More on Boston, MA

Things have suddenly slowed down the last couple days.  I’ve finally gotten over my cold.  My sudden influx of work responsibilities has finally subsided.  The world series is over (woo Giants!).  I finally have time to post a much-needed update.

I’ve been in Boston since 10/12, so just over 3 weeks now.  So far I’ve found it to be a ton of fun.  People seem to be pretty outgoing and mostly educated.  Not as many people have Boston accents as I thought would.

The only problems I have are the crazy drivers and the cold.  I’m scared to death every time I have to drive or cross the street.  People drive like maniacs here.  I’m shocked I haven’t seen a traffic accident yet.  I’ve seen TONS of “close calls”.

The weather isn’t terrible since has been sunny most days, but it sure gets COLD.  I finally bought appropriate shoes after my toes freezing in flip-flops one too many times.  I typically wear a sweatshirt and a jacket out and still freeze my butt off.  My RV gets freezing at night, and my indoor temp gauge says the lowest it has been is 29 inside.  I sleep with 10 layers of clothes on so I don’t die in my sleep.  I’m going to invest in a nice camping bag once I find myself at an REI.

I am however, very excited about seeing snow.  I figure it won’t be as exciting after the initial snowfall, but I suppose can leave whenever I want.

As far as what I’m going to do next: I’m thinking international travel.  I’ve been to 5 different US cities so far, and what I’ve found is that they are all pretty much the same.  They all have McDonalds, Starbucks, english speakers, crime, good parts and bad parts, foreign and domestic cars, white people, smart people, fun people, stupid people, fat people, US television, US currency, a few local sports teams, colleges, suburbs, buses and trains, etc.  I’d like to mix it up and check out some places that are going to be considerably different than what I’m used to.

I plan on parking the RV for the winter months, and jetting around the world.  Right now, I’m thinking of doing a month+ in each of the following, in this order: Argentina (Buenos Aires), Australia, Thailand, ???, Europe, then back to the East Coast to pick up where I left off in the RV.

(I would post some pictures but for some reason my phone doesn’t want to connect to my computer anymore)

 

20 Week Update

20 weeks of living in an RV is no laughing matter.

Actually it is.  I can’t tell you how many jokes I’ve made/been a part of due to my living situation.  Its close to a “That’s what she said” scenario.  Any opportunity to make a jab about how I live in a car is exploited, and we always have a good laugh.

“Tommy, do you want a ride home?”

“Yes”

“Where did you park your house today?”

Here are a few thoughts I’ve had recently:

  1. It has been 3 weeks since I have seen anyone I have known for more than 3 weeks.  I forget what it’s like to hang out with people that you have known for more than a month.
  2. It is pretty emotionally draining to make friends for a month and then leave only to start over again somewhere new.  While it is fun and exciting, it also requires immense energy and positivity, which can be hard to keep up all the time.
  3. I’d like to spend more than a month in each location if I really like the place.  I wanted to spent more time in Portland and Minneapolis, but I’ve been on a schedule to make it to Delaware for a wedding in October.  After the wedding, my schedule will open up, and I’ll be able to spend longer in each location.  I’m thinking maybe 2 months in the bigger cities with more to do.
  4. I need a new fridge.  I’m sick of mine freezing everything.  I hate it when all I want is a bowl of cereal, and my gallon of milk is just one giant ice block.
  5. I have to start watching my energy consumption in the winter.  There were a few days here when my solar panels didn’t pull their weight because of heavy rain and clouds all day.  Maybe I’ll get better/more batteries to help store more power when it is sunny out.  Worst case, I can just turn the engine on.
  6. It has been 3 weeks since I have seen anyone I have known for more than 3 weeks.  I forget what it’s like to hang out with people that you have known for more than a month.
  7. There are LA Fitnesses EVERYWHERE.  I don’t know why they don’t just call it US Fitness.
  8. I miss In N Out.  Everybody here misunderstands me when I say that I’m dieing to have in n out animal style.
  9. I’m still paying California Income tax.  Thanks Arnold.  I’ll mail in my deposits from the other side of the country for you.
  10. I used to think people that did work on their laptops in coffee shops were losers.  Now I’m one of those losers every day.
  11. My business is still continuing to grow because I’m working smarter rather than harder/longer.  I spend more time on the important stuff and simply ignore the unimportant time-wasting activities I used to fill my days with.  Last month was actually my best month ever!
  12. I’m sick of telling new people that I meet what my deal is.  It takes 5 minutes to explain my living/travel situation is, and 50% of the time, that’s the first and last thing we talk about.  How annoying.  I should wait to explain myself until they first prove worthy of my friendship.

I’m planning to go to Boston immediately after the wedding in Delaware.  I’ll stay there in my RV until it starts to get too cold.  After that, I have 3 options:

  1. Park the RV long-term and do a sublet for a few months in NY.
  2. Park the RV long-term and fly to South America/South East Asia/Australia/Japan/Hawaii/???/Europe for the winter.
  3. Drive the RV south to escape the cold winter.
 

Last Week in Seattle!

I’ve been on the road 16 weeks now.  I’ll be leaving Seattle in a week, most likely headed towards Minneapolis.  Still haven’t made up my mind 100% so it could still be Vancouver.

I’ve had an amazing time in Seattle.  Met a lot of cool people.  Some of the things I’ve done include a 12 mile hike to the top of a mountain, luxury box at both the Mariners and Seahawks game (thanks Brian), square dancing, space needle for free (thanks Eric), Seattle Underground Adult Tour, wakeboarding, visiting numerous bars/clubs, and even going to a mountain bike park under the freeway.

I’m going to be dog/apartment sitting for Brian this weekend, so it will be nice to live in an actual apartment for a few nights.  I’m excited about running potable water, the freezer, microwave, TV and high-speed (faster than 3g) internet.  All things I have been deprived of the last 16 weeks.

If I do decide to go to Minneapolis, I’ll embark on my 1,600 mile drive on Sunday, and see if I can make it there in 4 days.    400 miles a day shouldn’t be too bad.

Here are some random pictures from Seattle:

Wakeboarding on Lake Samammish

Mariners Game

View from the Space Needle

Seahawks game

 

In this post I made before I left on my trip, I’d mentioned I would land in Vancouver anywhere between June and September.  Its going to be closer to September, if at all.

I’ve really liked spending a full month in each city.  That feels like the right amount of time to allow myself to make an accurate judgment about the city.

I am running out of summer months, and need to be in Delaware in October for my cousin’s wedding.  I effectively have one more month (September) to spend somewhere between Seattle and Delaware.  I’ve narrowed it down to Vancouver, BC and Minneapolis.

Vancouver Pros:

  • I’ve never been to Canada before.  I think it would be fun to spend time in a different country.
  • Very international city.  Should be interesting to visit.
  • I’ve heard the nightlife is pretty good, as you only have to be 19 to go to the bars (not that it matters for an old 24 year-old like myself).
  • Canadians have funny accents.  (What are you talking aboot?)
  • Maybe I’ll meet the Sedin brothers or Ehrhoff. (Vancouver Canucks players… Hockey…)

Vancouver Cons:

  • Cell phone and 3g internet usage is going to be extremely expensive.  Sorting it out will be a pain.
  • Not exactly on the way to Delaware.  The drive from Vancouver to Delaware is going to be very long.

Minneapolis Pros:

  • Still in the USA, so cell phone, internet, currency, etc won’t be a problem.
  • Directly in the middle of the 3,000 mile route from Seattle to Delaware.  I could spend 3 days driving from Seattle to Minneapolis, and 3 days to Delaware, instead of 6 or 7 straight days from Vancouver to Delaware.
  • Maybe I’ll meet Slug (from Atmosphere… a rap group…)
  • Might not have a reason to go back to Minneapolis if I do skip it.

Minneapolis Cons:

  • Higher crime rate.
  • Not an interesting foreign country.

Minneapolis makes more sense logistically, however Vancouver seems a little more interesting to me.  As I mentioned, if I skip Minneapolis, I might never make it there in my journey.  However same goes for Vancouver.  If I were to equip myself with an acceptable phone and eventually do a Canadian tour, Vancouver is still really far out of the way in relation to the other Canadian cities.

I need to make a decision in the next few weeks.  Maybe I’ll visit Vancouver just for a weekend (because of the logistics) and then head off to Minneapolis for September.

Additional Minneapolis Pros:

  • Prince lives here, we got 10,000 lakes
  • the women are beautiful, to me they are
  • we’re not infested with pretentious movie stars
  • Got trees and vegetation in the city I stay
  • I can always find a parking space
  • The women outnumber the men two to one
  • Got parks and zoos and things to do with my son

Bonus points if you can guess what song that’s from.  (Hint, artist has already been mentioned in this post.)

In summation, please comment and help me decide where to spend September!

 

100 Day Update

Hard to believe, but I’ve been traveling for 100 days now.  I commuted into SF this morning exactly 100 days ago.  Looking back, it feels more like a few years than it does a few months.

Lets look back to a post I made 101 days ago: Trip Predictions.

  • Return Date:  Still have no idea, but June 28th, 2011 seems way too soon.  That’s less than a year away.  No way I’ll be back by then.
  • Lose 15lbs?  I’ve actually gained about 4lbs.  I actually go to the gym every day because it is way easier to shower at the gym then in the RV.
  • Hair grow to shoulders?  No.  It gets too hot with long hair, plus I look stupid with long hair.
  • Lose my mind?  Yes, but not in the way that I thought I would.  I thought it would be more of an isolation-driven insanity like in the movie Castaway, however I’ve actually been more social in the last 100 days than I ever have been in my life.  Its more of a “I’m going to try too many crazy things” sort of insanity.  So I guess it’s the good kind?
  • 92,315 miles on my rig?  I think I have about 81 or 82 thousand right now.
  • 40 of 50 states?  So far hit 3 states.
  • John: 16 1*s?  So far 31% of the way there.  Probably at 1,652 0*s out of your predicted 8,327 0*s.

Glad I went through with it.

Living in a motorhome and traveling the country has been much more enjoyable than I had anticipated.  Before leaving on my journey, I had bouts of doubts.  There were times when I questioned whether it was a good idea or not, and almost wanted to call it off a few times.

My first few days in SF were terrifying, and almost made me want to bail out.  I remember falling asleep my first night, parked on the side of the road in SF, listening to the cars whiz by, thinking “What have I got myself into?”.  I felt like I was in over my head and wanted to call the whole thing off.  I made the decision not to based on two reasons:

1.  Everyone would think I’m a total wimp.  I hate it when people talk about how they are going to do something really cool and then never follow through with it, so I didn’t want to feel like a hypocrite either.

2.  Even if I didn’t enjoy the trip, I would just man up and get it over with because I knew it would be an unparalleled growing experience.  I figured that worst case, the trip would suck, but at least I would come back a better man with so much more knowledge about the world.

Thankfully, I got settled in after a few days and really started enjoying my journey.

Life as a “Vagabond”

It is truly amazing being able to get an entirely new change of scenery once a month.  I feel like I am constantly doing new things and meeting new people.  Time feels like it goes by much slower when you are constantly faced with new experiences, and nothing ever becomes “routine”.  Like I said earlier, I can’t believe it has ONLY been 100 days.  Feels like a lot more.

I have changed a lot as a person in the last 100 days.  I’ve been forced into tons of new and awkward social situations, and learned a lot about making friends and meeting people.  I’ve also hung out with hundreds of different people, with much to learn from each individual.

The most difficult part is saying goodbye, but that feeling is slightly offset by the new opportunities to say hello.  When I left Portland, I was really sad to leave all the friendships I had fostered behind, but at the same time, I was excited to say hello to Seattle and encounter a whole new set of people and experiences.  It is really an emotionally roller-coaster.

What Now?

I’m still in Seattle and will be here through the end of August.  At that point, I’ll either go to Vancouver or Minneapolis for the month of September.  Currently leaning towards Vancouver, but been teetering back and fourth for some time now.

 

Goodbye Portland!

I had an amazing time in Portland, but I’m finally headed to Seattle in the morning.

I’ll discuss Portland in more detail in a later post, but for now I just wanted to mention that this last month has been the time of my life.  I came up to Portland expecting nothing (estimated a short stay here since I didn’t know a soul in this town), but left with some incredible friendships and experiences.  What a surprise.

If Seattle is half as amazing as Portland was, it will be a great success.

 

Still in Portland (Part 2)

Initially, I said I’d be in Portland for 2 weeks.  That was 4 weeks ago.

Portland is amazing, and I’d stay here for a long time if there weren’t more places that I wanted to see while I’m still young.  I’ll admit that I’ve enjoyed my stay here in Portland more than my stay in SF.  However, I’ve only been in Portland for the summer, and I’ve been told this is the best time to visit Portland.

I’ll be spending this weekend in Portland, but for sure leaving to go to Seattle in the first week of August.

One thing I noticed is that everyone in SF had nothing but great things to say about Seattle.  Here in Portland, I get a lot more mixed reviews about Seattle.  A little rivalry I detect?  We will see what people in Seattle say about Portland.

 

Still in Portland

Portland is awesome.  I could easily see myself living here if it weren’t for the bad weather 9 months out of the year.

I have had a great time so far.  Here are a few interesting points about my stay here in Portland:

  • I’ve been here for 12 days, and in that time, I haven’t seen a single person here that I have known prior to these 12 days.  I’ve constantly been hanging out with lots of people I just met.  It feels strange that I’ve only known my oldest friend in Portland for 12 days.
  • People are really friendly here.  It feels like a much more laid back atmosphere.
  • No sales tax in Oregon.  Its nice knowing exactly how much you will pay for things before you buy them.  Also, it dramatically cuts down on pocket change, since most prices are pretty even ($6.00 flat instead of $6.52)
  • No self-service gas stations here either!  I don’t feel comfortable letting someone else pump my gas.  Are you supposed to tip??
  • You can’t buy liquor in grocery stores.  I guess that is what liquor stores are for.
  • Most things are more affordable.  This includes groceries, gas, rent, real estate, etc.  I’ve met several young people (1-2 years out of college) that own their own house or condo here in Portland.
  • Drivers aren’t as crazy.  Although this may sound like a good thing, people constantly give up their right-of-way which can really slow traffic down.
  • Portland is strongly pro-bicycle.  There are lots of bike routes, however I see fewer cyclists than I would expect.  I ride my bike most places, and it works famously.
  • I went to a fashion show downtown.  A girl I met invited me along, and it was surprisingly a ton of fun!
  • I rode my bike to Vancouver.  Vancouver Washington, that is.  See the picture below.
  • The gym I have been going to is amazing.  It is 9 bucks a week, gigantic, with tons of brand new equipment, and hardly anyone there.  I go every day because showering at the gym is so much more convenient than showering in the Rialta.

Here are some random pictures:

View of Mt. Hood

Rode my bike down the bike path in the middle of the freeway all the way into Vancouver, Washington.

Some random waterfall/pool/park thing downtown.  Seemed like it was really dangerous.

I think I’ll hang around Portland for at least another week.  I really like the people I’ve been hanging out with, and it will be sad to leave them all behind!

 

Made it to Portland!

This is just another quick post to let everyone that I made it safely to Portland.  It took me 3 days to drive from Chico to Portland.  Google maps quoted 8.5 hours, but somehow I managed to spend ~60 hours meandering my way up to Portland.

As I was driving up from Chico (it was too hot to stay a whole week), I spotted a giant white mountain in front of me.  It was Mt Shasta as dad guessed by the picture in my specifically unspecific recent post.  I drove up as far as the road would take me, played in the snow all afternoon, and stayed there the night.

The next day, I finally crossed the Oregon border, but decided to stop and rest in Eugene for the evening.  I biked around the campus, and went to a few watering holes.  Wasn’t hugely impressed by Eugene.

Finally, I left Eugene and finished the last 100 miles or so of my trip up to Portland.  I’ve been in Portland for just over 24 hours, but have already done a ton, and really like this city.  The only problem is the weather; it is raining right now.  June July 1, and raining.  Nobody seems as surprised about it as me.

 

I don’t really have anything insightful to say; just posting an update to let everyone know where I am and have been.

I left Sonoma last Thursday, stayed with Hoi for a night in Vallejo, then spent Friday through Wednesday in Davis, spent last night with my aunt and uncle in Sacramento, and I just made it to Chico for the weekend.

Come next week, I’ll be headed up to Oregon, and saying goodbye to California for a while.

Rohnert Park, CA (Sonoma State University)

Vallejo, CA

Davis, CA

Sacramento, CA