Now that I have begun my journey across the country and have my destinations planned, I find myself breathing easy and at peace with my choice to leave my home state. Maybe it is the rush and excitement of an amazing adventure coinciding with new discoveries and sites, but my happiness has almost entirely overwhelmed the feeling that there is something I’m missing.
Another two weeks of unknown routes, friends, new knowledge and self-discovery still lie ahead. These weeks are sure to promise long days of driving, sunburns, fast food, hot weather, and many moments of being lost; I welcome even these inevitable inconveniences for the mere pleasure of learning about my country and myself.
Today’s discoveries took place in Washington, DC. In all my 24 years, I had never been to DC and have never explored the ‘Mall.’ Today I had the opportunity to walk the long distance of the National Mall towards our Nation’s Capital, then back towards the Washington Monument, and over to visit Lincoln on his Memorial. I popped in to see the Obama’s with hopes to play a quick game of basketball (actually I stood outside the gate like every other tourist and snapped pictures). I visited the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and later hit up the National Museum of American History where I had the chance to view the flag that inspired the Star-Spangeled Banner, our national anthem. Today was a full day of walking, sun burns, and almost endless amazement. Although our country is young compared to other nations, I felt proud to be standing in front of all the sites that proclaim our heritage.
Traveling for over two weeks and moving across the country puts me in a position of unemployment and quickly very conscious of money. So, needless to say, I plan to travel in such a fashion that will leave me with funds to begin a new life, in a new state.
Today, I got a heavy dose of history, national sites, with the added perk of self-discovery – all for the price of $19.60. The museums were free and because I chose not to rent scooters or bicycles to get from one site to the other, it was an extremely inexpensive day. Of course, I could have spent more money (you can always spend more money) but if you want to explore for cheap, all you need to do is pack some water, a lunch, sunscreen and good walking shoes.
Tomorrow will bring a new destination with new discoveries. It will also bring me one state closer to the eventual goal, so stay tuned for more tips, lessons, and stories from my trip.