Alexa, play the opening theme song from The OC

Alexa, play the opening theme song from The OC

54 days.
54 more days until I’m drowning in serotonin.
Brian and I both have a horrible case of Travel Bug and have since we first met. After only 5 months of dating, we planned a trip to Disney World for a week (and didn’t get cancellation insurance, which was a big deal for people at the time because wHaT iF wE bRoKe Up BefoRe We WeNt).

From 10h bus rides to New York City to celebrate New Years
18h road trips to Florida for a single concert
3 months backpacking/camping in New Zealand
to just recently doing a 6 week road trip to California and back…sometimes our trips are planned, sometimes not so much.

In the fall of 2019, we spontaneously decided to drive to Vermont, strictly for the autumn views. We didn’t book a hotel, we just packed clothes and our giant-ass sleeping bag. We spent the weekend and drove around taking pretty pictures, and Brian flew his drone, AND THE CITY OF BURLINGTON IS BEAUTIFUL. 10/10 RECOMMEND!
We’ve traveled a ton for concerts and have become comfortably good at driving for long periods of time. The longest stretch we’ve done so far was to Colorado.
We left my place around 4am and drove 8h to Chicago. Parked and saw what Millennium Park had to offer, got deep dish pizza (obviously), then got back in the car and continued another 16h to Garden of the Gods in Colorado. I believe on the way to Chicago he drove the first four and I did the remaining. Then to Colorado, we did the same, but 8h each. We were incredibly lucky with our weather (it was the end of March), although I hate driving at night when it’s raining, and I strictly remember driving through road construction for like…a solid hour. At night. In the rain. But the speed limit remained highway limit, so everyone was going hella fast and I was so alert about everything and so on edge. Wasn’t a fan. But in case my mom reads this, let’s not freak her out.

I prefer road trips 1000% over flying. I don’t mind flying—I actually enjoy it (airports, not so much), but driving is the way to go in my opinion. Obviously if it’s an option. The trip we have planned in 54 days is driveable, but not realistic. So flying it is. Which is fine. But since Covid is still kickin’, I am a bit anxious. Once we arrive at our destination, I’ll be fine, but I know the airport and airplane are going to have me extremely on edge.

People who know me are probably so sick of hearing about “The Road Trip”, but honestly it was such an incredible adventure. We had just purchased our new Mazda a few months prior because even though it was in the works anyways, we knew we wanted a reliable ride for the 15 something thousand kilometers we had ahead of us, and she did not disappoint. Very comfortable to sleep in too, which was a bonus.

Please find yourself listening to Drinking In LA by Bran Van 3000. The trip started as a week in Los Angeles for my birthday in April because there is a line in that song that says “what the hell am I doing drinking in LA at twenty-six?” and I said to Brian that I wanted to be in LA for my 26th birthday. We started planning and the one week turned to two, because we realized all the things we wanted to do. We branched further and further out from the city, to the national parks, then decided we’d go back to Vegas because it was “right there”. Fast forward to booking 42 days of a road trip, hitting 16 states, and almost hitting 16,000 kms. I scratched off a few bucket list items and experienced things I’d never dreamt of.

Hollywood fucked me up. For some reason, it had always been a fantasy that I’d ever go there. It never made even a mental bucket list because I literally thought I would never go. So when we passed the Welcome To Hollywood sign, I was driving, at a red light, hyperventilating. It’s so silly thinking back to it. I was frustrated that I couldn’t take it all in, because I had to pay attention to the evening traffic. Brian had booked us an Air BnB at this beautiful new apartment on Highland Avenue, which excited me but also terrified me because I had already written Jimmy living in his apartment on Highland. And Brian didn’t do this on purpose. It was just a fluke.
(Please read my book Inked Caffeine: Melrose and Vine if you have no clue what the fuck I’m talking about 😊)
Even the room was a trip because it was two furniture arrangements away from how I pictured and described Jimmy’s apartment. All too weird.
So, we were in LA for a week and the whole time I was scanning and bookmarking and taking in as much as I could because I didn’t know if I’d ever be back, and this was the time to make my story that much more authentic. My Holy Binder™ came for the trip as well and I was constantly making notes and adding and adjusting. We went to certain locations that were in my story, mainly for my sake (fun fact: Dallas’ Starbucks is a gas station and No Regrets is a mechanics. the Mazda needed an oil change and that’s where we went) and like I said previously, I could navigate us around pretty easily without any maps. How sad because I can’t even do that with Toronto…

My birthday was weird because on one hand I wanted to try and “recreate” Jimmy’s birthday with the Taco Bell and the beach and dressing nice and whatever, but I also wanted the day to just play out however it wanted. That being said, it was the only gloomy day of our whole week in LA. I sat in wet paint because I’m stupid and there was no drinking (y’know…the whole drinking in LA at 26…). Which I don’t actually care about. Brian and I aren’t huge drinkers anyways, but it still would’ve made a killer Instagram caption hahahaha!
The wet paint thing upset me way more than it probably should have, but whatever. Brian did a great job at cheering me up and I basically forgot all about it. (Please note that the West Coaster is the smallest little roller coaster I’ve ever been on, but I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in my entire life.)

We packed up to carry on the rest of the trip the following day and stopped at Lake Tahoe, Yellowstone, and a spontaneous stop at Badlands National Park in South Dakota

I remember being extremely sad when we got home because it meant that life had to unfortunately go back to reality, but it also meant that I could start editing IC with all my new ideas and notes. To my surprise, there wasn’t really much to change, but a bit to add. Things like…Jimmy, Dallas and Nils going for a walk to the Hollywood Sign, I changed Jimmy’s apartment to be more like The Highland because that’s just fun, so I added the rooftop pool and gym, and SCOOTERS! Scooters were very important for me to add, mainly because they were everywhere in California, and they’re so stupidly fun. Once we rode them once, we wanted to ride them everywhere. I’m still sour Toronto never got them…

Do you have a favourite place to travel? Or somewhere you’ve never been but are dying to see?

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