With my recent graduation, the first course of action was to travel, of course! I have had this trip planned out for several months now, for as much as traveling has become easier through experience, planning is still crucial to a good trip. This trip was different other trips due to the fact that I am now graduated. I am now traveling with a freedom that my other trips have been lacking. This is my life now, not just some weekend adventure, but part of my real life, without anyone else telling me what I should be doing. Becoming graduated has given me a clarity of thought that I hadn’t thought possible. I am hopeful that I will use this freedom and clarity to redouble my efforts toward personal projects and finding a job, but time will tell. I might not be constrained by time, but my bank account isn’t infinite!
- About 2500 miles driven
- About $200 in gas
The Outward Journey
I left Monday afternoon, Nov 23rd, heading toward Charlotte, NC. Marissa, my friend from highschool, is attending college there and let me spend a few nights with her. 7 hour drive from Pittsburgh to Charlotte. The hills of West Virginia are quite windy. I spend Monday and Tuesday night with her. I checkout the UNC-Charlotte campus and get some fast food from a place named “Cook Out.” You can get corn dogs as a side with your meal. I pickup some local Muscadine wine for our Thanksgiving dinner. Muscadine grapes are local to the South and have a very sweet, but kind of musky taste to them, a very unique flavor.
Wednesday, the 25th, I took off toward Sarasota, FL to spend Thanksgiving day with my grandparents. 11 hours of driving in the rain and holiday traffic. Florida has the most amount of: accidents, terrible “driving too fast” drivers, cops pulling people over, and people driving too slow. A terrible state to drive in, but a beautiful balmy state. It was great to see my grandparents after a few years and spend Thanksgiving with them. My grandmother is 84 years old and a great cook. She can barely walk, but somehow still has her driver’s license and is still allowed to drive. That amazes me.
Saturday, the 28th, I headed across the state to have my third thanksgiving with some other friends, Lauren and Phil. Driving East/West in Florida is terrible and the roads are not built to facilitate such travel. Florida looks exactly the same no matter where you go. Good food was eaten, Lauren is an excellent cook, and some pool was shot. The next day, I headed off toward Melbourne, an hour North, to visit my friend Haris who had just moved down there and also just graduated last year. I crashed on his couch Sunday night.
Monday morning, at a bright and early 8AM, I took off toward home. My trip had been a progression toward longer and longer drives, so this was my longest drive yet. It’s about 16 hours of driving from FL to PA, so I decided to straight shot it. I stopped off in SC for Bojangles, this awesome biscuit fast food place, similar to Popeyes. Such great food in the South! I managed about 12 hours of solid driving before crashing around 10PM to sleep for 2 hours. I woke up at midnight and then kept driving. I got home around 4AM, so 20 hours of traveling for 16 hours of driving. I was quite impressed with myself! Not something I want to do all the time, but sometimes you have to push it to the limit.
It was a great experience to see old friends and family! I am already packing for my next trip though…