I had the great opportunity to travel to the west coast. I had lived in Wichita, Kansas for the summer, and to start my trip, I drove to Dallas, Tx (flights were cheaper). This wasn’t originally planned as part of my trip, but was an amazing learning experience. Texas is big. Texas is flat. Texas is hot, and Dallas is huge. I spent approximately 12 hours in Dallas, and got to experience a different way of life (and even pet an Ox!)
From there I flew to San Francisco. I spent a day in the city. I walked the water front, I talked to fish-mongers and street artists. I visited the historic water front and got to try my hand at historic ship building. I also got to walk the streets of one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the country. I learned a lot about building into the side of a mountain, as well as how to build for earthquakes.
The next morning I took a train, and a bus to get to Yosemite. I got to see the deserts that makes up the landscape of Cali. Upon arriving in the park, I attempted a series of hikes and challenged myself physically.
I then returned to the city. I explored Ghirdelli square, the cable car museum, Sausalito and china town. I also had the chance to go to Muir woods national forest.
This trip was transformative for me. Experiencing how others live is always an eye opening experience.
What was most impactful though was learning how big the world is. The 3,000 ft high granite walls of Yosemite, the 100s of year old redwoods a Muir woods, and the train ride through California taught me that.
I learned a lot about myself.I learned that you need to be flexible, and that things won’t always work out like you’d like. I learned that mistakes happen, but people are forgiving, and want to help each other. I learned that, since I was in San Francisco at the time of Robin William’s death, that even when you feel completely alone, you aren’t. I learned that my body isn’t all capable, false summits are the worst, but that your mind can push you further than you think. I learned that you can hitchhike without being killed. I learned not to sit near the crazy old man on the bus, because he’ll talk your ear off. I learned that it is REALLY miserable when your bus breaks down in the desert. I learned to pack shampoo in a plastic bag, because it might spill all over your belongings. I learned to be resourceful. I learned that I hate hills. I learned that real Chinese food is nothing like what I eat. I learned how to eat raw clams. I learned that sometimes you have to live in the moment to really enjoy it.
In summary: I learned.
Moving forward, I want to travel more. I feel that traveling, and the experiences that occur, shape how you react to things, and what makes you you. I want to go back and make it to the top of half dome. I want my mother to experience the beauty of the west. I want to incorporate the slower lifestyle into mine.