MGU 485 | Road Trip

 

This episode takes you through a series of adventures, reflections, and meaningful moments as Whitney Lauritsen traverses national recreation spots, encounters family and friends, and delves into her personal growth. Discover insights on embracing the beauty of travel, the power of reconnecting with roots, and the challenge of maintaining psychological safety in today’s digital world. From savoring homemade pierogies that tap into Ukrainian heritage to navigating the complexities of modern life and social media, this episode is a rich story that explores the intersections of travel, family, culture, and self-discovery.

Listen to the podcast here

 

Rediscovering Roots: The Final Chapter of 2023’s Road Trip Chronicles

This is the first episode that I’ve done since returning to Los Angeles from my annual road trip. Maybe 3 or 4 episodes would count for road trip 2023 episodes. I did a two-part episode. It was a two-part story of my drive from Los Angeles out to the East Coast. I detailed all the places I went, the national parks, the national monuments, the adventures, and the mishaps. I also did an episode when I got COVID on the East Coast. That counts. My fourth was an episode on the Plant-Based World Expo and the Natural Products Expo East in which I talked about all the different products I tried at those trade shows.

If you are curious, this episode will be about my drive back to Los Angeles. For those of you who like reading the stories and want to read more, I was going to say I didn’t go into any parks, but I did. I went to a national forest. One thing that is still a little confusing to me is all of these national areas in the United States and other countries have different names and types. I have this wonderful pass called the America the Beautiful Interagency Annual Pass, which is $79.99 a year. That pass gets you unlimited access to these parks. I renewed mine. You get a new pass every year. I got a new one.

This 2023 or the next 12 months, while my pass is valid, I plan to visit lots of places. I will share some of that with you. I have some stories about adventures I went on with friends, family, and my dog, Evie. I did this trip in my electric car. I did some camping. I did Airbnbs. A lot happened that I’m going to share with you.

The video is being recorded for this. I record live in the private Beyond Measure community. If you’re unfamiliar with it, I have been running that for a few years. It is free to join. That community serves as an alternative for me to social media. I haven’t been using social media much at all in 2023. I’ve also talked about that on a number of episodes with and without guests. I’ve had some really great people come on the show to talk about social media and their opinions on it.

I started Beyond Measure in 2020 because I really wanted to create a private community that wasn’t dependent on algorithms and that wasn’t full of random people, strangers, trolls, and haters. I wanted a safe place not just for me but for others. I value psychological safety. In 2022, I became a certified emotional well-being coach and learned so much more about mental health, which has always been the subject of this show. That drove me more to want to do as much as I could to support others with their own psychological safety. That’s what Beyond Measure has been. It continues to evolve. I have some plans that are developing for 2024. You’re always welcome to come check it out.

If you have already been in there in the past, know that it’s constantly changing. It is always taking shape. A lot of the feedback from people like you really helps shift it. I bring it up not just because I want to tell you about it, but also because that’s where I’m recording live. In most of these episodes where I’m by myself without a guest, I record live in front of Beyond Measure members so that we can all come together. They can share their thoughts, their feedback, and their questions in real-time. I would love to have you part of it if you’re interested. That is all the context I wanted to give.

We’re going to continue with this. I mentioned the video, too, because I’m sharing visuals. I’m sharing the visuals not only because visuals are nice, but as a reminder to me about what happened on this trip since I left my parents’ home. October 31st on Halloween 2023 is when I departed the East Coast officially. Although, it’s hard to say I fully departed it because I started driving to the South. I was on the Northern part of the East Coast of Massachusetts where I grew up and my parents still live. I then started going down the coast before I headed West back to California.

I’ve done this trip many times. It continues to evolve, but there’s a lot of overlap. If you’ve checked out previous episodes, some of this might sound familiar. However, every year is a little bit different. Every year is an evolution of travel. People are evolving. I’m evolved. There is so much that is changing. That’s part of what makes these trips really interesting to do over and over again.

MGU 485 | Road Trip

Road Trip: My annual road trip is different every year. So much is changing in me, and that’s what makes these trips interesting to do over and over again.

 

This is my fourth time in a row. Every year, I’ve been doing it at the end of summer, the beginning of fall, and almost winter. Time seems to be flying by. If you’re not watching the video, it’s available to Beyond Measure members. It will be on YouTube eventually is my hope. If photos and visuals are inaccessible to you for accessibility reasons, I will describe them to you so you can imagine for yourself the journey.

My Parent’s House

The first image is at my parents’ house, which is so pretty. My parents have this beautiful property in Massachusetts. I really try to savor it, but no matter how hard I try, it still feels like time goes by incredibly fast. Before I know it, I’m back on the road. The next image is in Maryland, which was my first stop. On this road trip, I visited some family members. I spent a lot of great time with them and my dog by the water. That was beautiful. I savor visiting them. These family members are on the older side, so I never know when the last time I will spend with them. I cherish these experiences of visiting them every year, but there is always this bittersweet feeling of like, “Is this the last time?”

Maryland

I remember what it was like the last time I was at my grandfather’s house when he was alive. I got to go back after he passed away, but it wasn’t the same. Things are always changing, but when people leave our lives for one reason or another, the places feel very different. I try to be present and take all of that in and all these little moments. Even with my dog, Evie. She’s fourteen. She’s a senior dog. I don’t know how much longer she’ll be around in my life.

Things are always changing. But when people leave our lives for one reason or another, it feels very different. Click To Tweet

Speaking of savoring family, savory food comes up next. This next image is of homemade pierogies. One thing that you may not know about me is that my mother’s side of the family is Ukrainian. She’s half-Ukrainian if I’m doing the math correctly. Her father was 100% Ukrainian. The family I visited in Maryland was related and also half Ukrainian. I grew up with some Ukrainian influence. My mother always cherishes that and would bring it up at moments in my life.

One thing that was really prevalent was pierogies. My mother grew up calling them pedaheh. It’s a pretty rare terminology. Most people call them pierogies, but pierogies are from various parts of the world I’ve learned over time. There are all different terminologies so it’s been interesting. This 2023, for the very first time, my mom made pierogies. I’ll call them that. Although, if she reads this episode, she’ll be annoyed that I called them pierogies. She’d be like, “They are called pedaheh.” I’m going to call them pierogies. It’s easier to say and understand.

I encouraged my mom to make them for the first time in her adulthood. Not only did we make traditional pierogies, but I found a gluten-free vegan way to make them. We fried them up with onion. They were delicious. It was special. I’m hoping that my mom continues making them in honor of her grandmother who’s really special to her who used to make them herself. It was her Ukrainian grandmother. There are all these stories I’ve heard. It felt good to honor that tradition and tap into my roots in a way that I hadn’t ever done.

The next image is the side-by-side comparison of my mother’s regular, traditional pierogies and then my gluten-free pierogies, which were harder to work with because of the gluten-free flour. It ended up tasting really good. I’m excited to try it again. There are so many different approaches to making them. I had no experience and neither did my mom. We looked up all these recipes. It was nice to spend time in the kitchen.

As you might’ve read in some episodes of this podcast, my mom and I have a challenging relationship at times. To be able to do something like this together, I felt, was a nice bonding experience. I really wanted to do it for her because I know how much she loves padeheh. To be able to make them, I felt like could be empowering and special. We’ll see if she continues doing it. Maybe the two of us can do it whenever I visit. I have more pictures in beautiful Maryland, the sunsets and savoring that. The water always feels nice.

MGU 485 | Road Trip

Road Trip: My mom and I have a challenging relationship at times, so it was a nice bonding experience to make homemade pierogies with her. Maybe the two of us can do it whenever I visit.

 

My mother was with me in Maryland and then I dropped her off at an airport on the way. I continued my journey by myself after she got on the plane. I saw these cute cats who I really wanted to show to one of the Beyond Measure members who’s not here. I will give a little shout-out to them in case they’re reading. Maybe in the future, I can share this with them privately. We have a great private message feature within Beyond Measure. Heads up, if I forget to send this to you, let me know. This was a stray cat that I saw that was really beautiful.

Black Mountain

I continued on to Black Mountain, which is outside of Asheville, North Carolina, where I also have family. I went to this wonderful restaurant and had this fabulous gluten-free vegan dish. This place is called Goldfinch. Back Mountain is a cute small town outside of Asheville. I’ve been there a few times but never to this restaurant. My mouth is starting to water thinking about it. It was that good. I had a great dessert. It was a beautiful area.

A photo was taken in Asheville of a sign for this convenience store. Is that the right term for it? A gas station might be better. It’s called Buc-ee’s. I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about this on the show, but over the last few years, my sister and I have had this inside joke about Buc-ee’s. When you’re driving in certain parts of the country, especially Tennessee and Texas, there are so many signs for Buc-ee’s. I ended up going there. Spoiler alert. That comes up later. I did a lot of charging in the electric car. I saw all sorts of different cars around the country, which is neat. This one had what they call a wrap around it, which means it was custom-made. They had these beautiful drawings of mountains and trees. I thought, “One day, I would love my car to look like that.”

Knoxville, Tennessee

I then went to Buc-ee’s. I stopped briefly outside of Knoxville, Tennessee to see a family member and had lunch. There wasn’t anything super memorable food-wise so I don’t have pictures of it. After I went to Knoxville, I stopped at Buc-ee’s, and that was memorable. It’s like a Disney World experience in there. They have this whole gift shop. They have all this food.

They had a life-sized Buc-ee’s character. Life-sized isn’t right because the Buc-ee’s logo is a beaver. This was bigger than a real beaver. It was a human being dressed up as a beaver in human being size. I thought that was funny. They have all sorts of fun candies and food. I like walking around in there and looking at what they have. It’s a fun experience. Plus, they have really nice bathrooms. I highly recommend checking out Buc-ee’s if you ever have the opportunity. If you have been to a Buc-ee’s, I would love to know.

Nashville

I went to Nashville for a very short period of time to stay the night with my wonderful friend, Allison, from the Food Heals podcast. She has been on this show and I’ve been on her podcast. She is an amazing person. We had such a great but very brief time there hanging out. Evie enjoyed her bed in the guest room. I have a picture of Allison’s dog who is so incredibly cute. She is a sweet, young beagle. Allison loves beagles. Every time I see a beagle, I think of Allison. Her dog, Lily, is such a joy to be around. It was sad to leave there.

MGU 485 | Road Trip

Road Trip: Allison’s dog is a sweet young beagle. Every time I see a beagle, I remember her.

 

The day after Nashville, I went to the border of Tennessee and Kentucky to the National Forest I mentioned earlier called Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. It is about 90 minutes Northwest of Nashville. It is right on the border between Tennessee and Kentucky. In fact, part of this recreational area is in Kentucky and Tennessee, so I was in both states.

I went camping with some family members. We drove around. It was really pretty there. We barely scratched the surface. It’s a pretty big area. They go camping and hiking there all the time. They did have buffalo or bison, which I always loved seeing. I saw a number of them on my road trip out to the East Coast. It was fun to see them again on this trip. They also had elk. We saw lots of wildlife.

Land Between the Lakes is pretty neat because they have a special gated-off area where they protect some bison and elk. You can drive through there. It’s like a better version of one of those wildlife parks that feels more like a zoo. This felt like a protected space that you happen to be able to drive through. The animals seemed really content there. Hopefully, they are. There were lots of elk. They were neat.

A national forest is the better version of a wildlife park, which feels more like a zoo than a protected space. Click To Tweet

Speaking of neat, we went to this interesting restaurant called The Pond, which is known for lots of non-vegan food, including catfish. My family members wanted to go. One of them is vegetarian, but he eats fish. Pescatarian would be a better terminology. He occasionally eats fish is what he says. He really wanted to go to this restaurant. It was quite cool. They did everything very casually, family style. It felt like a bunch of local people there which I thought was neat.

I did have pictures of my food. I got beans. The beans happened to be vegetarian. They were really good beans. I got some grilled vegetables and some french fries. It was all good for what it was. They are not a super vegan, gluten-free, friendly restaurant, but the atmosphere and service were so cool to experience. This was in the Kentucky part of the park. It was right outside the park. You had to cross this little river to get to it. It was neat. I felt like I was experiencing the local culture which I appreciated. Sometimes, the food does not have to be good for you to enjoy a restaurant.

From there, we went back to our campground. We set up a great bonfire and our tents and had fun. We roasted some vegan Dandies marshmallows, which was nice. We hung around, looked at the stars, and talked. It was really special. There was one of the family members I hadn’t seen for many years, so it was great to reconnect. To sleep in a tent next to my family members was neat. I’ve only done that a few times. A lot of times, I’m camping by myself and it feels lonely. I enjoyed the experience of being with people that I cared about and felt safe with.

MGU 485 | Road Trip

Road Trip: We went back to our campground, set up a great bonfire and roasted some vegan marshmallows. It was great to reconnect and sleep in a tent next to my family members.

 

Camping Stuff

Also, I’m so impressed with this tent that I have. It’s called the Ozark Five-Person SUV Tent. I mentioned how I had a really challenging experience with it. That’s in part 1 and part 2 of my road trip out to the East Coast this 2023 if you’re curious about it. This tent costs $100. When I bought it, it was probably around $80 a few years ago. It’s really impressive for that price point. I’m planning to get a fancy tent, a much smaller tent, at some point, but I have to give it credit.

I also love my sleeping pad. It’s called an Exped mattress. I have a great sleeping bag from NEMO. It’s the NEMO Forte. All of the camping equipment I’ve been buying has been awesome. I’ve talked about it in a number of episodes. If you ever have questions about camping gear, I’m new to it, but I can still tell you a lot as a newbie.

Speaking of which, I have this cool little setup for making coffee and heating up water. It’s this cheap little camping stove with an isopropane. I forget what the terminology is, but it’s these tiny little gas canisters attached underneath this little lighter. It has an attachment. You can attach the top of it. You pour water into this canister, use the little tank, and then it lights up and heats up your water to a boiling point.

In a video I have, I’m showing how I made coffee with instant coffee. There’s this great company called Beanies that I discovered at the Plant-Based World Expo. Everybody I’ve shared this instant coffee with has been blown away by it. I have the caramel popcorn flavor, which sounds really bizarre, but it’s so good. It’s sugar-free. You can add whatever sweetener to it and combine it with water. It’s surprisingly good. I shared that with my family members.

One of my favorite things I’ve bought for camping is my Yeti mug. I am slowly becoming a big fan of Yeti products along with most people that own a Yeti. They’re known for their cool coolers and they have really good insulated cups. The mug that I have from them, I cherish that thing. It is so cool. I got it at the store called Sierra, which I mentioned in another episode. It is worth saying again.

Sierra is a store where you can shop online. They have some locations around the country. It is my favorite store to go into aside from Grocery Outlet and Buc-ee’s. There are a few places that I get so excited to go to. Buc-ee’s, I mentioned. Sierra, I’ve talked about as well as Grocery Outlet. I will not get into them in this episode, but those three all fall in this category when I pass by one of these places, I have to go. They’re great.

I got my amazing Yeti mug for half-price at Sierra. They do not, unfortunately, sell Yeti products on their website for some reason. Sometimes, there’s stuff you can only find in person. Look up Sierra if you’re into outdoor stuff. See if you have one nearby or if it’s going to be somewhere you’re going because it’s a really fun place.

I left Land Between the Lakes at the crack of dawn and started one of the two longest days of my road trips. I left at 7:30. It felt like the crack of dawn to me because I had to get up early, but it wasn’t that bad. I have my trusty refrigerator with me, which is also worth a shout-out. It’s from SetPower. They revamped their refrigerator line. I got the newer version part of the warranty.

Long story short, my original SetPower refrigerator, which is a mini refrigerator that you can use in your car that’s a game-changer, started working weirdly. I contacted their support and they sent me their brand new model. It’s so much better and great. It’s another thing I became really thrilled about on my road trip. I’m going to mention that because it’s so wonderful for storage.

In a video, it shows how jam-packed and messy my car gets, but I keep the SetPower refrigerator in the front seat of the car. It’s awesome. This refrigerator is fairly lightweight. You can use it anywhere you want as long as you have access to either a regular power outlet or a twelve-volt adapter in a car, a boat, or wherever. That’s where I plug it into my car. The refrigerator works so well, especially the newer model. It kept it at the perfect temperature. I could store plant-based milk, salads, and any perishable stuff that I had with me. It’s been a game-changer for road trips.

I’m not a promoter. None of these companies pay me to say this, but I do use affiliate links. If you go to Wellevatr.com, there will be links to everything. Whenever I can, I will use an affiliate link, which means if you buy something based on my recommendation, I get a small commission. Oftentimes, it’s a few dollars, but it adds up.

Austin, Texas

From there, I left early because I drove to Austin, Texas. I drove all day. I got to Austin, Texas at 10:30 PM. It was still the same time zone. I was still in Central Time. That’s a hard thing. When I’m traveling across the country and going through four different time zones, it becomes confusing. That day, it was 7:30 AM to 10:30 PM Central Time. That’s fifteen hours. That does include me stopping to charge my car, which people always ask what that’s like.

MGU 485 | Road Trip

Road Trip: You can program the Tesla Model 3 to tell you when to stop and charge your car.

 

In the Tesla Model 3 that I have, you can go in and program all your stops. It tells you when to stop and charge your car, the stops being I’m leaving Land Between the Lakes and going to Austin, Texas. You plug in the exact addresses anywhere in between and the car does all this math, and it tells you where to stop along the way. It’s really simple. I like to do that before the trip so I know approximately when I’m going to get to places. It all has worked out well. It sometimes takes extra time. On a day like that, I had to charge for 90 minutes. It was 15 hours total, probably 13-ish hours of driving and 90 minutes to 2 hours of car charging.

I was in Austin, Texas with my friend. We had a wonderful meal or many great meals. We had one that was this Mediterranean restaurant. It was called Aba. That’s on Congress Street if you’re familiar with Austin, Texas. It was so good. They have locations outside of Austin, too. They are very accommodating to vegan and gluten-free. In fact, they had phenomenal gluten-free crackers and all sorts of lovely foods, dips, and veggie things.

Fredericksburg, Texas

I stayed a few days in Austin with my friend. I feel like we did a number of things that I don’t even remember. We went out to eat. I hung out with her family. After that though, we decided to go to this really cool area called Fredericksburg, Texas, which is about 90 minutes outside of Austin. On the way there, we stopped in Johnson City, which had this cool coffee shop that was very vegan-friendly.

I had delicious coffee from this coffee roaster called Greater Goods. It was a sweet, pretty place with indoor and outdoor seating and all these different customizable drinks. I can’t remember if they had any vegan baked goods, but it was the perfect place to stop. I spilled my coffee. I had to go back in and get a refill because I sat down on this chair or a swing technically, put my coffee cup down, and it immediately spilled. I went back in and they were very kind to give me a free replacement drink. They won some extra points.

My friend and I went to a few wineries. This part of Texas is a wine country. The first place we went to was called Untamed Wine Estates. It was so cool. It was a beautiful place. It looked like a really modern church, the building. It was on their vineyard. Although, they imported their grapes. A lot of places in Fredericksburg apparently get their grapes from California, and then they do the wine process there on location.

MGU 485 | Road Trip

Road Trip: The Untamed Wine Estate in Texas looked like a modern church. They import their grapes from California and do the wine process on location.

 

This place was very accommodating to vegans. Not all wine is vegan. I did not happen to check. I go through various phases of my veganism. Sometimes, I check every single ingredient. Sometimes, I’m more laid back. I’m in a laid-back stage, so I did not see or double-check that their wine was vegan. The reason the wine wouldn’t be vegan is that sometimes, they’ll use fish products to filter it. It sounds really gross whenever I think about it.

Sometimes, I don’t check. I’ll be completely transparent with it. This is one of those times because I checked their menu and they had vegan food options. That’s why we ended up going here. All their wine might’ve been organic. I don’t know. I’ll be transparent about that. It’s Untamed Wine Estates if you want to check them out. They were so nice. Their wine was lovely. I got some sparkling rosé. They had wonderful pizzas there that they made. They can make gluten-free pizza. It was awesome.

We then got into Fredericksburg Center where our Airbnb was. We stayed at this really cute little place that had some nice decorations. The Airbnbs in Fredericksburg were an interesting experience. We only stayed at one, but I researched so many of them. They were quite pricey for what you get. A lot of them are old places. They have weird pet policies. This was one of the only places that felt relatively affordable and didn’t charge an arm and a leg for having a pet with you. That was annoying, but it was a lovely enough stay.

We then went to this really neat wine bar in the center of Fredericksburg. Even if you don’t stay there, it is worth visiting and driving through this place. It’s cute. I’ve passed through it a few times on my road trips. This was the first time I stopped and spent some time there. I don’t know for certain the name of this wine shop we went to because I don’t think the glasses are accurate. It was this little shop that sold and poured wine. They didn’t just make their own. They had wines from all over. They specialize in having organic wine.

It is near the Cuvee piano bar if that is helpful to you. There was a variety of different stores there and a number of vegan-friendly options. I use the HappyCow app to help me identify places to eat. If you look on HappyCow, there is a really cool coffee shop I’m going to tell you about and a neat restaurant right across the street from this wine bar that was very vegan-friendly. I’ll mention that. I can’t remember what this place was called. The owner was there. She was cool and had a fun vibe.

We then went to this restaurant called Hill & Vine, which also had wine. We did not drink any of it. We went there to get some food. They had some decent salads. It wasn’t fantastic, to be honest. The next morning though, we went to Kaffee Haus. They were extremely vegan and gluten-free friendly. It is similar to the Johnson City Coffee Shop I went to. Both of them served the Greater Goods Coffee. Both of them had great staff.

They had a gluten-free and vegan oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, which, believe it or not, I did not get. I was not in the mood for it. My friend got the vegan zucchini bread, which wasn’t gluten-free, but I tried some anyway. It was really good. They had great coffee and was a cute little place. That was directly across the street from the wine bar I mentioned if you are curious. I had a pretty brief trip to Fredericksburg, but it was lovely.

Saddleback Mountain RV Park

From there, I drove only 5 or 6 hours, which was a short day for me to get to my final camping slash RV park. Technically, it wasn’t an RV Park, but I camped in my car because I don’t have an RV yet. Maybe one day. This place is called Saddleback Mountain RV Park. It was really great. It was in the middle of nowhere off of Interstate 10.

I read the reviews. People were raving about this place. It felt like a safe place to stay the night. It also was only $20, which is really affordable for a place where you get full RV hookups. If you have an electric car, some of these RV places will allow you to charge your car there.  I called them up ahead of time. They had no problem with it.

The Saddleback Mountain RV Park is a safe place to stay the night for road trips and only costs $20. Click To Tweet

I talked about in part one of my road trip to the East Coast this 2023 that the very first place I went was an RV park. That was really weird about me having an electric car in some ways. Go back if you want to check out that episode and read more about it. That made me nervous to go to RV parks. I was afraid I would arrive again and they would turn me away. This place was like, “Go ahead.” They didn’t care.

The woman on the phone, I told her that I had an electric car and asked if that was okay to charge there. She laughed at the question and said, “Do whatever you want to do.” I was like, “Okay,” so I went and plugged in. It was great. I set up all my stuff. I have a little privacy pop-up tent where I can change my clothes. I also will sometimes turn that into a porta-potty because, at this RV park, there were no bathrooms. You had to bring all your own stuff. Some RV parks have toilets, showers, and whatever else you need. This one did not, so I set up my bathroom on my own.

I’ve talked a lot about that a number of times. If you haven’t read those episodes, one of my favorite products is called the Carloo. It’s designed for women. Kids can use it. Men could use it, but it might be a little awkward. It depends on your anatomy. It’s designed with the female anatomy in mind. I love that thing. It is so great in a variety of different situations.

I also have this fold-up toilet that you can construct to be about the same height as a regular toilet. You put biodegradable bags in there and biodegradable powder so you can use the bathroom. It helps degrade all of your, fluids and matter that come out of your body. You can toss it into a regular trash can at a place like an RV park. That is something I always carry with me in case of a situation like this. I have a variety of other things I’ve talked about many times, but that’s one of my go-to setups.

This park was really cool. It had nice designs with rocks, trees, cacti, and all these other cool plants. For $20, it was great. It was quiet. It felt safe. People often think I’m crazy for doing stuff like this on my own, but I had a great time there. I even set up my Jackery, which is a portable charging station for electronics. They have all these different models. I have a pretty basic one that I can use to charge my computer or some other things that are a little harder to charge in my car.

I took that Jackery and set it up next to a chair. I sat in that chair and worked remotely at this RV park outside amongst the cacti. And I had such a great time. A lot of people are curious like, “How do you travel for three months?” I don’t have three months of savings to cover me. I work at all these different charging stops, campgrounds, and Airbnb. I bring all my stuff with me and make it work.

MGU 485 | Road Trip

Road Trip: I was able to travel for three months by visiting different charging stops, campgrounds, and Airbnbs.

 

This RV park was also cute because there were stray cats there that were really sweet. I wanted to take one home. I tried to take all these pictures and videos of them, but sadly, none of them seemed interested in coming home with me. I set up a light on one of the trees. I lit the cactus, and by lit, I meant with the lighting stick that I had. I thought it was fun how I set up everything. That was my last night on the road.

My Longest Road Trip

The next day, this is where that deep breath comes into play. The deep breath is mostly because it was the longest day of a road trip I’ve ever done. It was eighteen hours long. It was delightful even though I have a photo of my cracked windshield. I took a picture of the cracked windshield because I got used to this. The crack started months ago. I talked about it in part 1 or 2 of the road trip episodes. I started taking pictures of it because I don’t want to replace my windshield for a little while. I was really worried about it and thought that it was going to be such a bummer but it ended up not being a problem. It ended up feeling like part of the experience. I have a number of photos of it.

The summary for my last day on the road is I woke up at that RV park. It was pitch dark out. I had to start before the sun rose, which was interesting. It was also raining, so that was fun packing up my car. The Model 3 is not a big car. It’s a small sedan. I fit three months’ worth of camping gear, clothes, and all sorts of stuff in there. I have gotten it down to a science but that doesn’t make it easy.

To pack up that car in the rain at 5:30 in the morning when it was dark out was a challenge, but I did it. I didn’t change out of my clothes. I wore my pajamas the whole day. My pajamas were sweatpants and a T-shirt. I couldn’t be bothered to change my clothes. I got in the car and drove. The rain passed and I started to see the sun come out. It was beautiful.

I drove from Texas, which was where that RV park was through this area called Van Horn. If you look on a map, that was near where the park was. I drove through El Paso along the Mexican border. I started going through New Mexico. Right after El Paso, you go through parts of New Mexico, then to Arizona. I passed close to Phoenix, but I went South of Phoenix to avoid any traffic. It was a Thursday night and the traffic was starting to build up.

I went to this random part of Arizona I’ve never been to that was beautiful. I could not tell you the name off the top of my head, but it’s directly South of Phoenix. I was driving through this road as the sun was setting on my final day of the road trip feeling so grateful. I had tons of energy. I had gratitude. I had a positive spirit for that final day, which was so wonderful. It made driving easier.

I then entered California. I can’t recall anything happening that was of much note besides enjoying the sunrise and the sunset. I listened to audiobooks and music. I was listening to Taylor Swift’s new-ish album, 1989 Taylor’s Version. I got really into that album. I have to say I’m not a super big Taylor Swift fan, but I do appreciate her music. Sometimes, when I’m on road trips, I’ll listen to an album over and over again. Hers was one of them on that final day.

I also listen to a ton of audiobooks. I’ve mentioned Rest is Resistance. Listen to that. I listened to one called Recovery. I made it through a lot of books on that eighteen-hour drive. I know there were a few others. I was listening to books about empathy, rest, and recovery. There were some themes there of lots of healing. I listened to Britney Spears’ audiobook. That was great. That was earlier in my travels.

If you’re ever curious about audiobooks, I mostly listen to nonfiction. I did listen to a little bit of Lessons in Chemistry, which is a TV show and a book. I’ve been watching them simultaneously and really enjoying that story. I am always happy to talk and hear your favorite audiobooks and books to read. If you ever want to hear mine, I can share a list or something.

Back On Los Angeles

I then got back to LA. I arrived around 10:30 or 11:00. It was pretty late. I stopped at Grocery Outlet on the way. My final charging stop was outside of Palm Springs. There was a Grocery Outlet there near the Tesla Charger. I was so excited because that was the first Grocery Outlet I’d been to in months. I missed that store so much. I went in there and shopped as my car was charging, or maybe not. I might’ve split it up.

I then went back to LA and passed out. I tried to catch up on sleep over the next few days because that was a really exhausting final push, but I did it. It was so wonderful. I’ve been integrating back into Los Angeles for about a week. It’s interesting to do these big trips in which I spend a lot of time on my own or me and Evie, my dog. I spend time with friends and family. I spend time seeing all the different parts of the country.

Sometimes, coming back is hard, but so far, it’s been really smooth. I feel happy back here. I’m noticing what it’s like to get back into the swing of things and be back in the place where I spend most of the year. That’s my story. I hope you enjoyed it. There is so much more to share from the past in all these other road trips I’ve been on. If you enjoy them, there are lots of stories in the past and hopefully a lot more to come in the future.

In addition to asking you about books, I would love to hear your own story. The best place to share with me since I am barely ever on social media is in the Beyond Measure community. It’s free to join. I know joining a new platform can sometimes feel like a burden, but it’s so wonderful. It’s not just about me and you. It’s about the whole community there.

The Beyond Measure members are incredible people. Thank you to those of you who stayed and listened to the stories that I shared live. I appreciate your presence and comments in the chat. We played a fun activity together as a group. We do that at least once a month. I really try to find ways to connect with everyone. It feels so much more nourishing and enriching than social media.

I’ve started to phase out so much of social media in my life personally and professionally and it has felt good. Maybe at the end of 2023, I can give more of a recap given the time period that it’s been and all of that. If you’re ever curious about things like that, you can either ask me directly privately. If Beyond Measure is not the place that you want to be, you can email me. It takes me a little while to get back to emails though. I’ll give you a heads-up there.

Ironically, I am working on making more clips for social media, mostly to share episode clips from when guests show up on the show. That happens every other episode. I’m still figuring out the schedule, the rhythm, and what I want to do in 2024. You may see some clips on social. It might seem a little odd if those pop up. That’s the most I want to do if I go back to posting on social media.

Even when I post there, I probably will not be active in comments or direct messages on social because it’s not a place I want to spend my time. I want to spend my time in Beyond Measure. I want to spend my time recording these episodes. I want to do as much as I can to respond to the emails that I get. I hope to hear from you in some capacity, but if I don’t, thank you so much for tuning in.

Please check out the resources at Wellevatr.com. It’s the episodes. There’s nothing else out there at the moment. Maybe in the future, there will be more. Who knows what the future holds? Thank you for being here with me in the present, reflecting back on the past. I’ll be back with another episode with a special guest very soon. Stay tuned. Enjoy the rest of your day. Thanks for being here with me. I’ll see you next time.

 

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