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Las Vegas to New York City

I know I’ve got a big day of driving ahead of me and so get up really early and get moving. It feels great to be up before the sun in the cool morning air as I tear down my tent, cook breakfast and move ahead. I put down a few hundred miles before I see the Las Vegas skyline appear on the horizon. The traffic on the interstate crawls to a standstill just as I exit onto Las Vegas Boulevard, better known as “The Strip”.

About ten years ago I stayed at the Luxor, at the southern end of the strip and my memory of the area is spot on. All the major hotels, attractions and elevated walkways are just as I remember them, with thousands of people eagerly getting around. My jaw falls open as I drive the northern end of the strip, a totally different place from ten years ago. I catch every red light as I make my way, allowing plenty of time to stare in awe at the enormity of it all. Buildings and super screens almost entirely cover the road and there are literally hundreds of thousands of people roaming around, at 2pm on a Monday no less. I’m so stunned by the insanity of it all I completely forget to take any photos.

I continue on Interstate 15 all the way into the suburbs of Los Angeles, where I meet up with Jen & Greg, long time family friends. They’ve had a baby boy since I last saw them, and I’m completely engrossed playing with Christopher for an entire day.

My Mum & Dad have recently moved from small town Australia to New York City, their adventurous children apparently rubbing off on them. The relative closeness now combined with not seeing them for two and a half years means a detour to see them is high on my list of things to do. I leave the Jeep with my friends and set out to fly cross-country for a ten day holiday from my life-holiday 😛

It’s a huge day of traveling for me and I have a few experiences that stick out:

  • I find for the first time in my life I’m quite apprehensive about flying. When I think about it for a while it occurs to me I’ve been completely in control of my own destination for the last four months, and I am not comfortable giving that up.
  • Lunch and dinner are both served to me in plastic containers wrapped in plastic containers wrapped in … you get the idea. When I’m finished, the un-used salt, pepper, hot sauce, ketchup & napkins are all mindlessly swept into the trash. I’m dumbfounded by this needless waste and it occurs to me I have just used up more resources in two meals than I normally would in a week. I watch as the same story is repeated over and over for every person on the plane.
    I don’t know why the world works like this, and I really hope we can change sooner rather than later.
  • I finish reading “Travels with Charlie” by John Steinbeck, a throughly enjoyable account of Steinbeck’s road trip around America in 1960. He does a fantastic job describing the personality of such a journey that makes me smile from ear to ear.
  • I read “The Last Lecture” from start to finish in about two and a half hours and am very strongly affected by it. When Randy Pausch learnt he had terminal cancer he decided to give his last lecture, titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”. It’s an amazing book, which I think everyone should read as soon as possible.
    You can read more of Randy’s story at www.thelastlecture.com

My eyes are drooping when I finally get to Mum & Dad’s apartment in Manhattan, which does nothing to lessen the jubilant mood we find ourselves in at 1am.
There is lots to say about New York City, until then I’ll leave you with a photo I took from the Brooklyn Bridge, with a 30 second exposure. The big bright light on the left is the moon simple smile

new york city 639x480

New York City skyline as seen from the Brooklyn Bridge

-Dan

26 Responses

  1. Scott T says:

    NYC is a big change from the wild places you’ve been in lately. It’s still a fun place for a few days. The Pausch story is a real inspiration. I suggest the video as well. I’m sure it can be found on YouTube. If you don’t sob up a few times…

  2. Nashville says:

    Your in New York? You were in the middle of your “adventure”? I didn’t know you were gonna stop and fly across the country to the biggest metropolitan area in the world? Now, your going to need to explain that you didn’t actually drive the 50,000 from Alaska to South of the equator at one time. You stopped in the middle and took a two week break and flew across the country to wine and dine in New York with the fam. I can’t lie Dan…I’m a little dissapointed. I understand the need to see your parents, but meet them in Mexico or something. I feel like I just found out that Chris from into the Wild was actually staying at the Hilton Inn in Fairbanks instead of the magic bus? ouch. a Break???? weak!!!! Might as well have a chic dinner at Tavern on the Green and then head to the mall for some cool new clothes.

    I’m out, Dan. Have a safe trip.

    • Dan says:

      Ouch! You cut me deep 😛

    • Mike says:

      Nashville,

      I agree, taking a detour to NYC on an airplane is a disruption to the flow of Dan’s adventure. It loses some of its magic somehow.

      But I think it is worth it.

      I think Dan has learnt from Chris’s story (into the wild) the importance of keeping in contact with loved ones. Chris put his family through hell because he didn’t ever contact them. Dan is not making this mistake, and if that means a hiccup in his trip, i say it is a good hiccup.

      Mike

      • Dan says:

        Mike – it’s not that I disagree with you, but that’s not exactly how I feel.
        The ‘trip’ is exactly what I want it to be on any given day. If I decide to stay in a 4 star hotel and order room service for a week then thats exactly waht I’m going to do. I’m not hell bent on driving to TDF as fast as possible and doing nothing other than hiking/camping/adventuring the whole time.
        I’m going to live my life exactly how I want to, driving to TDF is just an excuse to have an awesome time, it’s not always the awesome time itself.

    • luke says:

      actually this guy in his essay “how to drop out” has some pretty good pints to make on this subject: http://ranprieur.com/essays/dropout.html

      relevant bits copied and pasted, because nobody bothers to follow links:

      “Drop out” is a bad metaphor, because it implies you are either in or out. In reality, no one has ever been in or out — everyone is somewhere in between. The most pathetic office drone still has forbidden dreams, and the most extreme mountain man still has commerce with society. Your mission is to find a niche, somewhere in this range, where you’re not held over a barrel by a system that gives you no participation in power.

  3. Brian from New Jersey says:

    Hi Dan, found this blog via your magic blog entry off a google search and have been following you ever since. I think its really awesome what you’re doing!

    Everyone is entitled to their opinions and I understand where the poster “Nashville” (which on a sidenote is an awesome city, lived there this summer) is coming from. However, I think its great that you’re taking a break from your adventure to spend time with your parents. I don’t have the best family situation and my mom is really ill right now and I wish I had that type of relationship with my parents. Plus the vibe I get is that this trip is all about living life to its fullest without a specific structure or planning and just doing what you see fit. With that said enjoy your time with your family and NYC…though if you get a chance venture in New Jersey do it, its the best : )

    • Dan says:

      Hey Brian – you are 100% correct.
      I did not set out to drive all the way south and do nothing along the way.. the whole point of the adventure is that I’m doing exactly what I want with my life, every day. Maybe today that’s driving somewhere, maybe tomorrow that’s something else – I honestly don’t know, but I do know I’m going to have fun, whatever I choose to do.
      Calling my trip to NYC a ‘break’ was a bit of a joke actually – how can I take a break from life?

  4. Kris says:

    Hey Dan
    Your picture reminded me of the great time we had checking out NYC way back in 2006, im very jealous man! Reading your blog is great,looks like your having heaps of fun.
    Cheers
    Kris

    • Dan says:

      Kris – everywhere I went in NYC I was reminded of our trip there. It was a great time then & now!
      Great to hear from you, hope you’re doing well.

  5. Ron Parker says:

    You will never please everyone,because everyone is different.You keep doing what you enjoy best,Thats enjoy life and make the most of it.Whatever road you choose south and whatever detour you take along the way it is up to you.Have fun.

  6. brian12566 says:

    That was a bit harsh Nashville. The blog is an adventure…not a pre determined route straight to Mexico. The slogan is: “This IS my life”. Sometimes…life is having to go to NYC and visit the parental units.

    Dan, I am happy you decided to make a left at Arizona to visit your family. I am sorry I missed you while you were here. Would of been cool to meet up with you.

    • Dan says:

      Brian – I’m still not certain Nashville wasn’t joking. We’ll find out if he ever comes back I suppose.
      Maybe I’ll email him…
      It would have been great to meet up & I’m sure we’ll catch up down the road, somewhere.

      • Brian12566 says:

        I hope he was joking….hard to tell on blogs when you can not hear one’s voice inflection. Could have been a tongue in cheek comment. We’ll see if he returns.

  7. The Manger's says:

    Hi Dan,
    We have been following your journey and we wish we were with you.
    We are glad that you have visited your Mum and Dad in New York. That was the highlight of there trip over there as well as spending Xmas as a family at Michaels.
    Say hi to everyone and we are looking forward to keep reading your adventure.
    Stay safe and have heaps of fun

  8. Lisa Rey says:

    Dan,
    I would love to tell your story in a book. Please contact me by email

  9. Rejeana in Alabama says:

    I would have been disappointed if you had chosen to NOT visit your parents!!

  10. Kori says:

    Howdy Dan! I am a friend of Duke’s–he turned me onto your blog and I have been keepin’ up with you since. I go to school at the University of Georgia and was thinking about writing an article about you. I am still thinking about how I want to construct it so once i get there I was hoping I could send you some questions about your quest.

    Also, I am getting into this personal web site thing and was wondering what kind of software you use? I know that is a crazy question, but I really like what you’re running here :) I hope you have a jammin time in the city–they have some great thrift stores–if you talk to the side street vendors they will give you the deets!

    • Dan says:

      Hey Kori, Duke told me you are thinking about writing an article – that would be so great! Absolutely fire any questions you have, I’d love to help out any way I can.
      I’m using WordPress for my blog, which I really like. It does everything I need and has a ton of plugins to make it do anything you can think of. Super easy to use and works great.

  11. Jess says:

    Dan…how is it that you are able to continue to travel all over? How do you afford to do it? You have a vehicle and that needs gas and $$. How do you pay for it all? I’d like to feel the overwhelming sense of freedom that I know comes with traveling adventures…just once even. I feel like I’ve already locked myself down in a life I didn’t necessarily know I was getting into. I just finished reading Into The Wild, and upon looking up more information, I stumbled upon your website. I am insanely jealous to see someone, alive and well, in the present, roaming free, seeing the world. How did you end up as a traveler?

    • Dan says:

      Hey Jess, I haven’t talked too much about money here, I’m still uncertain if I want to. It will probably be a future post.
      I saved for over a year to make this journey, and you would be surprised how cheap it is. My monthly expenses while living and working in a city were almost exactly the same as they are now on the road, including gas.
      I live in my tent, eat very simply and cheaply and get great enjoyment out of the simplest things in life.
      I take personal pride out of enjoying myself without spending any money.

      When you say “locked myself down” I have to wonder what exactly you are referring to? A house and car payments? – you can get out of those very easily if you truly want to. It’s just a matter of how badly you want it.

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