It was a bright but cold Saturday morning in March and snow was still on the ground as I merged onto the highway with little more than the general heading of West.
The allure of the West had always called to me, but it was "never the right time" – there were always endless excuses: work, money, or friends who were unable to go. It was always easier to say "someday" than to say "today", and so I always put it off. However, then I came across this quote,
"The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready." - Henry David Thoreau
This simple quote reminded me that you don't need to rely on other people for your own happiness – nor do you need companionship for something to be worthwhile. The time to do what you want is now.
As I drove the 3,000+ miles West, I came to get to know myself better and I'll always value that time I spent alone on the road. (Coincidentally, I listened to 'On The Road' by Jack Kerouac all the way out – highly recommend)
Along the road I came to appreciate a lot of things. For one, the hospitality and kindness of people in this vast country of ours. From my friend Jeremy's farm in Indiana where he and his family greeted me with unbelievable warmth and delicious farm fresh food, to my friend Shelly's ranch in California where I spent an incredible day being guided through the mountains, to my Godparent's house in Oregon where they invited me to stay as longs as I'd like – people continued to amaze me with their kindness all along my way. It was truly unbelievable.
I also came to appreciate how lucky I am to be able to pursue what I want in life. For many, the idea of loving your job is almost laughable. Yet, my ultimate goal is to not have to work at all. Considering the injustice of this stark contrast made me realize I want to give back. My good fortune and privilege in this life can be used for good rather than just ignored and explained away as "good luck". Thus, I realized that I need to work to help others move towards a life they want, not just help myself fulfill my goals.
I circled back through the north – Spokane, Bismarck, Chicago and, upon arriving back to the east coast was left with a lot to think about. I'm still processing the experiences I had on the road but the main things I realized are that life is short and "the death rate is still holding steady at 100%" so we might as well get to living.