Read chapter one here
After a night of dancing around the fire, the sun finally shone from high enough above the earth to heat the land below. We were exhausted and drove to a nearby campground. We asked if we could park our car there for a few hours to rest, free of charge. They said it was fine. Afterwards, we went to Tiger Jimmy’s to touch up our tattoos and then headed on down the road. We spent one night with Emily’s friends in Arizona, but didn’t want to stay long because the car was left vulnerable (due to broken window) in the parking lot. We continued east on highway 10. Traveling straight through the heart of Texas. Emily said she didn’t trust Texas. She was afraid to stop in the state for longer than filling up the gas tank. It took us 12 hours to drive through the hear tof Texas. We stopped every 4 hours to fill up and trade drivers. She drove, I slept. I drove, she slept. Upon reaching the state line of Lousiana, we realized we were ready for our trip to be over. The intense driving schedule continued. Thirty hours after departing Scottsdale, AZ, we arrived in Florida.
Before returning to Emily’s uncle’s and her car, we decided to visit our friend Marc from the Greyhound bus. We went to his house and hung out for a few hours. He showed us his homemade LSD kit. He strained the liquid substance through a T-shirt periodically as part of the process. He said if we wanted to chew on a part of the shirt we’d have a mild experience. Why not? We were adventurous. He may have thought he was correct in his assumption, but neither of us experienced anything from the T-shirt residue. We said our goodbyes to our new friend Marc. Wondering if our paths would ever cross again. It’s interesting the people who pass through our lives. Sometimes you only share a quick smile or a short conversation. Sometimes more. Some friendships last and some dwindle. Some people you hold on to and some you let go of. Marc and I stayed in contact via the phone for a few years after this, but I never saw him again, and eventually our friendship fizzled out.
We only stayed at Emily’s uncle’s for a night or two. We were anxious to return home, but also at this point we were not on the best of terms. It was our unspoken fight. A quiet animosity. We barely communicated. The energy between us was tangible. I never understood it, but at this point I was rather annoyed. In time, with much reflection, I could see the events which would create Emily’s hostility. Some little thing I would do, say, or not do. Were my actions so wrong? Or was Emily over reacting? Hard to say. I did learn a lot though. About being mindful. About speaking up. Being aware of my self, my projected energy, my facial expressions. Sometimes people read a lot into silence, even though there is nothing to be read. Sometimes people need affirmation. Emily brought it to my attention that when I’m deep in thought my face gets all clenched up and I look angry. Today, we would call that resting bitch face. Ha. I think this was the cause of some of our discourse. Me, often lost in thought about the universe, and her perceiving it as anger. So do we owe people constant confirmation? Constant check ins that we’re happy and everything’s ok? To always explain ourselves because of what others may or may not think? Or more importantly, do we owe it to ourselves to speak our concerns? To not sit and wonder allowing hatred and confusion to build? To ask the other person where they’re at and not just assume.
Being out on the open road like this was the first single most greatest experience of my life. It was like smoking crack for the first time. They say after that you’re forever chasing the initial high. I feel like I was born on the road that autumn of 1999. Before leaving home, I had ideas about how the world worked. Believing in a type of energy and universal connection. But those three months really put everything to the test. I was able to see synchronicities first hand. How everything came together. With no plan, everything always worked out perfectly. Sure we probably caused some people a bit of annoyance, but we never made enemies. Meeting people from all over with many different backgrounds, I gained a new appreciation for my parents and upbringing. I had a good life. A good childhood. I never appreciated how different and difficult some people have it. I returned home a new person. Instead of throwing secret parties while my parents were away, I would ask permission. Instead of lying and hiding, I told the truth. Instead of yelling and fighting, coming from a place of constant anger, I would discuss, coming from a place of understanding and compromise. I was 18, my parents owed me nothing. Yet they welcomed me back into their home after my crazy escapades.
3 months, $2100, and who knows how many miles later, our epic road trip was over. I’d get a job, build up the bank account once more, and set out for another adventure as soon as possible.
This is the final installment of part one. Part two coming soon.