From the Rails 5

Since departing Cleveland in January, it’s become common for me to experience a bout of nerves whenever I’m on my way to a new city. This train ride feels different though. I’m not nervous about where I’m going. I’m not saddened by my departure—even though I had an amazing time in Seattle and got to know a lot of great people. Trust me, I'm really going to miss it. 

I just feel… neutral.

The reason I’m even sharing this is because it seems so odd to me. As the project has progressed, I’ve come to learn how to deal with certain things that are constants—going through security, packing my suitcase, having my forms filled out, sending the next round of emails, etc. The nervousness that comes with venturing to a new place has always been one of those constants. So, why aren’t I feeling it right now? What’s changed?

To be quite honest, I haven’t the slightest idea. Perhaps seeing my friends a few weeks ago hit some sort of reset button on my whole ‘on the road’ mindset. I mean, on some level, the time I spent with them reminded me that it won’t long before I see them again. We are entering the final three months of the project after all.

On the other hand, perhaps I’ve just grown so accustomed to relocating that my brain now sees it as ‘just another day’. My subconscious may be telling me, “Relax, we’ve done this 12 other times. There’s nothing to be nervous about.” I guess I’ll just have to wait and see if the nerves return when I’m gearing up for San Francisco.

As for now, I plan on putting my head back and losing myself in the motion of the tracks and the music in my headphones. I’ll see you in Portland everyone.


Day 333

It’s been in the news a lot lately, so I figured this is as good a time as any. Let’s talk AirBnB

For anyone who follows me on Twitter, you already know that I often sing the praises of AirBnB. But, why am I so enthralled with their company? Well, the truth is without their service, this project would never have been possible. Not every agency has someone with a spare couch; not every city has affordable short-term housing; not everyone is trustworthy enough to share a space with. AirBnB adds legitimacy to those I'm renting from. They provide an extra layer of security to ease any worries I have about traveling across the country with so many important possessions.

Even when I've faced a challenge, whether it be a host canceling a reservation or a bed lacking a mattress, AirBnB always steps up to take care of me. Since this entire project was crafted, organized and arranged by one person, it’s nice to have someone looking out for me—at least in one regard anyway.

The reason I bring this up is because I recently came across this article from San Francisco (Stop #13).

You see, even though the company is based in San Francisco, up until a few weeks ago their service was technically banned from being used there. Obviously, their enforcement of the law has been rather lax, because they’re hovering around 5,000 properties in the area. From the moment I left Cleveland, I’ve always had this small spark of fear lingering in the back of my brain. I wasn’t sure where their laws would end up or what I would do if they finally decided to crack down on the service. The same goes for Portland. I recently had to book a third rental there, because my last two hosts cancelled due to increased pressure from landlords.

Don’t get me wrong; I do understand why landlords don’t want their tenants subleasing rooms. I really do. However, I also see the benefit of these short-term rentals and my ability to accomplish this project is just one of them. Hotels are becoming far too overpriced and couch surfing only offers a certain level of privacy and security. There has to be a middle ground, so people can explore this world of ours. I believe AirBnB is that middle ground.

While very apparent to me now, elements like these weren’t exactly top of mind when I was planning #TGAA out. I just assumed services like this were available, because why wouldn’t they be? You could even say the same about my insurance plan. Did you know that not all plans cover you when traveling out of state? I sure as hell didn’t.

Since I've discovered over and over again that not everyone is familiar with AirBnB, I hope this information helps someone out there. Whether you’re planning a cross-country trip or some adventure all your own, it’s important to look at your plan from all sides. You never know when you might hit a speed bump or come upon a place that doesn't offer the things you thought it did. Thankfully new options are popping up everyday and if you’re truly invested in traveling, all you have to do is look around at what your options are.

UPDATE: Right after posting this, it was brought to my attention that San Francisco legalized AirBnB last week (kind of). I must’ve missed the news about it, but nonetheless, it would seem I dodged a bullet. I just hope I don’t run into any hiccups in Portland next month. 



Day 148

As I begin my final week in Charlotte, I wanted to take time to answer another question I received through the #TGAA website. I'd also like to preface it with a resounding, “Thank you,” to everyone who continues sending me questions and comments. It means a lot. 

This inquiry comes from Allan T. of Altoona, PA:

“Hi Steve, I’ve been reading your stuff for the past couple months and I’m curious; does it ever get lonely out there on the road? Thanks and I hope things continue going up and up. It’s cool to follow along with what you’re doing.”

Thanks for the question! Truth be told, it can get rather lonely from time to time. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s hard to leave my friends and family for such an extended period of time. I mean, even when I was living in Brooklyn I’d still visit home every few months. However, this project is 14 months of non-stop travel. I do my best to call or text people regularly, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel like enough. I’m experiencing so many wonderful things on my journey and I wish my friends were here to take part—but it is what it is. They understand and support what I’m trying to accomplish, so even though they aren’t here physically, I know they’re here in spirit.

Having said that, I'm not as alone as it would seem. I did manage to catch up with a lot of old friends and co-workers at my stop in the Big Apple and I have some friends in three of my future stops too. Another great thing is the number of people I’ve been meeting along the way. It’s been a blast getting to know everyone and becoming a part of their lives. Sure, it isn’t very fun when I leave after a month, but just encountering all these interesting people is a blessing in itself. I also think I’ve changed a lot personally from when I started this journey. I’ve never been the most social person, but experiencing so many new things has really forced me to open up. If 6 months ago you had told me I’d be taking part in run clubs and bar hops, I would have called you crazy. 

In the end, nothing feels the same as having good times with best friends, but I like to think things are going rather well. I also believe that by keeping this blog, I’m bringing everyone along for the ride. So, in a sense, I’m never alone. I’m only a few clicks away from sharing my next experience with the world.

Thanks for following along! I’m glad you could join me.