Traveling the United States: What I Wish I Knew Before

A friend and I made the transit from Florida to Washington State in the summer of last year.

It was a life changing experience.

We had always tossed around the idea of a cross-country trip for some years but, in this case, my friend was moving from a sleepy town of Gainesville, Florida to the hustling and bustling city of Seattle, Washington.

What a culture shock, right?

We had put some time into planning trip prior because we didn’t want to go in blindly but there were a few things I wish I had thought about (and done) along the drive.

Stick with me – if you will – because I’d like to share a few of those thoughts and what I would have done differently if I took additional time to prepare and adapted to the road…


What I Wish I Knew Before

The United States is massive.

It’s hard to describe the scale of a cross-country trip to others when all they’re used to is hopping around some of the local towns and cities. We ended up driving more than 3,700+ miles to reach our destination.

To put that into perspective: You’re driving a little over 1/8th of the distance of Earth!

When you’re on the road that long – you quickly realize how fleeting your life starts to become because there is so much to experience. These are the things I should have known before hitting the road:

·  Road trip apps – I played with Roadtrippers the history app during the trip but it was already late into the transit. These apps, and others, are quite amazing at opening new ideas on where to stop over when you’re going across the country. You get a sense of history, take in cool sights, and find nooks that wouldn’t otherwise be found on the maps!

·  Travel Packages – We were a little rushed on time because we wanted to meet up with friends but if I were to take things slower I would have done travel packages for the areas we were rolling through. I would have loved to snag up Kentucky Derby travel packages to see the races, bed & breakfast options in Colorado, or stopped over in Vegas to do a wild night of gambling. These packages come with the lodging so it would have fit right into our budget when considering we were stopping off at random motels and hotels along the way.

·  Packing Light – I didn’t have a say on this. My friend was moving after all. However, it would have completely changed the experience if we went minimal and just used a moving company to send the major stuff or even through the post office.

·  The Altitude – You may feel like an animal in your area but once you start hitting those high altitudes you’ll quickly learn how little you’re able to handle the difference. I’m glad I kept hydrated but I wished I had exercised more before going to the Rockies. These higher locations will put you out of business quick even if you’re in shape. Your body isn’t totally adjusted to the difference.

·  Flow – There were many situations where we were uncomfortable to the point where we wanted to leave quickly. Yet, we’re happy that we placed ourselves in these situations. If I were to do it again I would try to learn a little more about the local culture so that way I could strike up conversations and adapt to the locals rather than feeling slightly alienated.

Was it worth it? Of course, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

I can say, for sure, that a cross country trip is worth the time and money. It really changes how you perceive the rest of the United States in ways you can’t get from sitting behind the screen.

Were there some things I’d like to change? Certainly.

That’s why I’m sharing it with you. I hope you take this to heart and make your big adventure on that’s worth remembering.

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