Liberation: Leaving The Office For The Open Road

Liberation.  The feeling you get when you are freed.  Or perhaps when you let go.

Friday, June 26th.  I was standing at a bookshelf, filling a heavy duty garbage bag with catalogs and price books.  In the past, these books had been the go-to resource for technical information and pricing.  Now they were on the fast track to the incinerator, or at least that’s what I imagined as I stood there with a shit-eating grin on my face.

It feels good to let go.  To clean out what is no longer necessary.  With only 3 days to go before my unofficial last day in the office, I was feeling liberated.  My entire office was packed up and ready for the movers.  My project was ready to be turned over to its new project managers.  And I was ready to turn a new page.

Planning for the road trip had become more difficult than I first imagined.  Not because it was challenging, but because I was so damn free to do whatever I wanted, the options have begun to overwhelm me!  In the beginning I thought I would go for one month.  Then one month became five weeks, then six weeks.  Then it became clear that I should take my time.  Two months seemed good, but the more I think about it, it may just turn into a never ending road trip… I don’t know if I’ll ever make it back from California!

As my final day in the office approached, I was asked to stay an extra week to help transition the projects and office for our Baltimore branch.  I agreed.  I decided to push back my launch date one week, and finally July 5th had come and gone, and I was now no longer an employee with my previous company.

Adding destinations to my itinerary was like grocery shopping on an empty stomach.  Looking at the initial roadmap, I kept finding destinations and cities along the way that caught my eye.  To add to that, I’ve been blessed to have friends that have gone out of their way to help me out on this trip and offer their couch or set me up with other friends who could host me along the way.  In that regard, I am eternally humbled.

Eventually, I reached the limit for the amount of destinations that could be added to one google map list.  I had to break it up into two maps – the first half, and the second half.

It’s actually still an evolving road map.  The list is a framework, to help budget the trip and get an idea for how many nights I’m going to be in what cities and to be able to keep those who are graciously hosting me informed on when they should expect me.  However, the absolute best part about this whole trip is the freedom!  If I want to take a turn somewhere and see where the road takes me, the fact that I can makes me smile ear to ear.  I embrace that uncertainty with open arms.

I put together a spreadsheet to help me plan the days, drives, and expenses.  Although I love uncertainty, it’s better to have a plan that you don’t stick to than to have no plan to fall back on.

Road Trip Planner 7-1-13

Although the planner is still incomplete, it is coming along nicely, and will be finished very soon since I am now free during the daytime.

Using the convenient Dropzone Locator at dropzone.com, I put together a list of dropzones (DZs) that are along my route.  I certainly don’t plan to skydive at each one of these, but since skydiving is so reliant on the weather, it’s a safe bet to at least know where I want to go and have a backup DZ in case I can’t make the first choice.  Here is my initial list.  I also have alternate DZs in my spreadsheet that I left out here.

Dropzone Database

Researching all of these DZs has got me very excited to check them out!  I’m getting giddy just thinking about it!

As of now, I’ve got a good portion of things on my trip to-do list taken care of, but I’ve still got a ways to go.  I’ve been acquiring trip necessities and selling belongings that are no longer needed.  I’ve got vehicle maintenance to get current on.  I still have to send out Couch Requests on couchsurfing.org, but not too far in advance.  I’ve got some songs I need to finish writing.  Last but not least, I have to move out of my apartment!  I’ve got plenty of things to do in the coming weeks.

With a launch date of July 26th, I’ve got my hands full.  It seems like a lot, almost overwhelming!  But to quote Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it is done.”  Before I know it, it will be just a memory in my past, but as of now, I’ll keep moving forward.

 

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