Never Look Back

Find Road Trip Part I here: http://wp.me/p51E95-qY

I drove past the building displaying the Selegna Sol (Los Angeles mirrored) advertisement in the dark, turned left and followed the car’s GPS instructions from there on out ($17/day, plus Google maps, plus Road Atlas… you see why it was necessary…). And I became the waterfall.

There was nothing and nobody to stop me. Except the on-setting rush hour at 6. The sun came up. I would normally consider myself an enthusiast when it comes to sunrises and sunsets. Especially when I get to get up while it’s still dark and just head out with my camera to enjoy the silence and magic of early mornings. I have never less enjoyed a sunrise. I couldn’t even look back. Although I don’t look back whenever I leave Germany either… Ever. I hug, I turn around, I cry, and I go. Never look back.

The sun rose to my right and I still felt like a foreigner in the rental. The back was completely stuffed with my belongings except for 10 cm of room between the stuff and the car ceiling for me to look back… which I didn’t do until I was well outside of the LA area.

With my snacks, entertainment, and my travel teddy buddy next to me, I was starting to let the incredible sight of the California mountains impress me. I made it a habit to stop every 1 to 2 hours for fresh air and to stretch my legs, and inform close friends and relatives where I was. Barstow was my first stop and I took a break at a Starbucks near the Interstate.

I then continued on toward Flagstaff. The scenery changed from rocky, dry and chilly California to a relatively green, foresty, icy roaded Arizona . I’m not even sure I considered winter tires on the rental (which I was lucky to get as it was… as your experience has probably taught you, rental companies rarely have the vehicle that they advertise in their category).

Mountain sunrise
Mountains
Wild wild cold mountains

 

Arizona winter

I reached Flagstaff after a good 7 hours. There was snow on the road. I hadn’t been in the snow in years, but you very quickly remember why you don’t miss it. I also made it a habit to arrive at all my hotels around 4 or 5 pm before the darkness prevailed.

After a quick orientation in my room, I set out to see the town. I went to the spot where Forrest Gump was running and came up with the idea of “shit happens”. I bought two scones at a local bakery, gave one to a homeless guy at the corner. Dinner was Subway. Once around the block in the snow was enough in my converse sneakers. Time to head back to the hotel and call it a day. It’s November 30th.

Downtown Flagstaff
Shoes on snow
Forrest Gump “Shit happens” ;)
Motel sunset

Road Trip Part II

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California Drawer

I got used to making my own coffee in the morning – the comforting sound of the mumbling and hissing machine followed by the smell of fresh brew just gets me. However, every once in a while, I will get into my little car and journey to the nearest Starbucks or 7/11. I’ll go to Starbucks when I miss my mom especially (she always gets a Cappuccino if it’s morning or an Iced Chai Tea Latte if it’s afternoon). I’ll make a stop at 7/11 if I miss California especially (see https://lenafound.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/why-cinnamon/).

Two years ago, June 2015, everything was different. It doesn’t seem like it. It seems like it was yesterday. I was elated and settled in my single-life, going out every once in a while, riding my bike on weekends, but deep down, I was anxious. I needed certain things to work out, which in the end, hadn’t. I wanted to belong in a drawer, but didn’t know which one. Romantically, it was the best that could’ve happened since it (around three corners) led me to where I am now.

Work-wise, I was hoping that my first job at the translation office would improve. It didn’t, and there have been many changes to that workplace itself since. It would not have been healthy for me to hang on, so I let go. Selfishly.

I moved on to a job which was further away, but in the end, was not able to provide what I needed (or had hoped for) either. It was an office job which made me feel like I couldn’t be myself. It just wasn’t me. And if I’m not myself, I can’t give my all, my best, my everything, which made it a dead-end job instead of a career.

I quit, packed my bags, and crossed the country. I have always been a doer, but to be honest, I was glad when that trip was over and I had made it across safely. I cried a lot when I left Los Angeles at 5am just before rush hour. I cried until I reached Barstow, where I went to a Starbucks and had a Cappuccino. Then I became numb, and endured… for five days until I reached the East Coast.

Nothing has happened in two years, but everything has changed. Everything. Well, everything that needed change. That I wanted to change. So that everything can be better, the second time around. I have found back to my old shape. I’ve become clearer on what I want (although that may change quickly, but I anticipate that kind of change, so it’s all good). I’m overall more positive about the future and I most certainly know what I don’t want, which sometimes, is worth more than knowing what you do want.

As I jumped out of the Florida 7/11 that morning, French Vanilla coffee with Hazelnut creamer in hand (I have yet to I find a 7/11 down here which brews cinnamon coffee), and a lady opened the door for me as she walked in. She looked me up and down and said “Oh yeah, it’s you. You’re cute.” – “Excuse me?!” I responded, not bothering to take off my sunglasses again. “Oh no,” she continued, “I saw the car outside with the California license plate, and then I saw you in your little outfit, with your sunglasses, and it can only be you. You’re very California.”

She had no idea how much she had made my day. I smiled for the remainder of the way home and then some more. Yesterday, I received my renewal car registration sticker… for California… And I feel more complete.

As for me, my essence… has become Californian. I’ve found my drawer.

 

#30DayWritingChallenge

Day 30: How have you changed in the past 2 years?