Road Trip to Self-Discovery

Sometimes, when you have a lackluster day, it’s nice to reflect on the things that make you happy. For me, happiness has always been found in traveling. The grand escape.

Back in 2010, my family and I went on one of the best trips of my life, a trip where we went through San Francisco, Anaheim, Half Moon Bay, Los Angeles, Arizona, where we stopped by the Grand Canyon, before ending up in Las Vegas, that paradise in the desert full of fountains, shows, and a gritty sort of splendor. 

So many things stand out to me about that trip, like the colorful train station we found on VRBO and stayed in at Half Moon Bay, California. The bathroom floors were painted like Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, and every room was a different color. It was like living in a Crayola crayon box…

It was an amazing trip because everything was new and exciting…we had never been to any of the places before. We found this great balance of going by a schedule, but also doing things on a whim, like eating sushi out of boats that float by you in Japantown, driving down Lombard Street in an SUV…

You should really try that sometime! 😂

And we went to an authentic Japanese Tea garden, where we took turns taking pictures on top of The Drum Bridge and feeding the squirrels, which would almost climb into your hands they were so tame.

One other thing that sticks out to me about this trip was…where I was emotionally at the time. It was May 2010, and only 5 months before, I had been through one of the most tough events of my entire life. 

The guy I had been dating at the time(we’d been together around 8 months), was accidentally shot in the head and killed by his younger brother on December 21st, 2009. Around the time that we had gone on this trip, I was still in a fog, but I remember my grandfather booking us flight tickets and saying, “We need this. No one is promised tomorrow. We need to all do this, together.”

I remember being thrilled. A chance to get away, a chance to forget about what had happened to me…a chance to start over. I think what also made this trip a memorable one was all the stages of grief I found myself in, even amidst those new experiences and happiness.

For example, when we toured the famous Winchester Mansion, built by Sarah Winchester, the widow and heir of the Winchester fortune. There were displays and cases upon cases of guns, but I never batted an eye. The only time I really broke down on the trip was when we were in a little town off Route 66 and some actors dressed like cowboys staged a “shootout”. I remember going around the corner to sit on a bench…and cringing when I heard the blanks pop.

Despite that sadness though, I still will tell anyone who asks that that trip was the best I’ve had in my life, up to this point. It helped me to see that the world was bigger than whatever had happened to me. It made me want to keep going and never stop.

I would love to go on another trip like this one, where we just had fun and forgot about everything for a while. We truly lived, rather than paying bills, being responsible, all of “that” stuff.

Are there any trips that you could say have personally changed *your* life? For better or worse?


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