After saying yes to the 12+-hour road trip from San Francisco to Seattle, I tried to forget about it. I knew some specifics, like what time to get up on Friday morning and who else might be in the car, but that was about it. As with most things in life, no expectation is better than any expectation (or dread).
So it's 6:30am and already we're a bit late. My friend and I had had the same conundrum -- pack now or wake up early and pack in the AM? We both picked the first option, but still had some running around to do after we pushed our snooze buttons one too many times. A stop at the Cal Train station to pick up the two unknowns and we're off.
At first I'm just tired. I'm tired and need coffee but I don't want to drink coffee because I don't want to be the one continually asking to stop for a restroom. The city in the early hours is breathtaking, and every time I am up before the sun I wonder why I am not always up before the sun. I take my few minutes of silence to collect myself, force my tiredness to evaporate, and by the time we are going over the golden gate bridge I'm deep in conversation with the rest of the car; we are all already friends.
Turns out, I am clearly not the only late-20-something-year-old figuring things out in this bunch. Nor am I the only close-to-30-year-old that has learned to not worry so much and live the life. If I've learned anything, it's that most individuals are all pretty similar, we just approach things differently.
We talk about our dreams and aspirations, most of which we are actually all already working on, interviewing for, or at the very least thinking about. We debate the need to let go and let it all happen, while still staying passionately and presently involved. We share our own individual decisions to take a certain job and create our own careers. We reflect on the ways in which our lives have turned here and there and then come back around again. We share our thoughts about things that are important to us: family, friends, travel, ethical investment, volunteer, creating community, team-building, independence, self-improvement, love.
The trip takes about 14 hours. A stop at Trader Joe's, a confusing interaction at a Starbucks drive thru (we certainly don't frequent these in SF), a leisurely lunch at the Weed's rest stop, an exciting gas station encounter in Oregon--making me seriously consider a move to enjoy a lifetime free of gas pumping. We're speeding through the pacific northwest, an area so beautiful I can't stop gushing.
It's possibly the longest conversation I've ever been in, touching on so many things, some of which I'll only later remember. We have some pauses of silence, some recollection of our thoughts, and then it continues. I'm not sure if it's us, or our generation, or just the kind of environment we've been around as of late, but we clearly all have so much to share and learn from each other. It's nice to be around people that have learned to listen, that are able to share.
And then it's over. We drop one person off in Portland, sing songs over the Columbia river, and dive into Seattle. A stop in the International district to drop off another person, and then it's really done. A full day of driving and I enjoyed every second of it.
It's rare to get into the car with three people, two of whom I didn't previously know, and not get annoyed, crabby, or sick (of them). Or maybe it's normal, we just get stuck in bad habits with the people we do know. I remember family car trips, where I was either off in my own world reading non-stop, annoyed with my sister, or hungry or tired or bored. Most trips start with all this attachment--to people, things or a desire for some kind of experience. This trip wasn't like that at all. We all got into close corners and opened up. We accepted the reality of being stuck in a car for a long time, and then enjoyed the ride. We learned to be patient, listen to ourselves and each other, even though we all just wanted to blast our ideas and thoughts throughout the car. It was a safe space.
Then, one by one, we got out and continued the trip through our own lives, driving ourselves to our own destinations, accepting the blurry reality of life.
A playlist for your trip to Seattle: Macklemore - The Town U.S.E - Emerald City Robyn Hitchcock - Viva! Sea Tac Macklemore - Claiming The City (ft. Abyssinian Creole) The Smithereens - Sick Of Seattle Macklemore and Ryan Lewis - My Oh My Tocotronic – Wir sind hier nicht in Seattle, Dirk The Hot Toddies - Seattle The Postal Service - This Place Is A Prison The Young Fresh Fellows - Aurora Bridge Macklemore - City Dont Sleep Perry Como - Seattle Boom Bap Project - Welcome to Seattle