“This is an adventure. There are no stops.” –Train Boy, “Wendy”
I spent my entire childhood and early adult years roaming across the southwest U.S. from California to Louisiana. I knew better than to think the world ended at the corner of my South Central L.A. block. Before I was 13 I’d been to Las Vegas, throwing out my arms at being on top of the world each time I climbed up to the roofs of its greatest casinos. I’d been to the Grand Canyon, marveling at the immense majestic caverns and cliffs. I’d seen the amazing colors of the Painted Desert, gazed wide-eyed at the breathtaking size of the trees of the Redwood Forest, held my breath while eyeing with trepidation the drop-off alongside the road to Lake Tahoe. I’d stared open-mouthed at the mind-blowing views from the window of an Amtrak hurtling through the mountains of Colorado. I didn’t realize or fully appreciate at the time just how fortunate I was to have seen these things first-hand.
And I didn’t just observe; I indulged. I hopped cargo trains by the state line in Texarkana, Texas as they ambled by, jumping off just before reaching Arkansas and catching another one or walking back home. I’d crossed the border from California into Mexico just to go shopping long before passports were necessary. I grew up on California beaches, skipping school and ducking off to Venice, Santa Monica, and Manhattan when the thought of escaping to the ocean and the little voice calling me to it got to be too loud to resist.
It’s that same voice that has called me relentlessly my entire life. I set out to see my home country first. I’ve traveled to all of the 49 contiguous United States I actually want to visit. I’ve also visited Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and I’m visiting Hawaii in July while Alaska remains on my bucket list.
Until 2020, I was off on a trip every other month: Puerto Rico, Vieques, Aruba (twice), Grand Bahamas, Freeport, Eleuthera, Puerto Vallarta, St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John, Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, Cooper Island, Scrub Island, Tulum, Cancun, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen (three times), Los Cabos, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras–I hopped Caribbean islands and Central America like I was playing hopscotch. While my sons were young, I never ventured further than a six hours’ flight away. I told myself I’d save the faraway places for my empty nester days.
And now those days are here! The time has finally come for me to leave the comforts of home and wander the globe as a digital nomad, to see wherever my heart calls me to go. I want the kind of adventure where there are no stops, no requirements for me to be anywhere but where I want to be. In three months, my journey begins, but the real planning starts now.