Picones Go (East Then) West
The destination was Mountain View, California (where I now work). We could have flown direct to Mountain View in 5 hours or drove 2,944 miles over 5 days, but instead, we decided to take the super scenic car route, which would take us 13 days to cover 4,596 miles. The 12 overnight stops of our cross-country road trip were:
- Boston, MA
- South Hadley, MA
- Plainville, CT
- Harrisonburg, VA
- Charlotte, NC
- Mobile, AL
- New Orleans, LA
- Austin, TX
- Marfa, TX
- Albuquerque, NM
- Las Vegas, NV
- Bakersfield, CA
Moving West, the New Aspiration
Over the years, a handful of my NYC friends moved to the west coast, where the standard of living is higher and cost of living is "supposedly" lower. Moby also wrote an article about why creative types should leave NY for LA. So, with a growing curiosity of what the west would really be like, I was convinced that moving to California might not be a bad idea; however, I knew the change would not be easy.
Adjusting from the hipster capital of the world, Williamsburg, to the full-blown suburbs of Santa Clara has been an interesting experience (which I'll save for a later post). What saved me from PNYS (post-New York shock) was driving across the country and experiencing a gradual change in geography, climate and time zones--this allowed me to slowly adapt and accept a new, sunnier life on the west side.
We crossed 17 or so state lines, and here are some of my favorite moments:
- Seeing a Christmas Tree farm for the first time in West Virginia
- Eating a silly amount of raw oysters, baked crab claws and shrimp and grits in Mobile, Alabama
- Drinking my first frozen Cafe Au Lait at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans and loving it
- Driving through the Louisiana/Texas border surrounded by refineries thinking it was a scene from Dark Angel
- Listening to live country music at Continental Club in Austin while drinking a Lone Star, "The National Beer of Texas"
- Watching thousands of tiny bats fly out of the South Congress Bridge at dusk in Austin
- Discovering a cute German town named Fredericksburg in Hill Country Texas that sold awesome mid-century furniture
- Staying overnight in a minimalist 1970s trailer in Marfa, Texas
- Being in awe of New Mexico's White Sands National Park and the Valley of Fire
- Eating fresh tortillas and green chile stew for $5 at Frontier Restaurant in Albuquerque
America the Beautiful
This sounds super cheesy, but it wasn't until this road trip that I truly understood and appreciated the lyrics of "America the Beautiful":
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
There were so many moments I would look out on the road and it felt like I was looking at the world through a fish-eye lens. For hundreds of miles, I saw flat-top mountains, blue sky and desert plants. It was overwhelming and beautiful to experience a landscape so pure and undisrupted.
I'll always be grateful for New York City's electric energy that sparked a passion inside of me to pursue my love for brands and advertising, but for now, I'm enjoying the slow burn of a calmer pace of life. Hello, California!