"Aspire not to have more, but to be more"

Monday, July 29, 2013

"Aspire not to have more, but to be more"

This weekend was the "Maximum Yield Indoor Gardening Expo" here in San Francisco. It was my first conference representing Earth Starter and I really enjoyed the conversations and connections that we had with a variety of people. Since we were at the conference all weekend, I didn't have the chance to do much exploring, but that's okay!

I went for a run this morning here in Alameda and came across the equivalent of Main Street, just 2 miles away. Love how I get to explore on my runs. Wish I had more time to run, but after our Kickstarter campaign is over, I'll have a little more freedom.

Since I left home, I've realized how so many people have so many material goods, but what do you really need? Every once in a while we all have money burning a hole in our pockets, but what do we spend it on? Food? Clothes? The next coolest thing? I am going to try to live more simply & save more. Why waste when all the talk these days is about recycling? All of my clothes are still sitting in duffle bags on the extra bed in my room, and I'm pretty sure I've worn the same clothes running since I got here last weekend (well, I've washed them). Makes you really wonder how much you really need! When I went to Trader Joe's last night, I remembered how I would shop at Mom's back home and buy a ton of food but I always wound up throwing some of it away; I'm trying to be more conscientious about what I buy and if I will be using it. When I fill up my tank of gas, am I going to burn it taking unnecessary trips or combine trips to the store and carpool? When we have conversations, are we just talking to people to talk to people or are we having meaningful conversations? End rant.

Things I'm thankful for: healthy fruit, great conversations with my mom (love ya!), running

Goals for the week: hair cut, explore, run, ace an interview at a local running shop

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Week 1 on the West Coast

Well here I am, I've been in California for the past week. I haven't had much time to run or explore (super busy with work), but once our Kickstarter campaign ends this week I'm hoping it frees up a little more time in my schedule. I had an interview with Lululemon (even made it to the second round - the sweat date), and was rejected. I needed the job to help cover extra living expenses but I'm sure I'll figure something out.

I did head to the DMV in Navoto to get a California ID so that I can join a Credit Union out here (which is often the complete opposite reason why people get them), but they MAIL you the ID (how weird is that?), so I have to wait about two weeks for it. The drive out to Navoto was BEAUTIFUL! Now SF has its perks, but the trees -- ahh so beautiful!

Work, how's work? Great! Love the office, love my co-workers.
House, how's the house? Great! We aren't really here that much but I'm so grateful that I've been given a place to sleep!
Friends, how are your new friends? Well, being that I haven't had time to go out and explore everything is pretty much the way it was this time last week. One of my good friends from UMD came to visit this week and we got lunch- it was great to talk with someone from back home.

We did meet the New Zealand National Sailing Team this week at a bar called 21st Amendment around the corner from work. They are hear for America's Cup. We also went to two pretty cool bars for Happy Hour last night. It's nice to be with an older crowd!

From what I've realized in the past week, everyone here is much friendlier and willing to have long, meaningful conversations with you. East Coast folks are very stuck up and pretentious - I definitely love how people are out here. People have commented that there are way more homeless people here, but I haven't noticed that much of a difference to Baltimore. I haven't been attacked by anyone, and haven't been sold any drugs, so things are good.

I have been fortunate to be able to talk with a friend who recently relocated to the Seattle Area from DC  -- he actually went to Dartmouth & Yale, was working at UMD, and just decided to load up his car, take his dog, and head west this spring. It's nice to be able to have someone close (even if that's 12 hours away) that has kind of done the same thing as you!

Well that's all for now, I'll try to post every once in a while.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Day 7: California

After leaving my hot, hotel in Vegas (and stopping at Dunkin Donuts), I headed up to my new home; San Francisco. Although I had been on the road this week for up to 14 hours a day, the journey from Las Vegas --> San Francisco was the longest/most challenging part of the drive emotionally for me. The fact that I had only eaten two salads all week caught up to me...and also the fact that I couldn't exactly just drive home and see my family & friends. I definitely am excited to begin this new chapter of my life, but it's kind of crazy how drastic of a change it is. I personally don't really feel any different and don't feel like I'm on the other side of the country, but I'm sure it will catch up with me eventually. After a long day of driving, I pulled up to my new home, and was greeted with ice cream, smiles, and pizza.

Thank you to everyone who has been checking in on me this past week! I had the time of my life and I hope that you enjoyed following my journey! First day of work is in the AM!
Me @ my new home - 621 Taylor Ave!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Day 6: Zion, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas

Waking up in 100 degree weather outside is quite a contrast from what I've had this entire trip. I spent the night in Mesquite, NV because of a flop with the hotel situation (was originally planning on staying in St. George, UT). My room was another steal off of Priceline.com; I wound up staying in the Eureka Casino & Resort! Breakfast was in the Casino itself.

Once I got on the road, I headed to Zion National Park. There were some beautiful views and lots and lots of people, so I just drove through taking pictures at the pull offs along the road. They do have a really long tunnel through the side of a mountain(not sure what to actually call it?).

After Zion, I made the journey to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The park at the Grand Canyon and area around it smells amazing-- it's not an overwhelming piney smell like I smell back at home, it was almost junipery and was lightly scenting the air. Too bad I couldn't bottle that up and keep it in my car with me forever! Yankee Candles will just be too strong.

At the Grand Canyon, there appeared to be a great viewing spot so I walked down the rocks to it and had someone take my picture. When I walked back up to the visitor center, I was so out of breath!

I learned that in 2004 there was a Boston Marathoner who attempted to hike the Grand Canyon and wound up dying. That's pretty scary, considering when you think of how in shape the average marathoner is. I was talking with a Park Ranger there and he showed me the South Rim and told me about how crazy people are for running it--- someone has done the "Rim to Rim" challenge in like 3 hours! One of my coworkers back at Charm City Run actually did the Rim to Rim challenge and I know it took her way longer than 3 hours, and she is a triathlete! I have 0 desire to ever do the Rim to Rim, so you don't have to worry about me there!

After spending a little time at the Grand Canyon, I headed to Vegas! What a beautiful drive! 8 saw lightning storms up ahead on the road and actually got some good videos. I swear, as soon as I passed into Vegas the torrential downpours began (I haven't had significant rain in almost 2 days of driving) . Once I exited Rt 15, I found roads flooded throughout Vegas, so I just decided to head to my hotel and check out my room and then go from there.

I stayed in the Las Vegas Casino & Resort; used to be the Las Vegas Hilton. My only complaint was that the AC wasn't on in my room when I got to it and it also never really cooled down once I turned it on.

I parked at the Bellagio downtown (for free!) and then went to Caesar's Palace (which part of was flooded) and also the Bellagio. I met some cool guys from the UK which are actually from the same town as my cousins- how cool! After having a drink and gambling $12, I decided to walk around the resort and then head back to my hotel room.

It was really cool to see what everyone has always made such a big deal about here in Vegas, but I think Atlantic City is a little better (having been in one casino there). Don't tell the Vegas gods that though...

Anyways, that's all for now. I'm heading up the coast to San Francisco today, to my new home.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Riviera Blvd,Winchester,United States

Friday, July 19, 2013

Day 5: Four Corners & Bryce Canyon

After leaving Albuquerque, I drove to Four Corners (It was about a 4 hour drive). Today was the first day that I had "No Service" for the majority of the day. It was actually pretty nice to be unplugged, but it's a pain when you're relying on the Waze App on your phone for directions! Since I had already plugged in the address for Four Corners before I lost service, I was okay, but when I left Four Corners and was trying to head to Bryce Canyon, I had to pull out the map (thanks Mom!) and stop by the Post Office to ask which way to go.

Driving through the desert is pretty exhausting -- I kept asking "am I ever going to get there?!" but then take a second, look around, and take in the views. There was also roadwork in the desert - don't feel bad for those guys. It's pretty amazing what is out here in the west. I passed through "Navajo Nation", saw some tee-pees, and saw more shacks (very similar to that of southern Texas). After hearing all of the shenanigans going on with the government these days, I realized that those that live in these camps out in the middle of nowhere probably have no idea what is going on in Washington, or any care in the world. Their greatest worries are probably how they are going to find food in the middle of wilderness, not how they can pay less taxes. How does the Census Bureau even do a count for the census?

I drove by Glen Canyon and saw moose on the way to Bryce Canyon. It took me much longer than I had anticipated to get to Bryce, so I was only able to spend ~30 minutes there, but the views were amazing! I made the mistake of reserving my hotel on priceline.com without paying attention to which city I would be staying in. I had originally planned on spending the night in St. George, UT  -- but the hotel I booked was in Mesquite, NV (about 20 miles from St. George). It took me ~3 hours to get to the hotel from Bryce , but boy was it worth it! I stayed at the Eureka Resort & Casino.

Utah has the prettiest license plates by the way!

Me at Zion

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Day 4: Crawford, TX & Albuquerque, NM

I left Austin around 8 and headed to Crawford, TX to see George Bush's ranch... I couldn't really get close but hey at least I saw it. I then began the 11 hour drive to Albuquerque...... Looking at mapquest telling me it was going to take 11 hours was pretty frustrating ... I wish I could just time travel!

I'm pretty sure I drove through 10 rain storms, and one of the towns was flooded that I was supposed to go through! I drove through a bunch of old towns - Paducah was pretty neat - they still had a 5 & 10. It was mostly country roads, until I got to 40 West, which was relaxing, but did take a while. They don't have rabbits out here that try to cross the road ... they have big hairy black spiders and turtles. When I was by Prairie Chapel Ranch (Bush's ranch), there was a mama turtle crossing with her baby; I decided to slow down and let them cross. 

As I continued my journey west, I realized how much I appreciate cruise control and polarized sunglasses - that sun in New Mexico is bright! Right before I crossed into New Mexico, I stopped at a gas station near Amarillo. In the bathroom, they had big sheets of paper you could write where you're coming from/going to. It was really neat to read some of them! I drove on Old Rt 66 & by Cuervo (was Jose from there?).

I booked a hotel room on priceline.com for $60... it was 3 stars and had a 90% rating from visitors - the Crown Royale in Albuquerque (normally goes for $139). I went to a restaurant recommended by a local - called the "Frontier Restaurant". I'm pretty sure I saw a sign in there that said it was on "Man vs. Food".

I realized as I was driving yesterday that I forgot to write about my experience on Day 3 getting windshield washer fluid.... I was in Harlingen, TX and the alarm kept going off in my car telling me that I needed windshield washer fluid so I stopped at Auto Zone. I guy was circling the parking lot on his bike when I walked into the store and when I came out he asked me if I needed help with filling up the windshield washer fluid. I did. I had no idea how to open the hood of my car because I couldn't find the lever inside of my car that you pull to open it! He helped me find it and then insisted on filling the windshield washer fluid himself. He started to unscrew the cap on the transmission fluid and I stopped him just in the nick of time! He then was pouring it in the correct reservoir, but he had his fingers over the mouth of the bottle to keep it from spilling ... the dude had about 2 gallons of windshield washer fluid run through his fingers. I'm glad it wasn't antifreeze or something like that! Afterwards I offered him some food because I didn't have any cash to give him and at first, he refused, but as I was backing out of my spot, he changed his mind. Today (two days later), my biggest regret is giving him my cosmic brownies. Everything else I'm sure he needed/wanted ... but I really could go for one of those right about now! 

That's all for now - need to get my day started!

A sign on the post office window in Crawford, TX

My view from the hotel room last night.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Day 3: Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Mexico!, Austin

After I woke up, I left my friend Paul's and got gas at the local Kroger- they were about to change the price as soon as I pulled into the station!

I'm surprised how expensive gas has been- the lowest I saw was $3.29 but that was in Tuscaloosa-- here in Texas the lowest I've seen is $3.39 and as high as $3.75! Anyways, as I pulled into the gas station, I saw the guy at the pump next to me had Maryland tags! I wound up talking to him for a little bit and it turns out he works with my friend Paul that I had stayed with the night before-- he went to Virginia Tech and actually helped Paul get his job in Houston! What a small world.

I then headed to Corpus Christi, hitting a lot of rain on the way. Corpus Christi had a bunch of offices for banks and oil refineries (I passed quite a few on the way into town).

Once I got into town I even saw an aircraft carrier!

Here are some pelicans:

Was only in Corpus Christi for ~30 minutes and then kept heading south. I grabbed a cup of coffee on my way out of town and it was probably one of the best cups of gas station coffee I've ever had!

For lunch I stopped at "Big House BBQ" in Kingsville, TX, right by Texas A&M.

While I was there I had the tastiest brisket sandwich I have ever had (it literally melted in my mouth)-- the meat was from a farm right down the road! A handful of extremely good looking cowboys walked, which made me almost choke on my food. What's up with all of the dreamy guys being this far south?? ;)

After lunch, I continued south to Harlingen, which is a town right on the border of Texas/Mexico. On the way, I passed lots of RV parks and a lot of ranches. There was about a 70 mile stretch of nothing- no gas stations, no nothing. Glad I had music & snacks to keep things exciting!!

One of my professors at Maryland used to live in Harlingen, which is why I visited. I did a lot of research on immigration in college and have always wanted to visit a border town. It was pretty eye opening to say the least. 75 miles outside of the border, Border Patrol had a ton of cameras set up on the road. After that, I realized how unsafe it was. The town itself was pretty sizable city- but the homes were almost identical to those I saw in the Dominican Republic. It's amazing how much poverty there is here in the US! Harlingen has the lowest cost of living of anywhere in the US, too. It's quite the contrast to posh Howard County.

Once I got to Harlingen, I stopped by Auto Zone to pick up windshield washer fluid because when I got my oil changed last week, the dingeses completely "forgot" to top off the windshield washer fluid. Thanks Apple Ford....

I was talking with the cashier at AutoZone and he told me to go across to Mexico at the International Footbridge in Progreso that goes over the Rio Grande River, which was one of the most safe places on the US/Mexico border for Americans. Off I went- paid $2 to park, and $1 round trip to leave and return to the US! There was an older guy with his grandson that I ran into that goes over to Mexico to get manicures and his teeth cleaned-- he bought me a Corona and I bought I dress!

I was in Mexico for 30 minutes max and then headed back over the bridge with my passport !

Then off to Austin.... I hit a ton of rain on the way up North through Texas.

I hit 10,000 miles on my car on the way to Austin and also went to the bathroom in the most disgusting bathroom at a gas station I have ever been to in my entire life! Cops were pulling people over, asking to see their papers and I even had to go through a Border Patrol checkpoint ! At least they had cute dogs!

I got into Austin around 9pm and had the most delicious tacos and one strong margarita! We stopped by the turtle pond on UT Austin's campus afterwards. Boy there are good looking guys here!! Do I have to leave???

Heading west today! Goal is to be in Albuquerque tonight!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Leon St,Austin,United States

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Day 2: Birmingham, New Orleans, and Houston

I left Nashville bright and early and was in Alabama within an hour. I stopped by Birmingham to see the house my dad was born in. Here it is:

Then I stopped by a coffee shop named "Octane" where I got the best cup of coffee I have ever had-- they even roast their coffee right there in the store! Then I left and headed west. As you probably remember, I wasn't 100% if I was going to go through Little Rock or New Orleans on my way to Houston when I first left my house.... But I wound up deciding to go to NOLA.
As I drove through Alabama & Mississippi I passed a Mercedes Benz plant, gas for $3.29, and lots of trucks! I even got gas at a gas station that sells crickets...
During the drive yesterday I realized how thankful I am I have the endurance of a bus driver and a marathoner. I was driving for close to 14 hours yesterday and wasn't even that tired once I got to Houston. Of course eating healthy, staying hydrated, and talking to people makes the difference!
I was in New Orleans for MAYBE 30 minutes and was able to have gumbo & beignets(sp?).

Once I left NOLA I hit torrential downpours & traffic jams. I didn't stop between NOLA and Houston. As soon as I crossed over into Texas it was very flat! (Cue the song "Wide Open Spaces" by the Dixie Chicks).

I think when I got to Kentucky & Tennessee I realized how far I was from home based on the license plates I saw. I'm in Houston now and have seen 3 Maryland license plates (only counting once I left West Virginia). It's also interesting to see how each state has similar cities.... Like Roanoke, LA... Roanoke, VA, and Roanoke, NC. There was also an exit for Clarksville, TN and I thought I was back home! Iowa, LA was probably the worst--- was I in Iowa or Louisiana? It can get very confusing if you've been driving all day! Way to go for originality, states.
I spent the night in Houston last night-- reminds me of a mixture of Phoenix & Cleveland. Heading south today--- then will head west tomorrow!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Givens St,Houston,United States

Monday, July 15, 2013

Day 1: Western MD, WVA, Kentucky, Tennessee

Saturday night I was so tired I wound up going to bed without being anywhere close to being finished packing. This past week has been exhausting! I woke up early Sunday morning, finished packing, packed my car, and hit the road (I left at about 7:30am).
Instead of taking 81 south, I drove all the way through Western Maryland and then straight down West Virginia & Kentucky to Tennessee. The drive through Western Maryland was beautiful - I'm sure the colors in the fall would make it spectacular! I've never been as far west in Maryland as I was, so it was cool to drive through Frostburg and by the exit for Deep Creek.
Once I left MD, I began the seemingly never-ending drive through West Virginia. If you draw a line from the top of West Virginia to the bottom of it that's where I drove... And boy was it hilly! I did pass a car with a bumper sticker that said "hell yeah I'm a redneck" and also saw a tractor in the median of the highway broken down and it looked like it had been there since they first discovered WVA. I also had never been as far west in West Virginia as I was-- it was weird driving past lean-to shacks in Appalachia. I did see van loads of kids from a youth group in Ohio or Connecticut heading to a work camp there -- wish we had a work camp there when I was in high school! Anyways, I decided to stop in Charleston, WV for a light lunch. I found the "Bluegrass Cafe" on yelp! and got a spinach salad -- everything on it was from local farms and it was DELICIOUS.

Once I got back on the road, I continued towards Nashville. Thank you to everyone who gave me snacks- the drive was much more bearable because all I did was eat for 11 hours! I did realize the crunchier something was, the more awake I was, so all of those crunchy snacks are pretty much gone... Ha!
I know Kentucky has some beautiful farmland but seriously as I was driving I felt like it was almost a waste of space -- I guess I'm in for a rude awakening the further west I go! Kentucky also has an interesting way of doing road construction-- there were a few times where they had road signs saying "road construction ahead" and there were a bunch of cones set up but no road construction. There were cones making the highway one lane for almost 10 miles at one point... But no construction.... No construction equipment was even to be seen. It was kind of frustrating but I can't really complain that much because at least people driving on those roads know how to drive with cones on the road... Not like your average Maryland driver.
I saw signs for Lincoln's homestead when I was in Springfield, KY, so I made a pitstop there off of the Blue Grass Parkway.

Then I ran into some rain:

...And Brad Paisley's trailer!!

I made a total of 4 or 5 stops yesterday and was on the road for 13 hours. I only stopped for coffee once (and it was Dunkin Donuts coffee!). If you're a techy person, check out Waze and Songza--- make road trips much more bearable, as long as you have service!
I got to Nashville around 7:30 pm their time, 8:30pm EST. I stayed with Chelsea Gough, a girl I went to Mount de Sales with who has an internship at the Grand Ole Opry Hotel. We went to the "Pharmacy" for dinner -- great burgers and beer! We went to bed early from our food babies :).

Well, today I'm off to Houston... Still trying to decide if I'm going to go through Arkansas or down through Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Probably going to be the latter.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Crystal Spring Ln,Nashville,United States


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