It’s done. Our three and a half week cross-country road trip has landed us in San Diego, California. This journey was more than accommodations, food, photos and ticks on a map. This trip, that I’ve always wanted to do, proved even more meaningful than I had first thought. Yes, we traveled through twenty-two states, visited many gorgeous national parks, sang with country music stars at the Grand Ole Opry and celebrated Christmas with thousands in Las Vegas, but still, it was much more.
I had no idea how much I would enjoy this road trip. Although we’ve taken others together and with groups, this was our first that we were both passenger and driver. Who knew we would enjoy spending so much time in the car. Our tiny Honda CRV, packed to the rafters while sitting pretty low on its back tires, made it. Covered in a badge of road-trip muck, we made it to our destination unscathed. Over five thousand miles have been covered, countless Subway sandwiches eaten and Loves Travel Stops visited, many hotel beds slept in, new people met and an innumerable amount of photos taken, but we made it from our home on the beaches of the Atlantic to a new one on the Pacific.
I’m not sure I even know how much I’ve learned just yet. I can only imagine that there’s more to process than I yet understand and more learning yet to come; but, I am certain about a few things. I’ve learned my comfort zone expanded, the open road became my friend, kindness counts, good signage matters and that land features have more to offer than I once believed. The actual miles may have come to an end, but the journey itself is endless. Some lessons of our adventure are limitless and have teachings that build upon each other. I’ve learned that following dreams, believing in magic, uncomfortably moving the margins of that comfort zone and trusting that although your path might not take the straight and narrow-it’s just that…yours and they are all worth fighting for and never settling. There’s growth in road trips and I don’t want it to end.
Exactly one month after our launch we moved into our first San Diego apartment. A brand new building that has only been open for three months has welcomed us with open arms. This fully smoke-free community just blocks from PETCO Park, the pulsing hub of the Gaslamp District and with a view of Coronado’s bridge is where we’ll lay our heads for awhile and soak up the vitamin D of San Diego’s ‘winter’.
We’ve dipped our toes in the Pacific and run our very pale feet through the Californian sand in this new city we’ll call home for a while. They may not be the ones we’ve known for years, but we even found some lifeguard friends! It’s a definite adjustment and a comfort zone explosion for certain, but amidst the concerns and worries I know that it’s more than worthwhile. The usual first stop in a new city for us (aside from any waterfront area of course) is the supermarket. Just like airports, there’s something familiar, comforting and interesting about each one. We have two next door to the building (Albertsons & Smart and Final), one a few blocks away (Ralphs) and of course the ever present Whole Foods, Costco, Trader Joe’s, Target and Walmart less than ten minutes by car in any direction. And, as it is with finding your feet, we’ve taken a visit to Ikea just to check it out (in case we forgot something that didn’t fit in the four boxes that could make it into the car).
We opened our Aero-bed and sleeping bags, plopped down our boxes and had the strangest sensation when we now had room to unpack our backpacks and actually fold (instead of roll) and hang our clothes (that was so odd to us). We’ve had authentic fish tacos and delicious sushi, relished finding kebab shops and traditional British fish and chips, checked our some fabulous farmers markets and even found a good Californian bagel and lox! We’re hitting the ground running and doing our best to find work, see sights and experience life in this southern Californian winter. Who knows what will come of this expedition, but at least we know we gave it a shot. For about twenty years now I’ve been talking about wanting to live in southern California and I still have to pinch myself that it’s actually happening. While I write, my office is one of sunshine, sand and palm trees. It’s January and we’re not in Australia (where it makes sense for it to be summer). This is my kind of winter and it seems, that with water everywhere I look…my kind of city. Here’s to a new adventure on a new coast. Please let us know if you’re in the neighborhood!