Last week when a good friend said he was planning to make the drive along the California coast from LA to San Francisco, my ears perked up. Newly unemployed and without any schedule to speak of, I quickly checked flights, found an SLC > LAX > SFO > SLC loop and booked my way to the west coast.
Jumping on a plane 5 days before jumping on a plane probably sounds crazy – shouldn’t I be prepping and packing and panicking? Yes, probably. But the drive up Highway 1 is breathtaking, and the company wasn’t too shabby either, so I went for it.
Yesterday, I found myself in the heart of San Francisco with a plan-free day ahead of me – nothing to do but be a part of the scene. It turned into a pretty great reminder of what traveling on my own is going to be like when I’m halfway around the world. I had an app to reference (downloadable TripAdvisor city guides – highly recommend!), a sense of direction and more importantly, a sense of adventure.
Granted, wandering the “mean streets” of SF in the middle of a weekday pales in comparison to finding my way around the bustling New Delhi city center. I realize this. Regardless, the day did me good.
The night did, too. I love that I am at a point in my life that my network includes friends, coworkers and contacts all over the country. In town for one night, I was able to get in touch with a former coworker now based in the Bay. We met for cocktails at probably the coolest place I’ve ever had drinks, and quickly our little get together blossomed into friends of friends and more coworkers and we were out till midnight on a school night.
Traveling back to SLC was a bit much – the cheapest flight I could find took me over Utah to Denver, where I had to hop on a second plane to backtrack back over the mountains. I left SF (begrudgingly!) around 9a and got home around the time I’d be coming home from a regular workday (if I were working regular workdays these days).
So while I should’ve been packing and prepping and all for the last few days, I gladly took a spontaneous detour. I’ll have to cram all the panicking in to Wednesday and Thursday. Because Friday, I fly!