 28 hours of driving time from begining to destination.
There are many small side adventures to tell about once we got to the city too. Life is an adventure when you’re in a new place. Notable events include hiking the mountains near van and camping out in tofino right on the beach.
HeatherDecember 15, 2015 at 2:01 am (7 years ago)
My favorite adventure was when I was traveling all over the country following different bands and going to different festivals. We had arrived in upstate New York to attend a festival but were a day early. We met some local kids and they showed us a camping spot they always camped at up in the mountains. I remember it being pretty chilly that night but once we got our tents set up and finally took a moment to relax, we looked up at the sky and the most amazing meteor shower was happening. I swear I saw a million shooting stars that night. It was such an awesome experience. Out of all of my travels that once sticks out the most.
JennifetDecember 15, 2015 at 4:05 am (7 years ago)
When I was in college I got an opportunity to study abroad learning dark room photography and studying Scandinavian art history for 6 weeks in Europe. We went to Paris, Denmark, Norway, and lived in Sweden at a small school in a town named Mulljö. Traveling has opened my eyes to world and seeing the different cultures and languages. I met so many artist in many different ways. When I was in Denmark, Copenhagen they have a small hippie town called Christiania that this small community of people put together in the middle of the city, it was the coolest thing I ever saw. Inside they had decorated their “town” with beautiful murals of love, peace, and equality. There was a small shop with vendors and their craft projects they were selling, very talented. I loved every minute of my travels and recommend anyone to travel once the opportunity arrives. You don’t take things with you when you leave this world but your experiences are something that no one can take from you, seize the moment and explore!
SarahDecember 15, 2015 at 1:35 pm (7 years ago)
Solo, I took the train across the country from the east coast to the west coast in a December long ago. My life transition was mirrored by the changing winter-y landscape outside the view car’s window. My journal entries became fewer and fewer as I talked at length with the train attendants and my fellow passengers, each of us sharing our stories. One friend I met was so intrigued by my solo trip as a young woman that he wrote a short story based on it, and another new friend would leave me treats in the form of nourishing food when I was not at my seat. I learned many things to bring me where I am today, including how diverse and beautiful our country is both in its natural areas and in its people.
Lynzie AdamsDecember 15, 2015 at 6:20 pm (7 years ago)
This was an excellent blog post! I loved your description of waking up to nature’s surprises. Truly eye-opening (no pun intended!). Thanks for sharing this inspirational story of your travels, Amanda!
My favorite adventure was actually with the author of this blog post when we were 16. We somehow managed to convince our parents to allow us to travel 10 hours south, from Connecticut to Virginia…ALONE! With the wind in our hair, the music blasting, and an unconditional love between us…we felt true freedom for the first time. I am forever grateful for that trip and the beautiful sights seen and memories made!
Alesia StokesDecember 15, 2015 at 6:35 pm (7 years ago)
My first and most favorite adventure was when my Parents took my Cousins and I on Vacation camping in 1996. I was 7 and we didn’t have cell phones we only had one camera with a roll of film in it. We went to Yosemite National park and Kings Canyon we swam in the rivers hiked the trails seen Bears and Mountain Goats. We ate canned beans every night on the camp fire haha, I think it was my favorite adventure not because it was the start of many more adventures but because it seemed so much simpler back then no electronics just living in the moment!
CoriDecember 15, 2015 at 9:09 pm (7 years ago)
When I was 17, I lived in the desert in Boulder Utah. A town of 170 people. Going there was the first time in my life I really traveled and I was amazed by everything because southern Utah is completely different than urban Minnesota.
One day my sister and I and her friend Brandon went hiking in the desert to a destination she had been to one time before this. It took us 2 hours to hike in through sand and arches and slick rock in the hot desert sun. I had only brought one bottle of water with me which was just enough for the hike in.
We played in the caves up in the mesas and I saw cave paintings for the first time in my life.
The silence in the desert is overwhelming and the blue sky seemed to stretch on forever.
After a few hours of climbing and snacking we decided to head back to the car which was parked along a seldomly traveled highway. The 2 hour hike in was nothing compared to the 3 hour hike out.
Since my sister had only been to this Mesa once, she didn’t remember the way we came in. We began walking in the direction we thought the car was.
Let me rephrase that, we each walked in the direction we thought the car was in. The 3 of us split up. I walked straight, Brandon right and my sister went left.
I was the first to find the highway although I was a few miles from the truck. My sister was about 500 feet into the desert because her dog has a tendency to chase cars and Brandon was nowhere in sight.
My thirst was great and I became impatient. My sister told me that hitchhiking was a normal occurrence in the desert and we had even picked up a few the day before and brought them back into town. I thought, “why not. I’m out of water anyway.”
I stuck out my left thumb and continued walking down the highway. After about 10 minutes of daydreaming, I heard the familiar sound of a vehicle approaching behind me. I couldn’t believe it actually worked. I was thrilled! I turned around and….it was the sheriff. The ONLY sheriff for the 3 towns.
I quickly put my thumb away and pretended to keep walking. He rolled down his window and said “you need a ride?” I wasn’t about to pass this up, I needed water so I replied “sure” and got into the front seat of his truck, moving all of his paperwork onto the floor. He looked at me quizzically. I’m sure it wasn’t often that a half dressed, dreadlocked 17 year old gets picked up my the sheriff walking down a highway in the middle of nowhere.
Needless to say, I got to my sisters car first and waited for her and Brandon to catch up.
It definitely made for a funny first hitchhiking story 🙂
Kathryn WilliamsDecember 15, 2015 at 9:20 pm (7 years ago)
Most favorite adventure? Almost too hard to choose. But in the top 5 is my trip to Peru in 2012, and learning Spanish for the first time. Also my ridiculous journey on ayahuasca.
BrennaDecember 16, 2015 at 3:25 am (7 years ago)
My favorite adventure has been learning to love myself from the outside in. And possibly even more so, the enchantment of getting to know my authentic self. Body. Mind. Spirit. Soul. I may not have been able to travel the world just yet, but I know I’ve already begun the journey and the love of a lifetime with myself. And that, is sure to take me many, many places and lead to unlimited adventures.
AaronDecember 16, 2015 at 11:31 am (7 years ago)
I adventured to Las Vegas and met a new friend.
RyvreDecember 17, 2015 at 12:09 am (7 years ago)
My favorite journey spans from many moons ago, into today, and if I am lucky for many moons to come! My life as a whole is the greatest journey I have embarked upon. Every day I learn new things not only about myself, but the world around me. Sometimes my journey seems less than ideal… sometimes it feels quite difficult as I encounter sky-high waves of negative emotions and self-doubt crashing all around me. I just tell myself to hold tight and as the waves wash over me I listen for the meaning bubbling forth from each crashing wave. I carry what I have learned into every new day, grateful to be alive. The experiences of times past are what push me to plow forth into the new unexplored territory of the future thus expanding my journey through life.
StephanieDecember 17, 2015 at 10:19 pm (7 years ago)
My favorite moment while traveling (thus far) was on the big Island of hawaii. From the rocky lava coasts to skies and ocean that stretch past your fingertips. On thanksgiving my boyfriend and I were far from our families but still having so much to be thankful for (like this beautiful big green and blue wonderland) we took a hike down to one of the best snorkeling spots we have found so far. It was completely unexpected, upon wading out a few feet the rocks dropped off and we were snorkeling above a 40 foot coral wall. It went straight down and was completely surreal with all of the rainbow fish, schools of hundreds twirling around you. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. After snorkeling all day we sat on the lava rocks and shared turkey sandwiches and wine while watching dolphins out in front of the sunset. One of the most peaceful centering days of my life. That’s the feeling traveling is supposed to give you, a little bit of peace with each mile. 🙂
KyndalDecember 18, 2015 at 12:17 am (7 years ago)
The star gazing, waiting for the sun to set to just lay in awe under a star lit sky,i have always been drawn to the moon and stars, it makes you realize how we are all a part of something so much bigger. I would road trip just to see the stars from every state.
HeidiDecember 18, 2015 at 1:38 am (7 years ago)
My most recent adventure was in Glacier and the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park! We enjoyed the beauty of all the parks and all of the abundant wildlife!
Christi GrameDecember 18, 2015 at 2:45 am (7 years ago)
My favorite adventures took place in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. There are so many trees, and snow and not so many people. I love it there, but going to a beautiful white sand beaches along Lake Superior and being the only ones there filled my soul with happiness. I only wish I still lived there so I could adventure there all the time.
AliciaDecember 18, 2015 at 4:07 am (7 years ago)
I think our best adventure stories are yet to be told. Our family of 4 recently bought a 30 foot air stream to live in and travel the U.S. beginning this summer. We can’t wait!
Soul FlowerDecember 18, 2015 at 8:18 pm (7 years ago)
Hey there, Alicia! We picked you as the winner! Yay! Please e-mail [email protected] with your full name, mailing address, and which of our arm warmers you’d like (either the Moon Phase or Awaken fleece arm warmers + which color you’d like) and we’ll ship everything on Monday!