Sunday, March 23

By Bus & By Plane: My Cross-Country Trip

I have been dreaming of a cross-country road trip since before I enrolled in driver's ed classes at age 14. I LOVE road trips, and while I have not taken nearly as many as I would have liked thus far, I am forever trying to talk friends and family members into lengthy drives to far off cities. They usually turn me down. 

As my college graduation drew nearer and nearer this past fall, I decided that this was my chance. Butttt, then the practicality of taking such a trip solo seemed questionable, and both my mother and my boyfriend were pretty concerned about the potential risks. So I reluctantly started looking at bus and plane tickets, and was pleasantly surprised at how reasonable the prices were! I made a list of all the cities my friends and family have dispersed to over the last few years, and drew up an itinerary! 

I'm hitting 12 cities in 9 states over about 6.5 weeks. Epic, right?! I'm leaving in less than TWO WEEKS! Ah! I'm starting with a bus to Chicago, then another bus to St. Louis to visit some family. Then I'm taking a bus back to Chicago and my bestie is flying to Honolulu with me! The top group of photos in this post are from my trip to Hawaii last year. I'm counting myself as very lucky to have a best pal stationed in paradise for three years -- can't beat free lodging on a beautiful island! 

From Hawaii I'm flying to Seattle to visit a friend from college, then LA to see a friend from high school. From LA, I'm meeting boyfriend in Vegas for a few days, before we both fly to Denver. From Denver, I'm going to Dallas, taking a bus to Austin, visiting San Antonio, and ending my Texas tour in Houston. The second group of photos here is from a host of past Texas trips I've taken -- a number of my Michigan-relatives have moved to Texas these past few years. From Houston, I'm flying to Jacksonville to see an old college roommate, and then I'm heading home! 

I'm looking at this trip as an opportunity to grow and breathe and explore. I'd like to come back with new perspectives, a better sense of self, and a fresh take on old dreams. I'm excited about the adventure and a little apprehensive about the challenges (money, being away from my boyfriend, general travel anxieties). I'm determined to travel light, nothing but a carry-on and my JoTotes camera bag. 

Planning outfits that will work in both Hawaii and Seattle, and that can go from day to night, has been another challenge in itself. Any pointers for packing or planning or traveling would be appreciated!! 

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  1. Monica, I'm so excited about your trip. This is something I wish I had done when I was your age.

    Take lots of pictures and post them!

  2. Be Sure to bring at least a light jacket for Denver. We still get snow here this time of year, even into April!

  3. Roll your clothes and put them in gallon sized ziplock bags by outfit. You can save on space and a stinky suitcase!

    If you like cross country travel, you should look into Amtrak. Comparable prices, lots of room while traveling and way fun! Only downside is the cutbacks on routes because it's not as popular.


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