God, the longer I live the more I feel I need to experience a world-class city. I research ways I might like to broaden my social horizons, and I find things like the Apollo Circle, which would be exactly the sort of thing I’d like to try…if I lived anywhere even remotely near New York, which I don’t, so too bad for me. And so on and so forth, with all but the most limited of social or economic opportunities: a place like Los Angeles, New York, or London has a staggering abundance of them, along with the sort of attractive, intelligent, sophisticated, artsy, cosmopolitan people I like (and usually get along great with!); a place like Miami has some selection to choose from; but a lesser city, including the one nearest to me? One notch above a literal wasteland, really. It’s not the sort of place for me, and having to spend my days in environs that all cater to those of more basic tastes makes me feel very lonely.
Perhaps that’s why I intend as early as next month to finally do my road trip to see the Desert Southwest and the Pacific Ocean. Indeed, that was one of my biggest goals for 2023, along with earning my Master’s of Business Administration from Western Governors University. By the end of this year, I’ll be an MBA who’s been to California! Yay me!
Not so “yay me!” is the way I’m going to see it. One day in Los Angeles, another day on the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco, and two days on Highway 395 through the Sierra Nevada to Las Vegas. Doing everything I might like to do would take weeks (maybe longer…), my financial resources are limited, and I’m not entirely sure how much I’ll like it, so I’m playing it very conservatively, just hitting the essentials to get a good feel for the region. I suspect I will like it, though; indeed, I’m half-seriously worrying that I might not ever want to come back.
Way back in the 1960s a bunch of distant cousins of mine decided they’d just go see California, and once they did they all decided they’d just move there permanently; only three of them even so much as collected their stuff from back home! In my case Miami is the only city I’ve ever been to that I actually like, and I like what I’ve seen of the American West so far; stands to reason I might love Los Angeles.
Enjoying myself while I can
It honestly worries me that my twenties are pretty much over (I turn 29 next month), yet I’ve never spent any of my youth in a place that I like and can nurture someone like me, someplace where I can find real friends I have a lot in common with and even, I dare to dream, a beloved, and there’s a good chance I won’t call such a scene home before the age of 40, if ever. God, I’m turning into my aunt in more ways than one (defying the usual trope that people turn into their parents…); she was such a worrier, and, perhaps ominously, she never really got anywhere in life.
I’d need a financial miracle to truly rescue my youth, but within reach by the age of 30 is at least seeing Los Angeles and New York City. Also within reach is earning an MBA. If I go to the northwest and explore the northeast, I’ll have visited all 48 contiguous states; that feat is also within reach.
Looking past my excursions this year, I daydream more and more about going and exploring Europe while I’m still young, even if, like my California trip will be, it’s not the perfect experience of my imaginings; at this point in my life it’s more important for me to just go. Maybe I should have made it much more of a priority than I have, and should greatly step up my traveling regimen, especially now that we’re in the lockdown era and the option to travel at all, in conditions however undignified, can no longer be taken for granted.
Learning from Twitter: yes, Really
One thing I realize more and more the longer I live is that although I find it stressful and exhausting I actually like traveling; I always ultimately feel better after I go on a trip, even if I have to sleep in my car (!), and I always get a lot out of the experience, even if it’s just sightseeing in touristy areas. Apparently that’s not a universal feeling. Online discourse on right-wing Twitter these days practically denigrates anyone who’s the traveling type, probably part of the general move downmarket by the conservative movement; no offense intended, but the movement increasingly appeals to and even consists of rather dumb, simple, insensitive types. After all, the vaunted “socially conservative churchgoing family-oriented blue-collar patriots” aren’t the sort of people who travel much or like anything or anyone different (such as tourists). And they call other people NPCs…
Anyway, I know it’s not the most wholesome place to get your information, but it’s striking to me that such people even exist in the first place. I sort of knew at an super-abstract intellectual level that people like that were out there somewhere, but until recently I never had an up-close and visceral understanding of how people like that actually think and feel about travel and tourism. Ironically, exchanges such as the image from Twitter below make me more motivated to travel.
And contemplating the possibilities in the truly first-tier cities in the distant parts of the United States or even overseas make me much more motivated to scout them out and make myself at home in them. In the near future realistically that will consist of me spending more time out of my year traveling to such places, with the ideal being to transition to making them my abodes on a more permanent basis as my finances improve. These places tend to be horrifyingly expensive, but I just might make it to my goal in my thirties. I have a nest egg and am currently burnishing my skillset to start my own business, which will likely drastically increase my income; since my basic expenses are covered already, even $50,000 a year could vault me up into the “globe-trotting part-time global-city-denizen” league, and amounts to a great motivation for me to go to work.
My dreams of relocation and my hatred of my home region make me very wary of putting down any real roots where I am now. I’ve seen too many people find significant others who were local and ended up trapped, usually with children. That’s not going to be me. My children — and yes, I’m going to have children, with a beloved if possible, as a single parent by choice if necessary — are going to be raised in a sophisticated cosmopolitan place with the best opportunities and people, everything I was denied as a youth.
I really couldn’t have done much better with my youth than I actually did, and that makes me even more seething than I would have been anyway at the “life” I’ve led, but I’ve still got a chance to make something of myself before it’s too late, and I intend to take it.