The Road Trip That Saved My Life

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You graduate college and suddenly everything changes. I remember graduating from Virginia State University in 2012 and feeling like “I’m Unstoppable, I feel like I have the world at my fingertips! I’m on top of the world.” I wanted to savor that moment forever but then reality hit & it hit hard. Everyone knows that it takes a few years for you to land a job in your field, okay I get that. You start seeing everyone else around you succeeding and you haven’t reached the level of success you’ve hoped you would’ve reached by now. Now I am very impatient (which I have been trying to work on for some time now) and I started to wonder when it would be MY turn, to reach all my career goals.

Since graduating from college I have done some great things to help me career wise but I hadn’t landed that dream gig that I’ve been wanting. So I decided to do something that I had been contemplating for years, to move back home to Northern California. I prayed on it several times, and kept going back and forth about moving, but I  finally made a decision to move back home with my parents and younger siblings. I hadn’t lived at home since I went away to college. I only came home for summer and winter breaks, but that stopped once I started working while living in Virginia. I had been living in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2013. Being away from all of my family really can be hard and I needed to be around them, and truth be told I was getting lonely and upset when I couldn’t make it home for holidays.

So the journey begins!

My lease in my apt was up on June 18th and I figured that I wanted to be back home a week prior by June 13th. There was so much to do! Pack, look for car shippers, and break the news to all my friends I had made in Charlotte over the year. As well as my family in VA and close college friends in the DMV (DC MD VA) area I still hung out with. Moving across country can be very stressful if you don’t take the time to plan ahead, especially if you’re not familiar with car shipping, not to mention it can get pricey! I had decided on shipping my car but between the cost and the company not being reliable I ended up driving! Yes that right driving from North Carolina to California. I have to admit I was nervous, my parents were nervous, my friends were nervous, everyone was nervous, but it was a decision that I had to make.  I asked everyone to pray for me, friends, family and coworkers because worrying solves nothing. Given that I was making such a long road trip alone I made it exciting. I took advantage of visiting my 2 best friends from high school that I hadn’t seen in a while. So I left Charlotte and headed to Shreveport, LA and visited my best friend Charnae.

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The farthest I had ever drove alone was from Charlotte to DC which is about 6 hours depending on traffic so driving 12 to Louisiana alone had me nervous. I drove to Atlanta before but that was the farthest south I had ever been. So I wanted to make sure I got to Louisiana while the sun was still up especially being in unfamiliar territories. I made sure I had plenty of snacks, water and PowerAde to keep me hydrated during the trip. Driving through Alabama was pretty boring until I got to Birmingham. That was a pretty big city and they had a really good radio station. I listened to radio personality Nu York on 105.1 Jamz all the way until I got into Mississippi. (I always like to listen to different radio stations when I go to new areas.)

Finally I made it into Mississippi and that meant I was closer to being to my destination! I stopped in Pearl, MS to fill up on gas, use the restroom and grab a few more snacks (l was a few exits away from Jackson.) The weather was pretty good but it rained on and off so I just took my time driving. As soon as I got into Louisiana it started storming, it was so bad I actually had to pull over because I couldn’t see anything. After that I got on the road and I was about an hour away from Shreveport! I was very intrigued to see all the French names of the cities and parishes (counties.) I didn’t realize Grambling State University was in Louisiana. I felt a little dumb after noticing lol.

Cruise control really was my best friend during this whole trip, my legs needed that break.

You never really realize how long it’s been since you’ve seen your best friend until you realize how much you’ve missed them. Even though I visited Nae in 2013 when she was living in Fort Wayne, Indiana and we talk regularly it still felt like it had been an eternity. I really enjoyed my time in Shreveport. That Wednesday afternoon Nae, me and some of her friends went to get Crawfish YUM! I had seen a lot of my friends raving about it on social media and just had to try it for myself. OMG it was super spicy but it was BOMB! Her friends had to teach me how to crack and eat them.  Since it was blazing hot outside we retrieved back to her apt and took a nap, and then went downtown to the Boardwalk, which consisted of shopping outlets and some restaurants. The Boardwalk was right across from the Red River and it had a great with the casinos right across the river however it was flooded. Overall the Boardwalk was a nice site to see and great for photos.

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After we went to Whataburger. I never got a chance to go to this restaurant while I was in college at VSU. It was definitely worth the wait! I tried the Patty Melt it was so good! After we ate we met up with Nae’s fiancé Ben and his best friend Dan at the El Dorado Casino & Resort. I was super excited because it was my first time at a casino. I had a case of beginners luck. I won $40 off $5 playing War, I lost $5 on the Roulette table, but I won another $28 off of $5 on the slot machines. I really understand how people get addicted to gambling. I kept winning on the machines I didn’t want to stop but Nae wasn’t about to let me blow too much money! She always keeps me in check lol.

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The night ended and the next day was bittersweet because I was leaving Nae  heading to Dallas, 2 hours and 45 minutes away (the shortest drive for the whole trip) to visit my other best friend KeKe, which I hadn’t seen since 2010. I was excited to leave but sad at the same time. Once I made it to my KeKe’s house it was like we hadn’t missed a beat. Even though we haven’t seen each other in years we talk very frequently. I didn’t really do a lot in Dallas because KeKe had to work, but I did get a chance to go to a Cajun restaurant Razoo’s. I tried the Jambalaya pasta and a Swamp Thing drink which is a Hurricane and Margarita mixed, it was so good! I had to remind myself to drink slowly lol. Even though I didn’t do as much in Dallas like I did in Shreveport I still had a good time hanging out with my best friend, her children and her siblings.

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California Here I come!

 California was still another 24 hours away from Dallas, luckily my step dad was able to fly into Dallas to help drive with me the rest of the way home. We only had two states left to go through which was New Mexico and Arizona. It took us forever to get out of Texas, well it seemed like all the states took a long time. New Mexico was pretty, it gave me a Native American vibe. It was dark when I got there and I fell asleep so I didn’t snap any photos there. Driving through Arizona I didn’t realize the state was full of mountains (this was my first time going through these states.) I was so happy to see the welcome to California sign I didn’t know what to do with myself! This was a long drive and my step dad drove the whole way by himself! I know what you’re thinking and of course I asked him about 20 million times if he wanted me to help drive but he refused. My step dad drives trucks for a living so he’s pretty good when it comes to driving. He’s the real MVP!

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So that was my journey in a nutshell. The main things I want you to take away from this journey (besides all the fun I had) are sometimes you have to take a step back to get where you want to go. I’m not thrilled about moving back in with my parents but it gives me a chance to focus on me. My finances, my career, and my goals. Being home will give me a chance to see what California has to offer as an adult and get reacquainted with my immediate family. So much can change when you’re away from home and sometimes you have to reestablish relationships and build new ones. I hope you take a page out of my book and make a change! Don’t let fear hold you back. While I’m still in my selfish 20’s I’m going to stumble across life’s journey but I will always get back up and continue what I set out to do!

Xoxo China

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