Currently running around in excited mental circles and screaming whilst I do it. There is internal flapping.
A while ago I decided I wanted to put my H. E. Bates Short Story Contest winnings towards something epic which I would never usually consider doing. My brain drew a line between the fact a lot of the reason I ended up with winnings at all was down to the ongoing mentorship I've received from a very awesome writer friend in California, and aforementioned Unknown Epic Thing. So I squared my shoulders and decided that I would fly out to California for a holiday and thank said mentor in person. When that cheque was put in my hand, I was with my closest friend who had shown up in support so naturally I threw out the idea that this should be a tandem trip. So that were decided upon.
A month or so later, in the middle of a wee drinking session, my mate suggested that maybe we didn't just find ourselves a cabin in the redwoods as planned, and instead get a camper van and do a proper American road trip. From San Francisco. To New Orleans. New Orleans being #1 on my Travel Bucket List. After I shrieked agreement, I also added the idea that maybe we should plan the trip around the schedule of landing in NOLA in time for Halloween. Which is an even higher item on my Travel Bucket List than #1, if such a thing is possible.
Since the original Adventure Plan was released into the wild, I've been selling stuff, doing a lot of cat-sitting, and have picked up some freelance work, and have been steadily sending funds to my friend for safe-keeping. I've done pretty damn well, but I've not been sure how far my savings would realistically stretch.
Today, having a free afternoon, I put on my Logistics Queen hat and did a deep dive into options – mileage, time needed whilst remaining sensible about it since I don't drive and can't share that responsibility, and costs for flights, campers, additional travel, and apartments in New Orleans for the few days we'll be spending there. It took a while. There were a lot of factors – and since up until now we haven't had a proper sit-down about it, I am currently basing all research off what my personal ideal plan would be. Websites were scoured, calendars checked, and costs totalled up.
By the time I was done, it was a pretty hefty email I'd slammed together and sent off to get the ball rolling towards us hashing out a more solid plan. But the TL;DR version of it was "We're both going to need to put in X amount to cover all the essentials". And it was at that point I realised that I have already raised 90% of that figure.
I. Am. Freaking. Out. Like. A. Motherfrakker.
It's a bit of America I've never seen. There are going to be so many amazing places on the route to visit. I'll get to see my friends Paul and Jess for the first time in years. I might finally be able to grab a pint with my amazing writer friend. I'll get to do a true American road trip (and spend some of it pretending like I'm in Supernatural). I'll be able to finally visit my spiritual home of New Orleans, for Halloween no less. I'll be able to hang out with my friends Missy and Mandy whilst I'm there. And I'll be doing it all in the best of company. A true adventure that ticks off so many Epic Points that I'm struggling to even comprehend it. I'm also really hoping it will give me the space and inspiration to work further on my book, and file away some excellent experiences in my head for later fictional pursuits. And this trip can't help but be infinitely useful when it comes to getting outside my comfort zone, solidifying myself as a person, increasing my confidence, giving me some much-needed motivation to really delve into who I am at my core, and getting away from the drone of my current reality. I'll be truly, truly Gone Away, and I need that so much.
Now the bones of the trip have been drafted out, we can sit down in person on Wednesday/Thursday/Friday this coming week and start tweaking things, and moving towards blocking off a portion of our respective calendars and booking shit. Nae bad for a vague notion I had in February.
So there it is. I guess I just wanted to have an extended squee without crashing Facebook through the sheer length of my uncontrollable excitement.