On this two-part episode of Caliventure Chronicles I’ll discuss some of the key moments of my first leg of the journey. I want to do a blog post a day, at the end of each day, to recap the adventures. The beginning of my trip certainly puts me in a conundrum there as my trip technically started August 4th when I boarded the looming Megabus and it has carried over into today, the morning of August 5th, where I am currently sitting in the Denver airport on a two hour layover due to a delayed flight. Wow. That was a long sentence. Forgive me. Anyway, I’m going this post will focus on what led me to Denver and I’ll post again tonight with the rest of the day’s journey.
So far the trip hasn’t been too eventful. I’ll be straight up honest with you all. I was panicking quite a bit last night. I boarded the Megabus, climbed to the second level, claimed my seat, and took a deep breath. Then the Megabus lurched into motion and Philadelphia was drawing nigh.
I freaked out, texting a few of my friends various GIFs that highlighted my emotions. I mean… I just got on a double-decker bus to solo travel to the complete opposite side of the United States! My mind was assaulted with a plethora of crazy thoughts: What if the bus crashes? Am I safer on the second-level or doomed? What happens when I get to Philadelphia at 1AM? Why if my Lyft driver can’t find me? What happens if the plane, like, blows up or gets hit by lightning or we land and I’m in a different timeline? Most of my family has no idea what I’m doing–if something happens…. wait… what if Bigfoot kidnaps me and serves me as an appetizer to his Bigfoot family? What if… what if… Look, these are totally rational concerns. Okay, fine. Most of them are. I’m telling you, though, the plane traveling to another timeline? It could happen! *cue Twilight Zone music*
My friends pretty much told me to relax, embrace the journey, and try not to get kidnapped by… Bigfoot, of course. So, I took another deep breath and decided to try to sleep. After a fellow passenger bought some food that, from the smell of it, he definitely should not have been eating and proceeded to crunch LOUDLY, I had to put my headphones in or risk going to jail. I don’t handle loud chewers well. And this crunchy spawn of torment was a bit excessive. So, headphones in, I let the Backstreet Boys and Coldplay serenade me to a very uncomfortable sleep.
I may have some regrets about not buying a neck pillow. They just look so… silly. Alas, I’m reaching the point of not caring what they look like. Probably would’ve been a lot more comfortable with one! My regrets only got worse when I got to Philadelphia at 1AM.
First of all, my Lyft driver was really nice. He talked about his family (two of his kids attended/will be attending Penn State), his job, video games, and his appreciation for teachers. It was a moment that made me excited because traveling alone means I will have a ton of opportunities to meet and talk to new people. Who knows what adventures that alone will initiate? When the kind driver dropped me off, I wandered through the airport, which was notably dead that early in the morning. It was a tad eerie, to be honest, like what an airport may look like after the zombie apocalypse. But as I explored the barren airport, it wasn’t zombies that attacked me. I painfully discovered my hiking shoes granted me a terrible blister on my right heel. Did I take the time to break the shoes in before my trip? Nope. Regrets were felt–again. So, here I am, all alone limping through the airport, wincing with every step.
After settling in the right lobby in the airport, I tried to sleep in a chair. Lo and behold, I couldn’t get comfortable, and opted for the cold, hard floor because certainly that would
be more comfortable. I mean… I did fall asleep for an hour or so before my alarm woke me up. So, that had to be a good sign. Granted, a little scary to wake up to find a considerable amount of new people in the area. Hopefully none of them paid any attention to the vagabond napping on the floor.
I did get really anxious about going through the TSA checkpoint. You read all these things about what you can and can’t have and then there’s exceptions and it’s just a lot to keep in mind. So, I snagged two plastic bins for my stuff, one for my shoes and pocket items and another for my computer and electronics. I was just following the signs and tv monitors like a good airport citizen.
I got yelled at.
“Whoa! Whoa! See? Already you’re using way too many bins!” yelled TSA agent Snatchy McSnatcherton who plucked my pocket items out of the bin and demanded I put them in my bag before he took the bin away.
I wanted to say, “Whoa! Whoa! Hear that? Already you’re speaking way too loud at 3:45 in the morning!” I practiced some great impulse control tactics there.
I also had to throw away a sealed coffee drink I was excited to enjoy because, well, liquids are not permitted on carry-ons. It was a sad moment. I’d bonded with that Super Coffee drink, promising to love it by drinking it and here this guy was, snatching and snapping away at me. So, I said my goodbyes to Super Coffee. And realized that I’d need to find another way to energize myself.
To be fair, he was like that with everybody. He was clearly on a power trip and I had to resist glaring at him because, again, I don’t want to go to jail.
It’s been low-key since. The plane didn’t crash or warp into another universe–that I know of–and I’m currently in Denver. Fun fact: Did you know that Southwest Airlines
does not assign seats? You get called in A, B, and C (my assignment) groups and it’s a first come first serve seating process. I wish somebody had told me this because once I got on the plane I was staring dumbly at my fellow travelers, trying to understand what I was to do. Realizing nobody was going to help the gawking fool blocking the aisle, I took a risk and claimed a seat by the window, right on the wing. I mean… the safest place of the plane… right? Nobody kicked me out of the seat. I won–and got a great view of the sunrise, too.
Oh! And one lady complimented my Pete Buttigieg 2020 Pride shirt. She became my best friend even though we only spoke once, and I’ll never see her again.
Sleeping on the plane was less than pleasing and, once more, I berated myself for not buying a neck pillow. But this is how we learn, right? You may be thinking, “Dude, go buy one at the airport stores?” But I refuse to spend $30-$50 on one! So, no thank you! I will suffer.
So, that’s my journey so far. I just listened to a flight attendant board his plane (not mine) as if he the passengers were being auctioned off. It was… uncomfortable. I bought some hippy stickers because why not? And I decided to do some writing before Part 2 of this episode begins in less than an hour. Which, on that note, this time change is freaking my body out. I mean… the whole airplane time warp theory? Pretty sure I lived it.
Anyway, here’s what Episode 2: Vagabond Part 2 will cover later tonight:
- My (hopeful) safe landing in San Francisco at 12:20 PM (PST)
- My daring drive out of San Francisco in a rental car. Pretty sure I’ll have high blood pressure.
- Suspense awaits because beyond that, I have no idea where I’m stopping, what I’ll see, and where I’m sleeping tonight. I know the Redwood Forests will play a role in some way. Any suggestions along Highway 101?
To be continued….