Archive for February, 2008

Road Trip Reflections

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

Here’s a snapshot of my entire 3,835 Mile trip.

View Larger Map

Google Maps are cool. Don’t be afraid to click on that “View Larger Map” link to get the full effect of my trek.


Each post on the trip seemed to unfold with a chronological recounting of the events of each leg of my trip. I still think that’s probably the best way to convey things as they happened, but there were a lot of bigger picture themes to the trip that need addressing. Now that the whole trip is in hindsight, hopefully these reflections will be 20/20 in their clarity.

All By Myself

This is the first trip I’ve ever taken by myself, and at the outset it wouldn’t have been my first choice. In the end though, I’m really glad I couldn’t find anyone to go with me. I had such a good experience and it would have been so different if I hadn’t been alone. Don’t get me wrong, I would have really enjoyed it with company. It just would have been a very different trip and a different type of adventure.

This trip taught me that the world (or at least the US) can actually be a pretty friendly place if you’re traveling alone. I struck up a lot of conversations with both fellow travelers and locals at each place I visited. I also made some new friends that were very kind and willing to show a stranger around their hometown. I hope that I can use this experience to remember to chat up locals whenever I travel, but I fear that when I’m back to traveling with company my social perspective will shrink again.

Domestic Vacation

Before this trip I was in a mindset that my time off from work would likely only consist of two types: long weekends to visit friends who lived in other parts of the country (or who were getting married), and “proper” vacations which would likely only take place at a ski resort or somewhere out of the the country. Sounds pretty snobby now that I re-read it, but I think it was true. This trip taught me that exploring the US is a great use for a vacation. It is definitely worth “spending” your vacation days to do. I will find time take a vacation to the grand canyon to spend some proper time there, and I’d also like to spend more time in Memphis and New Orleans. Who knows what other spots in the country are so deserving – I’ll have to do more exploring.

How much you can do with a day

A big part of why I bothered to document the trip in the blog was so that I would reflect on and savor the experiences. I also like thinking that I’ll have a record of the trip to look back on. And if anyone out there is actually reading this, that’s a nice bonus too.

The blogging took a LONG time, partly because the pictures take a long time to format, but mostly because I did a lot of stuff every day. I created a lot of memories on that 15 day trek across the country. Whenever I have an experience like that – where the days are so full – it makes me realize that there’s no reason I shouldn’t be getting that much out of every day. That may not be an achievable goal, but it seems like a good one to shoot for.

What’s Next?

At this point I’m not sure what else I will have to write about here. Sure, there’s plenty of adventure to be had in Atlanta – finding a job, finding a place to live, starting a band, getting un-single. I guess I’ll post a little update as I make progress on each of those (except the last one), but blogging (even in mediocrity) takes a long time.

Still, it seems like there are still a handful of people checking out the site every day. I’ll be curious to see if they disappear now that my road trip is done. If the visitors don’t dry up, I’ll keep trying to find something to write about occasionally. I’m going to see Regina Spektor in a week, so you’ll probably get a review of that.

thanks for reading.

10 Things I’m looking forward to about Atlanta

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

A Disclaimer: I’ve kind of cheated on this one. I started this draft about a month ago, but I’ve now been back in Atlanta for a few day and that’s helped me flesh out the list. I created the post to make me feel better about 10 things I’ll miss about San Francisco.

1) Fewer Pedestrians – I admit I’ve played both sides of this argument. I’m sad I’ll be walking less, but when I am driving it’s much nicer when there aren’t so many pedestrians to get in the way. Atlanta is a car town. When I was in Atlanta over Christmas I did notice that the joggers like to jog at night and they jog a little recklessly, but I think I can handle it.

2) Sweet Tea! – I simply don’t understand why the rest of the country hasn’t caught on to how great this beverage is. I also won’t miss non-southern waiters & waitresses saying “no we have unsweetened tea and there’s the sugar.” Like it’s the same!?!! I also look forward to pronouncing it “sweet tay.”

3) Lake Burton – Sure, it’s not technically Atlanta. It’s really in Clayton, GA which is about 2 hours away, but that’s a lot closer to Atlanta than it is to San Francisco. Lake Burton is probably my favorite place to chill out. I’m really looking forward to being able to make weekend trips up there regularly (as opposed to twice a year like I’ve been doing for the past eight years).

4) Four Distinct Seasons – I really liked the weather in San Francisco, but there were really only two seasons – nice weather season and rainy season. There’s nothing wrong with those two seasons, but four is twice as many seasons (mathematically speaking). I’m looking forward to seeing the leaves change, then later breaking a sweat the second I walk out the door, then later watching the leaves fall, then later wondering if there will be snow this year. I think those changes are therapeutic – each change helps you appreciate the others, and I’m looking forward to living with them again.

5) Thunder Storms – Maybe this is related to the four seasons, but it took me a while to realize that there are never thunder storms in San Francisco. When I occasionally experienced on when I was in another part of the country I realized that I really like them and had missed them. I’m looking forward to having more thunder storms here (especially since we need them with the drought). I also MUCH prefer thunder storms to earthquakes!

6) A Band – I’m really looking forward to either starting a band or joining a band in Atlanta. I used to be in a band in New York, and some of my fondest memories come from those days. I miss it terribly – damn those graduate school acceptances that broke up our band! Sure, you can say I could have started a band in San Francisco. I tried it briefly and it just didn’t pan out. I don’t have a great reason about why I didn’t try again, except that maybe in the back of my mind I always felt San Francisco was a temporary stop for me. I foresee a lot of procrastination about this one, but now that I’ve stated it semi-publicly hopefully that will be more motivation to make it happen.

7) A Dog (maybe) – I don’t think there’s much chance I will get a dog immediately in Atlanta, but Atlanta is a much more reasonable city to have a dog than San Francisco or Chicago or New York. It’s nice to know it’s a possibility. I’m actually slightly allergic to most dogs, but I still love them. I grew up with dogs, so I’m sure I could just get acclimated to having a dog, right? Here’s some gratuitous picture of the dogs that have been in my family:


Whit and Missy

Sugar’s first day home:

sugar puppy

My sister’s dog Belle (who I often accidentally call “Sugar”):

Belle in a box

8 ) Huge Grocery Stores – This is something that I definitely took for granted when I lived in Atlanta before, and I forgot about until I got back. The grocery stores have like twice as much stuff!! I’m a guy who has to go down every aisle every time I go to the grocery store, and Atlanta has so much more excitement on every aisle!

9)Old Friends – I’ve been very fortunate to make good new friends everywhere I’ve lived.  It makes me feel so good to know that now I can travel so many places in this country and have someone to grab a beer with when I’m there. Still, there is no substitute for old friends – the people who knew you before you had a job. The people who knew you when the only thing you were trying to be was yourself. A lot of my old friends have left Atlanta, but some of the best ones are still here. And the ones who left are a lot closer to Atlanta than they were to San Francisco.

10) Family – I like my family. I mean I have lived out of town for 8 years now, but I still think I like my family most of the time. And I think I’m fortunate to feel that way. Not all of my immediate family lives in Atlanta, but it’s a lot more than in San Francisco (Ok, in the end I had two cousins living out there, but we were not very good about hanging out). I think it was important to explore the country, but in the long run it just makes sense to live near family.

Honorable Mention: Chick-fil-A, hot women.

A Few things I’m not looking forward to: Shaving every day, August humidity.

Could Ticketmaster Get Any Worse?

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

I tried to buy Radiohead tickets on Saturday for their upcoming Atlanta show.  I missed out on Radiohead’s pre-sale through their own website.  I got online right at 10 AM when they went on sale thru TicketBastard, and after being in some online queue for about 5 minutes I was offered lawn seats as the best available.  As if that’s not insulting enough, the face value of the tickets was $35, and after all of the fees were finished they amounted to over $15 per ticket!!!!   RAGE!