“Baby, I have an idea”, he said (He always has ideas. Sometimes they are good ones and most times they are crazy ones, but fun nonetheless. How could this idea possibly be any different). Not knowing what I was getting myself into I said, “What’s your idea love?” With a serious face, yet exciting voice he replied “Baby, what do you think about hitchhiking to California?”
As I stared at him dumbfounded, my mind was screaming things like: “WHAT!!! Come again. He is fucking losing his mind. This must be a joke. Yup, he’s crazy, where did he get this idea from ? How did we even get to this point?”
It started off with a simple question, what’s next?
My year of national volunteer service was soon coming to an end, and Ben was about to graduate. I finally came to the decision to get my MSW instead of continuing my path to be a pediatrician and Ben wanted to further his education at a design school that would truly challenge him.
So, the hunt was on.
In our search for schools, three locations came up. New York, California, and Florida. New York was quickly eliminated because we wanted to live in another state and we were completely over winters and being cold. (Hot weather year-round is a must especially since our last winter in NYC was a cruel one). Florida soon followed because though living there would be cheaper, and it was hot year around, it didn’t have much design opportunity.
Just like that Cali won. (Funny thing, neither Ben nor myself have ever been to Cali before.)
We had planned on just moving there without visiting. But when we found the schools we wanted to attend; it called for the perfect reason to get on a plane and visit our future home.
Ben found the Art Center for Design and I found the University of Southern California USC, both school were top schools for our chosen profession but we had a problem.
The schools were freaking expensive, and we didn’t have the money (somehow money always plays the culprit).
Then our mind pondered on ways we could make our tuition cheaper. Scholarships would not cover much and our savings was probably just enough to provide us with 6 months worth of rent. Then we thought, maybe we should become residents there first, that way we could get instate tuition, which is way cheaper.
So, the plan now was to live in Cali for 1 year and work before we go to school. I would work somewhere with kids that would make my resume look sexier and in the meantime, Ben would work for a company that would build his portfolio and enhance his design skills.
Soon our plans went up in flames, for yet again another question.
A few months after making the decision to wait, we started to question whether we should go to school after that one year. What was the rush? School would always be there and experience would make us better candidates anyway.
We also figured that we are young and should live life a little before we got trapped in the life that society has constructed and force us to live. (We all know the life)
However, even with all the questioning, Cali was still in play.
Only that the plan changed to something like: Go to Cali for two years or until we get financial freedom and then from there we would travel the world. We would work to pay off our loans, which were the only things that were really holding us back from traveling.
All of this planning was happening in a matter of 6 months, July ’13 to Dec ’13, and no matter how the plans changed, our month of departure was August 2014. (We knew if we pushed back the date, that would mean holding it off and eventually not going at all)
When December came around, we still hadn’t bought tickets to Cali, though we knew that no matter what Cali was still the destination. (I know your probably thinking when the hell does hitchhiking come into play….well, guess what, the wait is finally over.)
Hitchhiking the USA
Now, Ben and I never planned on hitchhiking. It never even crossed our minds until New Year’s Eve.
Right before we were getting ready to leave to go to my Aunty’s house to celebrate the New Year, Ben ask me what I thought about hitchhiking to California. (He got this crazy idea after watching “Into the Wild”, which is a good movie. I recommend it if you need some motivation to travel)
Like most, my first thought was that he was crazy and it wasn’t safe (I mean had he not watch any horror movies) but just as quick as those negative images I saw in movies/media flashed through my head (this was way before I saw Into the Wild, or any movie that portrayed hitchhiking as a good or fun thing) was just as quick as I dabbled with the idea that maybe hitchhiking could be fun, or at least a hell of an experience.
I looked at him and responded, “let’s do it”. Not believing the words that came out of my mouth, I knew that statement came with both excitement and fear.
Meanwhile, Ben was super pumped. I am pretty sure he was jumping and screaming on the inside.
But it’s crazy how we got to this point, our plan changed several times, evolving and getting more exciting each time. Our plan was not detailed, we didn’t have an apartment line up or a job. We was just going to “wing it”, which is crazy because the both of us are control freaks and love planning (plus we figured because we were so awesome that when we would got there, jobs would be lining up to hire us… yeah right, just joking).
I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason.
It’s interesting because if we did have an apartment and jobs lined up, the idea of hitchhiking the USA would have never came to mind. We would have been stuck slaving away trying to pay back Uncle Sam.
Questions, Questions, oh and more Questions
The same thing that got us to change our mind about school was the same thing that made us cross Cali off our plans.
You guessed it, questions. We began to question even more.
If we move to Cali, what will really changes?
How would it be different from what we are doing in NY?
Why are we putting off traveling?
What if something happen and we don’t get to travel after 2 years?
Why can’t we pay our loans as we go?
Why would we even tease ourselves with an adventure like hitchhiking and then go back to the regular life. Could we even go back after getting a taste of how it should be ?
The answers lead us to say, FUCK IT, LET’S DO IT NOW!!!
School, loans, and the 9-5 job could wait. We are young and should strive to live life to the fullest, and do the things that make us happy, and working to retirement wasn’t it.
Since Ben and I have only travel some states along the east coast, we decided to see what else the USA had to offer. And since we were already excited about hitchhiking we figured why not hitchhike the USA. Just like that we gave birth to our first real adventure together.
It’s funny how things pan out, we went from thinking about school to doing something a hundred times different, hitchhiking.
Our plans changed several times and we were okay with it. We were fine with it mainly because we kept an open mind to each other ideas and the possibility that something awesome could happen.
When we plan something down to the core, we are more likely to miss out on those spontaneous and exciting moments, because we won’t do anything else but what’s on the plan. And because of that, we’re less likely to seize an adventurous opportunity even if it is slapping us in the face.We must be more willing to adapt our plans or ways of doing things in response to new opportunities, and new knowledge.
Plans never work out the way they are suppose too, so why not keep and open mind and be spontaneous.
“If we’re open to new ideas, and we welcome the chance for our ideas and goals to constantly evolve based upon new experiences we have in life and new information we receive or learn, it would only be natural that our plans should change often as well.” -Wandering Earl
That is exactly why, Ben and I are not planning every single route on our hitchhiking tour around the USA. We do hope to visit some states we always wanted to go to. Though we have a start date, we have no scheduled time to be anywhere (though we plan on following the warm weather), no place that we absolutely have to visit, and most of all no end date. If something comes along, I wouldn’t be surprise if we change our plans again.
Have you ever had something that didn’t go according to plan, but somehow you enjoyed it more than the plan itself ? If so share it with us, we would love to hear your stories.