Truth be told, it began years ago. Traveling isn’t something that just fell in my lap. It hit me head on!
A few years ago I was battling through some serious trials and life changing events. I was totally miserable. At the time, I was a Police Officer working in Florida. For those of you that are new to this blog, check out the About Me section for the back story. Despite the fact that my mind and my heart wanted nothing more than to be a street cop, my body said otherwise. The doctors all agreed the damage from the head-on crash was done and there was no going back. That the risk of further injury was certain and was not an option. The medical outlook for my future is not a good one- (I will visit this in another blog post further down the road.)
After 10 years of service my time had come. I was medically retired and I was scared shitless. All I knew was how to be a Police Officer. I had a house that I had purchased years into my career, bills, a life and a million questions of “what now?!” I specifically remember everyone asking me “so what are you going to do next?” I recall I would try to stay positive and my answer was usually the same. Through a forced smile I would say, “I’m not really sure yet. I think I will just ‘go walkabout’ for a while.” I’d usually laugh and try to find new ways to hide the terror in my voice. A lot of people would say good luck and move on with their day, leaving me to wrestle with the reality of ‘I really don’t know’ for the rest of mine.
I knew one thing, I wanted to travel and see what I had been missing. I was always working and when I wasn’t I was preparing to go back. I knew that I needed to do something to get out of the funk I had settled into. I wanted to feel alive and look ahead instead of behind. I wanted to step out of the ordinary, I wanted to drive and clear my head of all the negative b.s. I wanted…. wait, go back to the last one…. Drive! That was it. I had talked of traveling and ‘goin walkabout’ (please tell me you remember Crocodile Dundee from the 80’s)… It was time to make that a reality. I took a temporary job to make ends meet and in the meantime, I worked on selling off everything I had.
I came up with a plan to road trip around the U.S. in two months time (a whirlwind tour, done mostly with the comfort of friends at my side.) I had to be back in Florida for medical procedures so I figured two months would be good. Then after the house sold, I finally bought an Airstream travel trailer and committed 100% to my plan.
I did it. I did what I had promised myself I would do. I turned my back on my old life, the career, the house. I left friends I didn’t want to leave. I began my road trip in 2016 and ended it just like I had planned. I found myself back in Florida for medical procedures and settling into a new path, but it wasn’t the right one. After cutting away from a relationship I realized I had been hiding and burying my emotions. Blurring the lines of the real me and what I was trying to accomplish. Grasping at the prospect of a new comfort zone I found myself getting sidetracked. While I probably wouldn’t change things looking back, It was time to move on. When I left for the Keys I once again committed to change. I longed for a real road trip. Not one done in several weeks but instead one done over the course of a year! The first road trip took me out of my comfort zone, but not completely as I still had friends with me and a final destination. 2017 has something else in store for me.
I have mentioned the plan before – 35 National Parks to celebrate my 35 birthday. Sounds simple enough. Well, unlike last time, the majority of this trek will be solo. I will truly be out of my comfort zone as I travel. The majority of the time I will only have myself to fall back on. That takes the road trip to a whole new level. It also gets me beyond excited for what lies ahead. This is going to be the biggest, most daring undertaking of my life and it feels great. I am not folding because I got dealt a bad hand of cards. I am going all in! I am finally open to everything around me. I am accepting of my path and committed to making a better me. I will soak it all in, every bit of it. I will take every opportunity to be present in this journey. I will remind myself daily how truly blessed I am. I will create the best version of myself. Most importantly, I will walk my path (with all of its crooked lines, ruts, bumps and cliffs) and I will do it with a smile on my face.
Next up: The Ultimate Road Trip adventures as they happen
(note: from now on, blogs will be a lot shorter than this as I am going to be covering so much ground)