My mother thought I was legitimately crazy. I believe her word-for-word verbage was, “You’re not actually leaving are you? You don’t even have a job yet…” I’m assuming that the thought of me moving to Denver went something like this (scene from Tommy Boy) in her head:
At this point, I had just been laid off from a purchasing job downtown (Chicago) and was currently working as a server. So I figured this was my moment – I decided that I was going to go BEYOND the pencil skirt, I was going to move to Denver.
Hannah Horvath once said (in Season 1, after her parents had just broken the news to her that she was being cut off financially):
“I have work and then I have a dinner thing, and then I am BUSY…trying to become who I am.”
LIKE, HELLO! STORY OF MY LIFE OVER HERE! I remember laughing out loud the first time I saw this because it reminded me of something that I would say to my own mother. My father, a man of few words, shed some positive light onto any hesitation that I had about moving and said “I think you have balls.” BALLS! I mean, balls are good right? Balls will get me to Denver, YEE-HAW! To this day, I believe that his comment got me into my Jeep the next day (and eventually, to Denver).
Now, if you’ve never jumped into a car with only the clothes on your back (and in your back seat and trunk and literally in every crevice of your vehicle – sorry I’m not sorry, I love clothes), your little brother in the front seat and a little over $1000 to your name, with the intention of driving out into the great unknown – LET ME TELL YOU – It. Is. Terrifying!!!! AND really, really exciting…In other words, I was shitting my pants.
I look back on this experience and think about how much I’ve learned since then. It has definitely been one hell of a rollercoaster ride. So, in the midst of trying to decide what to eat for dinner last night and mentally running through the list of items in my fridge (hot sauce…beer…cheese, you know – staple items), I got to thinking about that little roadie across the heartland. Also, just in case you were seriously concerned that I would actually miss a meal, after much deliberation I ended up deciding on a microwaved turkey burger smothered in green chili and salsa. Super healthy, I know. Whilst eating, I thought about the chain of events over that 2-day period and created a little list full of tips/reminders for any future adventures. So, should you choose to embark on a nomadic adventure across the United States or anywhere really, you will be fully prepared for anything that comes at you. Well, almost anything…
Wayward to the Wise:
- It would behoove you to double-check, no, TRIPLE-check your air conditioning system (and hell, all systems) before voyaging across the United States via automobile, because when you’re driving for 5 hours in 95 degrees of moist, Midwest heat, through vast and empty spaces – it gets really, really hot. And you (and your brother) get really, REALLY cranky.
- Under NO circumstances should you stop in Des Moines, IA to party the night away when you have plans to finish up the last leg of your trip, or a 10 hour drive to Colorado, the next morning.
- If by some chance, you happen to get stuck in the Hawkeye state mid-road trip, try not to let your (underage) little brother make out with a 40-year-old MILF in a Des Moines townie bar when you’re not paying attention. Unless you’re on an MTV reality show, chances are this is mostly likely frowned upon by your parents, society and/or the MILF’s children. (Sidenote: We were not on an MTV reality show.)
- DEFINITELY confirm that the friend whose apartment you think you’re crashing at for the next 13 days (in whichever new city you’re trying to get to), actually knows that you’re coming and is fully aware that you are indeed, planning on staying with them for the next 13 days. Even if you thought that this was communicated prior, it’s best to triple-check (I have learned this from experience, sorry Shawnna!).
- Always remember that if you stay persistent, things have a way of working themselves out (even if that means apartment hopping around Denver for the first month and a half that you’re there). You will find that there are good, kind-hearted people out there in this world, ready and willing to help you out. When you encounter this, make sure to thank them (I favor alcohol-related gifts, such as craft beer) and your faith in humanity will be restored.
- Buy an air mattress (might I even suggest a double-decker one that will keep your ass from sinking to the floor) immediately upon arrival. This will most likely be your bed for the next 4 months and it will definitely be some of the best money you’ve ever spent.
- Talk to your best friends ON THE REGULAR. Daily, if possible. Whether they live in Chicago or Washington, D.C., New York or Des Moines, these are the friends that will get you through the sometimes stressful transition of moving to a new place. They will help you network, chat about career moves, give dating advice and above all things – keep you afloat through those rough patches.
Obviously, there will be ups, downs, bad decisions (we ARE human after all and most of us love Tequila) and good ones, but, crazy, life-changing moves are awesome and I highly recommend taking one (or 5). Most importantly, you will learn a lot about yourself and everything that you are capable of – as all adventurous women do.
*Special thank you to Sara Burke for a little creative inspiration