The decision to quit my job and to make another cross country move was a decision I rustled around in my head for weeks. I had spent three years manifesting a life revolved around living in Seattle, Washington. Once I got out there I loved it…well, parts of it. Although I had happy days and created wonderful memories, my overall well-being was not as great. I battled the worst spell of grief and depression I’ve ever had, and even though I loved my coworkers, my job consisted of sitting at a desk in silence working in AutoCAD (program used for engineer drawings) all day. I was working for what I thought was my dream company in my dream location but was constantly wondering why am I still unhappy? Looking back now I realize there were multiple reasons, but most importantly, it’s because the person who I was when I manifested that dream is not who I am today. I’ve lost my mom, left a four year-long relationship, and graduated with my masters degree all within two years. So yeah, needless to say when your heart breaks more times in two years than ever imaginable your goals and dreams change.
I accepted a job with a general contractor (GC) which means that I went from working for a subcontractor under a subcontractor to the head contractor on the construction site. My current project for my new job includes building a data center outside of Las Vegas. This means I’ll be here for the duration of the project, about 1-2 years and then SURPRISE! I’ll move to the next jobsite. (Before you ask, no, I have no idea where it will be located. I won’t know until 6 weeks before, BUT that’s the fun part.) This job involves working longer hours, walking around daily with a hard hat on, and using a large breadth of knowledge of the overall operations of a construction site. Despite having to work in close quarters in a tiny construction trailer, I am surrounded by lively, funny, and passionate people. I could not be happier. I am at the point in my career where I want to be pushed and forced to learn more. I want to learn what all it takes to build from the ground up, particularly on a project so massive and high profile. I want to talk to different trades and learn multiple skills instead of focusing on one specific skill. A book I read recently said smart people don’t accept jobs for money, they do it to learn skills. That completely explains why I accepted this job. These are exactly the skills I need in my toolbelt (lol get the construction joke).
My dad and I did yet another cross country trip to move me from Seattle to Las Vegas. The trip wasn’t nearly as long as the first two trips we did together, but it was still just as beautiful.
Why I think roadtrips are so important to being a wellrounded traveler… the prequel
The United States is extremely beautiful, and I think that to truly understand what it means to be an American, people should uncover all of the different cultures that exist within our country. Every time I travel across the country, I find out just how amazing it is and how lucky I am to live here. It is crazy to think about all the miles of drivable roads and the varying climates, hobbies and cultures that this one single country has. People are so obsessed with the notion that in order to truly travel, you have to go to Bali or Europe and overlook what is in your own backyard. I started to notice that people’s favorite thing about their trips is how many countries they’ve been to,but they never tell you about their true cultural experiences or what they have learned about themselves through all of their travels. Traveling has turned more into a checked list of who can go to the most exotic place and geo tag the coolest beach on their social media. To live in the United States and NEVER take a roadtrip is a waste of actual traveling.Most of the time when people go to other countries they stick to tourist locations without actually experiencing the real culture. While YES I do agree that traveling to a different country is EXTREMELY important and should be done as many times as financially possible, sometimes it’s more for the social media and bragging rights of saying you went somewhere ‘extravagant’ than the actual experience. You learn so many things by turning your focus away from yourself and more about the place and people you are visiting. For example, it wasn’t until I went abroad that I realized America is one of the only places that allow citizens to own guns. I learned this by stepping out of my comfort zone and creating dialogue with locals. Yes, that piece of information seems small but it opened many more opportunities for me to learn and grow. These experiences are important, but they aren’t the only way to define traveling. When aboard, tourists’ main reference of a culture experience is from their tour guide, and I’m sorry to tell you but that sort of travel can be found on the History Channel. If you want an easy way to experience other cultures, walk into an ethnic grocery store in your town and look at what foods they eat. Ask questions. Make friends with someone from a different culture and be friends with people that don’t just look and think like you. Go celebrate holidays from different religions or spend the holidays with a friend whose parents might be a first generation U.S. citizen.America is so beautiful and you would be surprised what cultural and travel experiences you can have with a 20+ hour drive. Jump in your damn car and drive to other states. Actually feel and see how big this beautiful country is and appreciate how every state has its own culture. Look within your own country to find a deeper meaning of what it really means to be an American.
*Steps off soap box* Thank you for coming to my TED talk, we will now get back to the roadtrip.
Our first stop was in Eugene, Oregon, to see some family who lives there. That stretch seemed to take the longest because it was filled with the most traffic we experienced on our trip.The visit was really nice, and it’s always a pleasure to add some pit stops into the road trip filled with family visits.
Our next stop was a hike outside of Bend, OR. I took my dad on a hike that was EXTREMELY hard for his skill set, but he went along with it because I promised it would be the hardest hike of the trip. (He had also made me buy him $100 hiking boots to keep at my apartment, and I told him I wanted to get my money out of them.) We had a beer in Bend, but we were on such a weird eating schedule and wanted to get back to our hotel that we didn’t spend much time there. I would definitely love to go back to Bend for a girls weekend.
The next morning we drove to Crater Lake, and that was breathtaking. Crater Lake was so blue and beautiful. There are so many hiking spots there that I almost second guessed if I had picked the right day to make my dad hike. I would have loved to have been able to spend more time there. At one point I looked over at my dad and said, “isn’t it amazing how many beautiful places we have seen in the last two years?” I get chills just thinking about how blissful and amazing road trips with my dad have been and in some silver lining way are one of the best parts about the accident. My dad retired and has been able to become very involved in my life in a way that he wasn’t able to do when we were growing up because he was working full-time. Moments like this you have to take advantage of as a survivors of trauma.. We packed back into the car and headed for our favorite stop on the road trip, Lake Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The lake is basically made up of a bunch of little beach towns that turn into ski resorts in the winter. I honestly think that Lake Tahoe would be the perfect family vacation spot for everyone. One of the ski resorts was turned into a kids’ playground with ziplines, rope walks, slides and much more. My dad and I went up to the gazebo to get some views at 10k feet up. I would highly recommend taking a trip to Lake Tahoe., and I am very excited to come back and make a snowboarding trip out of it.
The last full day of our trip was spent with my oldest friend on record, Lauren Carter. We had an amazing dinner at her parent’s house with them and her soon-to-be-inlaws. I am so happy to live close to her family again, and I only wish my mom could have been there. I would have loved to hear my mom and Lauren’s mom (Beth) gossiping in the kitchen again.
The drive from Reno to Las Vegas is PRETTY bare but still a beautiful drive through nothing but desert mountains. The drive is definitely one of those that you don’t want to push it with needing gas or waiting to eat. I’d guess there were a max of 10 restaurants between the two locations and maybe 3 places to get gas.
I am currently 2/2 on using reviews and in-depth questions to find apartments online. For both of my big moves, I never flew out to the city and apartment hunted. I’ve always found a couple places on the internet and narrowed them down by asking some very strict and upfront questions. (Being upfront does have its perks sometimes.) My new apartment is very resort-like, and that’s exactly what I wanted. When I was looking, I told my dad the pool had to have palm trees. (And it does!) I have a unit that faces the courtyard and is a 90 second walk to the pool and hot tub. I’m only a 20 min drive to work and 10 min from the Strip. The location is absolutely perfect.
My dad and I both agree that I am really going to like living here. Vegas has two of my favorite things: mountains and a cheap airport. Within a three hour drive there is plenty to explore; Sedona, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, and Lake Tahoe. I am also a $80 flight to LA to visit two of my best friends. Although my time in the Pacific Northwest was a short one, I feel like I explored it to the fullest and that is exactly what I expect to do here in Las Vegas.