Why I Decided to Take an 18-Day Solo Cross-Country Road Trip at the Worst Possible Time

I am sitting at my desk in my apartment questioning whether or not I really did just come back from an 18-day cross-country road trip. While I was away, time seemed to fly by and yet go so slowly at all once. It all feels so surreal. I cannot believe I actually did it and at the worst possible time, well, depending on your perspective.

I had absolutely no plans to do this road-trip until I was let go in late September from the start-up I was working for in New York City. Which at first was a complete let down but then I heard that they completely shut down about a month later and had I been let go then, I wouldn’t have been able to do this road-trip at all. There wouldn’t have been enough time to plan let alone take this trip, especially considering I already had a trip booked to Peru right after Thanksgiving. 

Still, as I planned, I kept looking at my budget for the next 3 months and knew this was an absolutely stupid move on my part. Completely irresponsible. I was dipping into my back-up savings for this road-trip. But for some reason, it felt like the only time to do it since I was giving my leased car back in January, going to Peru for two weeks in the interim, and didn’t want to drive in the middle of December to the coldest parts of the country. November felt right.

Throughout the month of October, there were a lot of highs and lows about this trip mainly because I had never done anything like this before, especially alone. At this point, I didn’t know that my friend was going to join me for part of it. A particular high was being on a work call with Rosario Dawson and letting her know I was doing this. It was then that she shared that she had done it too and that I shouldn’t doubt any of it for a second. One thing she said that really stood out to me was,

You are going to see how beautiful and different this country is. You don’t need any reason to go. You are alive that’s enough reason!
— Rosario Dawson

I was left inspired and completely amped.

Even while planning and letting people know, it still didn’t feel real. It wasn’t until the day before my trip while hanging with my family that it really set in. My father asked what time my flight was the next day to which I realized that I must have confused him with all my travel plans. When I clarified that Peru wasn’t until after Thanksgiving and was also taking a solo cross-country road trip he immediately said, “And, you’re doing this alone?” I nodded, smiled and reassured him that I had done lots of research and bought all the necessary “just in case” items. But my father’s face weny pale. I had never seen him look so scared for me. It made me feel scared. He then took off his bracelet and said, “You give this to me when you get back. You hold onto it for now but while on the trip if you ever feel alone, read the Our Father prayer, the words are on it.” I literally almost cried right then and there but held it together for him. I didn’t want him to think I couldn’t handle myself on trip. I didn’t want to worry him even more.

I went home that night and in the middle of packing, just sat on the floor and cried. I was overwhelmed with worry and didn’t feel so sure anymore. My father’s worry became my worry. But then I texted my younger sister who slapped some sense into me and told me that he was just being a parent. That I was smart, wouldn’t take dumb risks and really did prepare for this. That I had to believe everything would be okay because it would and I was going to thank myself later on for taking this trip. I threw some cold water on my face and kept packing.

So many things could have gone wrong...

Like getting a flat tire (I learned how to change a tire before I left and even packed an EXTRA tire, I know I’m nuts), running into a creep (I packed mace, a pocket knife and had a hammer under my car seat), running out of gas (I packed a 5-gallon gas can), my cell breaking or getting lost (I packed an extra iPhone), car battery dying out (I packed a powerful battery strong enough to start my car up), and so on and so on. As you can see I am Ms. Just In Case and, while it cost a bit extra for this kind of reassurance, I actually didn’t need to use any of it. Thank you, God.

Look out for my next blog on my 13-hour drive (1st stop!) to Chicago from Jersey. Yes, I did 13 hours in day. More on that later as well as some things that did go “wrong” because I was originally supposed to go all the way to Seattle but, as you can see, did not quite make it there.

My road map.

My road map.