As far back as I can remember, I have wanted to travel and see new places and experience new things. I had always enjoyed road trips, which my mom and I took together when I was younger. Over the years I have done a reasonably good job at pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and taking on adventures. Some include moving across the country without much thought, planning or even money. I will admit, picking up and moving several thousand miles without a care in the world could lead to failure, but I made the best of it and enjoyed every moment, good and bad.
As I got a little older (dare I say "matured") I learned a few things when it came to traveling, more specifically, road trips and how crucial it is to plan rather than rely on luck alone.
Now to explain the article title and how it ties into the picture. At the time (November 2014), I was in the process of planning a road trip from Lafayette Louisiana to Washington state, down to California and back. In total, this trip would span approximately 8,000 miles and cover 14 states. I had taken several long road trips before, but never to this extent.
The primary purpose of this trip was to spend Christmas with my mom, who at the time lived in Washington state. The way the holidays fell, along with vacation days, I could take a significant amount of time off work, making it possible to visit Mount Rushmore, Yosemite, the Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon and other areas I had not yet seen. I wanted to take advantage of this once in a lifetime trip as I did not know if or when an opportunity like this would present itself again.
Since this trip would take place in December a considerable amount of planning and preparation was warranted because my route took me through mountainous regions which were subject to harsh weather conditions and road closures. Even though I would be making the journey in my modified Toyota FJ Cruiser (vehicle article coming soon), which had four-wheel drive, recovery gear, and other equipment, I knew that was not sufficient. I needed to have enough supplies (fuel, food, water, medical, clothing, ect) onboard that could sustain living in the vehicle for several days in the event of an emergency. The more I thought about it, the more time I spent second-guessing myself. I thought about just flying to Washington instead as I was feeling a little overwhelmed with the planning and logistics of the drive.
All of this was rushing through my head as I walked down the dark, desolate streets of downtown Lafayette. It was early in the morning, and I was on my way to meet a few friends for breakfast. I had walked this stretch several times before and never noticed what I did that morning. There, in the windows of the Children's Museum, read the word DISCOVER. Not only was it in large, bold print, but it was lit up. It stopped me in my tracks, and I felt as though life was dropping a not so subtle hint.
Before completing my walk, I pulled out my iPhone and snapped this shot. Over the course of the next few days, I repeatedly looked at this picture which eventually encouraged me to take action. About a month later I was on the road, discovering parts of America I had never seen.
Was it a coincidence? Possibly. What I do know for sure is, that was the moment that changed my mind about the road trip that later changed my life.
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Baker and Ashlie are the owners of Bourn Adventure and together they author the majority of the articles and content found here.