Wednesday, May 13, 2009

6714 miles

the number of miles i want to travel in the search for something. i don't know what i'm looking for yet, but i haven't found it to this point. i do know that i want to see as much as possible. and i do know that i've been looking around here, and it's nowhere to be found. i don't know if someone's going to show it to me, or if i'm going to have to get there and find it myself, but i figure i should probably start looking somewhere else.

when will the trip happen? who knows. maybe right after grad school. maybe during grad school. hell, maybe tomorrow. i do know that i'm sick of waiting. i've been talking seriously about the pacific northwest for about a year. the first thought of it came when i looked at programs at gonzaga, wsu, and uw for teaching when i was a senior in college two years ago. i've wanted to go back to the grand canyon since i first set foot in it. and i've wanted to camp at the bottom since donald miller explained his own expedition. and who hasn't cosidered california? there's just something about the ocean.

there's also something about leaving home and everything you're comfortable with. i sorta did that two summers ago when i went to ocean city for the cco's beach project. but let's face it, a summer on the east coast with expenses covered by generous supporters living in a house of Christian leaders is not exactly unsafe. things have just become so routine and unadventurous here at home that the monotony is making me search for a change. i'm going to grad school at pitt in the fall, so i'm here for two years. and i'm excited about finishing my education at the school i love. but afterward, something's got to give.

i talk to friends who are in new places. some love their new locations, some are still getting their feet wet, and some don't seem to be interested in getting too comfortable. but at least they're trying. i've taken the easy way out a lot. going to school in pittsburgh, living at home the past year, applying to pitt for grad school. i love pittsburgh and i look forward to the opportunity to be there again. but before i decide that this is where i'm settling i've got to try something new. that's where the roadtrip comes in.

i think donald miller has been responsible for a lot of road trips. "through painted deserts" paints a picture of he and his friend driving in a VW van from houston to seattle. they have no agenda and haven't planned much about what happens when they get to where they're going. that's a life that i haven't lived. like taking back sunday speaks to me, "you are everything i want because you're everything i'm not." i want the freedom of having no agenda, nothing to see and nowhere to go with no timetable. get there when i get there. see whatever i feel like seeing.

so google tells me its 6714 miles for a trip that starts in pittsburgh, goes through st louis, hits the grand canyon, passes through san diego, los angeles, and san francisco, rocks up through portland (hippienation) and seattle (hipsternation) before ending in vancouver, hitting minneapolis and chicago on the way home. that'd almost cover it all for me. i came close to committing some time to seattle, so i want to know if i really should. and portland is where my favorite aforementioned author has written the stuff that's changed my life. and la is where my job as an advisor at usc by day, surfer by night, would come to fruition.

maybe i settle in pittsburgh ultimately. in fact, i'd be surprised if i didn't. but i'm 24 and i've got nothing to do but play guitar, so why would i want to keep doing that here when there's so many other places? and who knows, maybe i'll find what i'm looking for on the way.


  1. Yosemite National Park in the spring. You will find it there. Promise.

  2. Hey man,
    Ryan Tipton and I, along with some others are planning a road trip out to Portland/Seattle/Vancouver this summer and we're taking a route that sounds pretty similar to what your talking about.
    I read Through Painted Deserts too and found it pretty inspiring. Anyway, let me know if your interested and I'll share more of what we're thinking.
    Looks like you've been wrestling with a lot this year. Hope this summer affords some rest for you in the midst of your process.