Last November, I sold most of what I owned and packed what was left of my most prized possessions into a POD. I drove away from the past 2 decades that I’d spent in Louisiana and hit the road. I headed east with a plan to eventually settle in my beloved Florida. But the universe had a different plan. I was called to go West. So I set out from Florida and drove across the country, from sea to shining sea.
My destination was Del Mar, California, but I didn’t take the short route. I drove down through the Florida Everglades and up the eastern seaboard to our nation’s capital. Drove west through the Alleghany Mountains to the Great Lakes, then south to Ozarks. North by northwest through the Golden Belt. Further west and then south through the sacred heartlands of Native American tribes.
I arrived safely just 100 yards from the great blue Pacific ocean on June 3, 2022.
My final drive from Sedona, Arizona to Del Mar, California was about a 7 hour journey and I’m not ashamed to say I shed tears of pride and joy a good part of the way. This was an experience that I will never forget, and as I stated on the travel page of Frittata, “much of who we are depends on where we have been”.
The picture above was a selfie I took when I crossed the border into California.
5024 Miles Driven
About halfway through the drive, I found myself having breakfast with a good friend in Wichita, Kansas. “You need to draw a map when you’re done to see how many miles you’ve gone, ” she said.
Here’s your map Nikky!
I have an increased respect for those whose job it is to move stuff around our great land.
There was more than one time on this journey where I found myself racing freight trains as I cruised along long stretches of empty road.
Next time you grab a piece of toilet paper, or order something on Amazon, take a moment to be thankful for both the long-haul truckers and the train engineers who are moving your stuff and making it possible. Someone spends a lot of long and lonely hours on the road. Never take it for granted.
My route from Sedona took me down and along our border with Mexico. For miles and miles I just thought about what it would be like to be desperate enough to try to cross on foot. I saw the fence. It seemed so ridiculous when you consider the terrain.
I crossed through the Imperial Valley and the Sonoran Desert. Blinding sand dunes for miles and miles, then endless mountains and valleys of volcanic rock. Virtually impassable by foot. At one point there was a sign on the highway that said, “turn of A/C to prevent engine overheating”. There were water stations every few miles for people to use if they overheated. A bit sobering even after all the long and desolate drives I’d conquered.
Not gonna lie, I was a little nervous when I arrived at my new condo. I rented it sight unseen. But when I walked inside, I knew I was home.
After 7 months of living with other peoples’ stuff and in other peoples’ spaces, I could not wait to see my own stuff again.
I had the time of my life reuniting with my favorite things. When I packed this POD, I had no intention of letting it sit in storage that long nor did I pack it as if I was moving across the country.
But not one single thing was damaged. Not even a layer of dust. It was like I’d just packed it all yesterday.
Just Enough Stuff
I did NOT find the killer air mattress that I could have sworn I’d packed for this moment when I opened that POD. Thank God for the super thick foam mattress topper that I did keep because that is going to be my bed for a while.
Super excited to get my girls out of storage. These ladies are suited up and thrilled that their new home includes a view of the Pacific Ocean.
Check out this super cool retro microwave! I found in on Amazon and all the reviews said it was a fire hazard. So I didn’t buy it. But I needed a microwave, and when I went to Lowe’s to buy some other stuff, guess what I found?
Only one left. The exact color I wanted. Fingers crossed!
Needed a coffee maker. I’ve become a fan of Keurig over the course of my travels.
It matches the microwave 🙂
People, tell me this – is there ANYTHING better than a perfect cup of coffee, just the way you like it, that you can make yourself in less than 2 minutes without getting out of your pjs???
If there is one thing not to love about California, it would be the gas prices. Not even gonna tell you what $7/gallon costs to fill a Range Rover. Small heart attack.
Elon Musk is killing it here. No joke, I would bet 1 in 3 cars is a Tesla. Not hard to understand why. Even with the steep price tag it pays for itself in gas savings pretty quick.
As it turns out, I put a deposit on this baby about a year ago. Rivian is a new electric car manufacturer.
Click the image above to check them out. They partnered with Ford originally but I think that fell through. I read that Amazon is buying 100,000 vans from them over the next few years.
Fingers cross that I get on the 2022 delivery list! It’s supposed to put Range Rover out of business. Fingers crossed that I also find a job that will help me buy it 🙂
Out To Pasture
On the short list of things to do during my first few days was to check out the local farmer’s market. This, too, has been a surprising disappointment.
For all of my friends in Louisiana who are farmer’s, know this – the Covington Farmer’s Market is a gem. I have yet to find it’s equal on my travels. As with most “farmer’s markets”, what I have found so far in California is a lot of soap makers and gluten-free bread bakers but very very few farmers.
Shockingly I have only found ONE vendor that raises bees and sells local honey. I’ve got a friend at Wild Woods Apiary that needs to set up an outpost. There’s money to be made and plants to pollinate.
Definitely no Mauthe’s hand-stirred chocolate milk. No thick cut bacon.
I also was sort of hopeful that, being so close to Mexico, avocados would be like 50 cents. Nope. Just as expensive as there are everywhere else.
The Good News
While there are some sacrifices to West Coast living, there are plenty of highlights.
Retail, people. Food.
West Elm? Crate & Barrel? Ikea? Joybird? They’re all here folks. Drive up and walk right in.
Need poke? Ok. There’s one on every corner. How about some chana masala and saag? No problem.
Need ramen? It’s right next door.
Fresh veggie juices? Vegan burgers? Ceviche?
There are 5 organic mega-supermarkets in less than 5 minutes from my condo. I’m considering a part-time job as a shopper for Whole Food’s online service. Met with the manager today. They employ 70 people just for that store.
I’ll be taking advantage of all the food options soon enough. But after this long on the road, my soul is thrilled to be back in my own kitchen.
It’s Ok To Look Back
When I look back at the past 2 and a half years since our world changed in a way no one could have ever expected, I feel mixed emotions. There were hard times, but there was also much to be proud of.
A move like this requires one to take a pretty big leap of faith. If I can do it, so can you.
COVID-19 was a huge wake-up call in so many of our lives.
Slow down. Smell the roses. Watch the birds. Taste the food. Dream big. Believe.
If you’ve felt the pull to make a change, stop waiting. The best way to measure whether you are fulfilling your intended destiny is to check in with how you feel. Your emotions won’t lie. If your job or something else in your life makes you tired, sucks the life out of you more than it energizes you, make a change. Start today.
For those of you who have been keeping up with my adventures, I sincerely thank you. I genuinely felt your presence and support along this journey. It made the trip all the more worthwhile.
Tomorrow I start looking for work. I am hopeful and excited about what lies just beyond the horizons that I can see today. I have no doubt that this is where I’m supposed to be right now, and that this is not the end of the adventures I’ll be sharing with you.
From Sea To Shining Sea
America the Beautiful
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
By Katherine Lee Bates; (1859-1929) Inspired by a trip to Pikes Peak in 1893, Katherine Lee Bates
wrote the poem America the Beautiful. Her poem first appeared in print on July 4, 1895 in The
Congregationalist, a weekly journal. Ms. Bates revised the lyrics in 1904 and again in 1913.