Why I Took the Train Cross Country from NYC to LA

If you have to ask why, you won’t “get” it.

Back in April I took a cross country road trip from the NYC/NJ area to West Los Angeles, CA. I was met with countless confused faces.

Why not fly?

Are you driving alone?

What happens if your car breaks down?

Girl, you’re crazy!

These fear first responses annoyed me more than you can imagine. I put my piss poor poker face, smiled and said “why not.” What I really wanted to say was STFU. I drove cross country because I needed an adventure. It’s as simple as that…or is it?

There’s nothing exciting about depression and self-doubt.

There’s nothing glamorous about having no clear direction for pursuing your life’s purpose especially among people who are comfortable living a conformist life.

All I kept thinking about was “why on earth would I allow people who are content with living small tell me how to live a bigger life?” Instead of looking at all the amazing “what if’s” they focused on the downside, the glass is half full and if you step outside of your box then you’re going to empty the glass altogether.

I’m ok with that. The funny thing about an empty glass is that you get to refill it. When you’re parched and stuck with a glass full of Kool-aid which tastes like crap, the only way to replenish your thirst is by throwing out the shitty Kool-aid and filling it up with something else – green smoothie, water or Vodka. This was in Spring of 2013.

Fast forward to September 2013, the month that changed everything. Sitting at my laptop, I remember the moment when my brain clicked and said “that’s it.” In the few days that followed I charted a journey that would not only redefine who I wanted to be but it would re-invent who I’m capable of being. A few calls, text messages and Facebook DMs here and there, and voila – I’m staying in Los Angeles, CA in 2 weeks, for a month.

Talk about impulsive!

I used to be impulsive. This trait is a double edged sword which can be both a positive and negative attribute to have. Over the past few years, I’ve neglected my impulsive nature and because of that my life has been void of adventures. Reacquainting myself with that carefree attitude gave me the oomph I needed to reconnected with my inner fearless self.

So there I was: impulsive, carefree and fearless.

I want to say that I didn’t recognize this person but that would be a lie. I knew her, way back when I was in my 20s – a time that feels like lifetimes ago.

She was optimistic, ambitious and a go-getter.

She didn’t allow insecurities to get in her way.

She stepped out of her own way in order to get ahead.

She was something to marvel at. I miss her. She got things done. Now here I stand, envious of my former self wondering how do I return back to me.

How do I get back to the person that was fearless in her ambition?

How do I reconnect with the go-getter who knows how to get things done?

So many questions to answer and reflect on.

So there I was, standing in the middle of New York’s Penn Station, waiting for my train to arrive. This time around I was able to ignore the “what are you doing” chatter.

Why are you taking the train?

How are you going to take a shower?

What if someone takes your stuff?

I shrugged and brushed it off. I wanted to say “what if you just shut up and go back to living your boring small life?” Instead I said nothing. My journey is my own and I’m remembering that. I owe no one any justification or answers. I only owe myself the opportunity to take an adventure whenever I have the chance.

You don’t get more adventurous than 3 days on a train.

From NYC to the Appalachian mountains where I got attacked over and over again by the mountain mosquitoes. – 2 weeks later and I still have scars.

From darkness to the colorful city of Chicago where I met up with a long time Facebook friend.

From meeting a Jesus freak gold digger to walking a mile in Albuquerque, NM in search of a Starbucks.

From watching your laptop die before your eyes to reading the book that mysteriously showed up in your co-working mailbox months back – The $100 Startup is a must read.

From watching the sun rising from the east to smelling the LA air at arrival.

Why did I take the train cross country?

Where else would you get 3 days to sit with yourself, talking about past, present and future goals?

When else can you stop time and feel the earth rattling underneath your feet while watching the landscape change right before your eyes?

How else can you understand the power of reconnecting with yourself without the distractions of every day life?

I took the train because I needed an adventure. I took the train because I wanted to experience the adventure in a way that I won’t easily forget. Memories fade when they’re not memorable. I wanted to remember why such a drastic change was in order for my life.

Being impulsive reminded me to leap without a net.

Being fearless reminded me to live without inhibitions.

Being crazy reminded me to love the journey of life.

When was the last time you felt that on a 6 hour plane ride?