(3 days to go)
Today is my birthday. I’m a merry 25 years old and fulfilling a cliché role of being a millennial writing a blog post. In this post I’m going to briefly review what I’ve accomplished so far and lay out the ground work for some basic aims for our journey.
Early life (where it all went wrong)
I count myself incredibly lucky. Not only because of the huge opportunity that I have laid out in front of me, but also due to the people I’ve been honoured to call my friends and family. Going to school in a small town right out by the M25 meant that everyone lived nearby, so it was easy to know and get along with everyone and just as easy to go and see a friend instead of going home. For this reason (and a few others) there are people I have known since being a giddy 4 year old who are still putting up with me. I learned a few things at an early age: that I enjoy swimming but never remember to bring shorts; I enjoy music but learning to play an instrument is hard and that doing front flips in the field to impress girls doesn’t work when you can’t do front flips.
From there most of my classmates also went to the same secondary school as I did. I managed to add a few more chumps to my repertoire of pals, make minimal enemies and leave with an average run of GCSEs (which wasn’t too bad bearing in mind I was hardly ever there – I did not enjoy school). And to continue the herd mentality, most of my classmates also went to the same college I did, where this time I broke the mould by failing my first year and dropping out entirely. Yes, this means the highest qualification I have is a B in Religious Studies – go me!
Present Day (Get it? It’s my birthday? Presents? …OK.)
Obviously(?) you’ve read my first post, so you know that I have just come out of a 6 year career in IT. I never really wanted to do IT – it’s a great industry to work in and it’s set me up with a half decent CV for at least a basic role in any city I choose in the future, but my brother was the IT nerd. I’m the 20-sided dice nerd (yes there’s a difference, yes it’s a very subtle difference, yes I might as well have not brought it up).My sentence in full-time employment has also allowed me to make some wonderful friends, which I’m very grateful for. I’m not sure where my next set-up will be but at least I can say I’ll meet some new people and that I’ve earned enough to be able to survive in Central London.
I’ve had a lazy day today. Being practically hours away from ‘wheels up’ I thought I didn’t really need to have anything else to get excited about. There are some people who dread each and every birthday and the 365 days of aging that they mark, but I’m not like this – I’ve never minded growing up. Admittedly birthdays do get more sombre as you get older, and it’s a lot harder to find a jungle gym that supports a doughy 5’10” man child. But either way, with what I have coming up I think I’d be in danger of physical harm from Megan if I weren’t excited.
Up next on: Pete’s Life
But enough of the autobiography, this is a travel blog after all!
So, we land in Los Angeles in 3 days. We’ll immediately check in to the nearest motel, sleep and then pick up our 17.7 x 6.6 foot home for the next 3 months (there’ll be a large number of pictures with my stupidly elated expression in them – seriously, it’ll be like wedding photos when the groom first sees his bride to be).
A large part of the motivation for this trip was to essentially soul search. It sounds quite bohemian I suppose and almost too wishy-washy for me (I mean, talk about cliché), but I’m absolutely overjoyed with the freedom I have managed to find myself at this perfect age of decision. My first goal (for this part of the trip at least) is to get as wide a grasp of American culture as possible. And to see a bear. Not up close, mind (as much as I hated The Revenant, it taught me that bears probably aren’t all that great when you’re an arm’s length from them).
I’m excited for the motels, the campsites, the highways, the diners, the gun shops, the huge expanses of green and brown and the cramped chunks of grey. I’m delighted at the prospect of neon signs, fervent radio hosts, answering “Yes, we’re British! Yes, from London! Yes I’ve met the Queen, Old Lizzie I call her, we joke around a lot and then she takes a chunk of my salary”. And not to forget the corporate America I’ve seen so much of from so far away. I’m also sure I’ll probably get sick of most of these a lot sooner than anticipated but that’s precisely what the trusty box of Yorkshire Tea is for. I’ll be able to find tea and coffee making facilities, right?
I’ve never been great at getting too far out of my comfort zone so beginning our journey in a place that speaks my language (or as close to it as they can muster) should allow me to get used to living out of a backpack before we hit those even further flung lands. Being a partial biophobe, I am most excited for the cities themselves. This isn’t to say I don’t want to see those national parks, as I know they’re going to be incredible. But I always love seeing man’s accomplishments and shortcomings and people-watching, and where better to do that in the city limits.
But anyway, this has gotten my heart rate up and I’m extremely excited for this to begin. I’m going to go and start packing – Megan’s been doing it all so far and she’s been giving me the old side eye.