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monahans journal entry

Day 1
Destination: Monahans Sandhill State Park
Mileage: ~484 miles
Time: ~7 hours
Temperature: 70/102F (Low/High)

Every day, I [tried to] keep a journal entry about the trip. Some entries have drawings, some do not. All of them have random notes that may not even make sense to me as I look back at it. I just thought I would share it with you guys. A window into my thought process, what I wanted to remember, and what I needed to get done the next day.

monahanscollage.jpg

The drive wasn’t bad, but it was hot, sandy, and miserable the first day. We woke up feeling sandier than the night before.

“Going poop in a place you don’t know sucks.” -That’s right, I said it (it’s in my notebook so I thought I would address it). I know everyone else is thinking it because it just is!

There were no shower curtains, but at least no one else was at the park.
On the note of showers: never take advantage of showers. Wow, feeling clean can change your mood instantly.
Arturo was the best state park ranger we came to encounter on our trip. He was knowledgeable, let us borrow sand disks fo’ free, and was an all around cool dude. A true wilderness explorer.

PRO Tips for Monahans Sandhill State Park:

  • Rent sand disks, they are worth it. Ask about wax too because wax = speedy speed sand disks. This is my #1 PRO tip. It’s so much fun.
  • Anchor your tent. Apparently there are sandbags around the park to help you anchor your tent- we didn’t see any…but maybe State Park Ranger Michael was lying to us. ANYWAY, make sure it’s anchored before it blows away like our’s did the first time.
  • Bag your phone. If you take it with you up the dunes. You don’t want fine sand in your phone because that could mess it up…right?
  • Wear sunblock. It’s sunny. The fine sand are like prisms that “can burn your butt if you don’t cover it with sunblock.” Arturo’s words, not mine.

 

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west texas cover

After being away from a computer for 7 days, I have had a lot to catch up on and write.
I don’t know if you know this, but I just came back from a 6-day camping trip that features the West Texas desert.

Yes, I did stay at El Cosmico (which doesn’t count as camping at all).
Yes, I saw El Capitan.
And yes, I went to a Minor League baseball game where their mascot is the chihuahua.
And! I had my first AirBnB experience!

More on all of these as they will all get their own descriptive, detailed posts. Today, today we talk about the beginning, which I’m calling Day 0.

This day includes: packing for the trip, and giving you a lowdown of what the next few posts will look like.

We had no idea what to expect, here are some PRO tips and road trip essentials:

  • Make a list for your groceries, your supplies [esp. your tech stuff], your clothes, etc. So you can keep track, so you don’t lose anything, and you know what’s dirty/clean. (Pack a “dirty clothes” bag too!!)
  • Make breakfast tacos on Day 0. I know I’ve pushed this tip since my Colorado/New Mexico road trip, but it really helps for those lazy mornings.
  • COFFEE DRINKERS. I love to grind my own coffee beans right before I pour the water, but it’s a lot easier when I just did it all on Day 0, and then brought along the ground coffee beans for the next days. Also, don’t ever underestimate bringing your awesome coffee, s/o to Cuvée. My homies.
  • Over-packers. Because this is me sometimes. Pack all the stuff you [think you] want, then break it down and eliminate. There is a very high chance that you won’t wear everything. I don’t know if I’ll ever get this just right, but I’m getting there.
  • Music-listeners. Be well-equipped and well-supplied for your trip. Make your playlists offline, burn cd’s, add more tracks to your iTunes. I love my playlists and listened to them 20 times over, but I wish I made more offline because I barely had cell service!
  • Weekenders. If you are camping on a weekend, might I suggest booking your campsite beforehand? Because Hannah and I definitely didn’t realize this and had no place to stay on Saturday. We had to go drive home because of it. More on that later.

I think this is what I remember and what I can say about packing and Day 0.

The next few days will feature each place we stopped at which include: Monahans Sandhill State Park, Pecos, Guadalupe Mountain National Park, El Paso, Fort Davis, Marfa, Marathon, Big Bend National Park, and a touch of Balmorhea. I’ll have pictures and PRO Tips, the typical travel post format. Also included with no extra charge: commentary on how Hannah and I felt and dumb things we came up with, you’ll see.

Until next time,
Thu

the beginning of everything

The thing about gold is that it easily tarnishes.

And after I read that sentence, I was sold on the book. The Beginning of Everything was everything I never thought I would like or read. It’s fiction, which is “red flag” #1. It’s in a high school setting, which is #2. Although now that I think about it, most of the fiction books that I do read…are all set in high school (with the exception of East of Eden).

Anyway, aside from the fact that this was a book I unexpectedly read…I also read it all in one day. And that’s one thing that I like about fiction books, they’re quick reads. There’s just something about not being able to wait.

So, The Beginning of Everything talks about personal tragedies.

Personal tragedies in the sense of the typical high school tragedies: boy steal girl, girl hate, high school romance, debate team drama, etc.
And then there are other personal tragedies specific to this book like self-esteem, death, trauma, and feeling like an outcast.

I wondered what things became when you no longer needed them, and I wondered what the future would hold once we’d gotten past our personal tragedies and proven them ultimately survivable.

Whether it’s that boy-steal-girl tragedy, or death-in-the-family tragedy, I think we subconsciously ask ourselves this. Personally, it took me a long time to get over the death of my grandma. When this tragedy proved itself to be survivable, I almost asked myself, “But how?” Almost feeling guilty of the fact that I survived emotionally, when in the literal sense, my grandma did not.

Doesn’t this sound like a real catch of a book? It really is. I really enjoyed it.

The book also quotes Mary Oliver, “Tell me what is it you plan to do/With your one wild and precious life?”

In this current chapter of my life, I ask myself this question in a variety of ways, practically every single day only coming to a very vague and ambiguous answer. And now I’m asking and wondering to myself, “This part of my life seems like it won’t end and it’s kind of terrible (It’s not that terrible). My new personal tragedy of this post grad life. But I know it will end, and I will survive, and then what?”

So, I have this folder on my Bookmarks Bar called, “To Read.”
As you know, I do read a lot/most things, but not everything (who can though?). I also Bookmark things so that I can read it later…
…well it’s piled up and I have a feeling that something in the folder could help me in the job search or self-esteem or creative rut, etc.

To clean up this folder and keep my learning gears running, I’m going to commit to reading 5 articles, writing notes, hyperlinking them, and posting them on here. I think I’m going to call this series “TL;TR,” which means “Too Long; Thu Reads.” I’ll do it weekly until I run out of articles.

too long; thu reads

Sorry if you’ve seen these links from X years ago, X months ago, X days ago. I’ve had this folder for a while. I also don’t remember how I’ve come across some of these articles, soooo. And last disclaimer or preface because I just read the first article in this folder: This is super revealing of what I Bookmark, and I feel vulnerable.

With that said, here are my first 5 articles, starting from the very top, enjoy!

  • My Posthumous Advice for My Daughter
    Notes: Be nice.
    Nine times out of ten, you’re not having a full-on nervous breakdown (this is true).
    Choose your friends. Ask questions.
    Life stories categorize themselves in “amazing, enjoyable times” or “appalling experiences that will make future amazing anecdotes.”
    “Host extravagantly, love constantly, and dance in comfortable shoes.”
  • In 20 Words or Less, What’s Your Creative Philosophy?
    Notes: This article asks San Francisco creatives…because it’s from the SF Egoist.
    This article has a ton of creative philosophies, this is probably why I stopped reading *scrolls and scrolls and scrolls.*
    I like the people at Argonaut, how do I get there?
    Notable creative philosophies: Creativity isn’t chronological. -Conal O’Doherty, Head of Growth at Argonaut
    Encompassing philosophy: Collaboration.
  • REALiSM
    Notes: This article features a collection of graphics that depict…realism. It’s worth scrolling through if you’re not looking for something text-heavy. Lots of 20th Century vs. 21st Century comparisons.
  • Kat Cole: From Hooters Girl to the Corner Office
    Notes: Under 40 years old, and she’s running Cinnabon. Um, okay. Before 25, she was traveling internationally to oversee global management training, working [corporate] for Hooters. It’s one of those stories, but who doesn’t love a good story?
  • 11 Life Lessons You Get From Shopping at Target
    Notes: Well this is a touch embarrassing, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t an avid ThoughtCatalog reader a couple of years ago. It’s a black hole that can suck you in if you’re not careful. I had to know what these “life lessons” could be, I had no idea there was anything to learn from shopping at Target except for the fact that it is also a black hole. I never get anything I’m supposed to at this place…and this is basically what the article talks about.

So…this was longer than I intended. Maybe I’ll just do one-liners next time? Thoughts? Concerns? Comments? Leave something below as I read the next 5 articles, and prep for next week!

Yeah, I’m going to do one of these posts because I think I have pretty ok credentials.**
**My credentials include: Boarding 6 planes and 3 trains in 19 days.

Plus, you love me so you’re going to read on.
Extra plus, I love you so I’m going to put it in list form because everyone LoVeS lists.

travel advice thutexas

Thu’s Extra-Awesome Travel Advice:

  1. Make a list of your tech stuff. Because we’re in that era now. So for example: “Kindle, laptop, phone.” Then you add “+ charger” next to it. That way you don’t forget any of your tech things and their charger counterparts. It worked for me! (I only forgot a scarf…)
  2. Bring/buy an external charger. …Or you can be like me and stand next to a random electrical outlet in the middle of Pike Place Market charging your phone. Do whatever you’re comfortable with and what your budget allows, but I would try and get an external charger (like this Jackery one, thanks J for the tip!). PROtip for iPhone users: If you’re phone is in ‘Airplane Mode,’ it charges faster!!)
  3. It’s ok, most things are replaceable. I actually had to buy contact solution twice. Mostly because I don’t check my bags and that limits me to 3oz. travel sizes, but why would I want to carry around a full size? There’s a Target in California, Washington and Oregon- did you know that? Don’t worry if you don’t think you have enough or forgot something- it’s almost always replaceable (but make sure you have your tech stuff, look back at #1).
  4. Embrace your tourism, but don’t be obnoxious. You can’t be a local everywhere you go- or at least, that’s what I’ve come to learn about myself. I LOVE blending in, and I tried really hard to blend in during my trip. But sometimes, you’re going to have to get over it, and ask that other tourist to take your tourist pictures. It’s fine, we ALL do it. Plus, I love saying that I’m from Texas…and that’s definitely a Texas thing.
  5. Roll with the punches. This kind of goes along with embracing your tourist-ness and getting over it. There will be problems, I went through a few problems myself on “Thu Goes West,” but 1) I don’t really remember them because the good trumps the bad and 2) I rolled with the punches. Go on a trip, you’ll see what I mean. Maybe. I don’t know.
  6. HYDRATE. I can’t stress this enough. If you read about my trip, you know that I threw up on one of the planes. It happens, but a good preventative measure for nausea is hydration. Drink a lot of water the day before you get on a plane. Drink a lot of water before you get on the plane (the day of travel). Drink a lot of water on the plane. Just drink a lot of water, ok?! Don’t be like me who neglected it and then suffered.

So…these are my extra awesome, amazing travel tips and advice I can give to anyone who is about to go on a trip. Let me know if I’m missing anything.
Until next time!

P.S. If you’re interested in travel advice pertaining to Amtrak trains, you can look here and here.

thugoeswest profile

Hi. Today is America’s birthday and I wore this.

Also, today is day 50. I’m starting the title of this post just like I did for day 1: wait, what?

Because WAIT, WHAT?

Fifty days didn’t really breeze by, but it floated by at a quicker pace. You blink and it all happens.
It = Fifty-days of post grad. Not that this is the end, not that I’m employed, but it’s the end of this challenge. Woof.
(If you want to read all of my posts, I put it all on this page. You’re welcome.)

Tomorrow, I get on a plane and by the evening, I will be home. Or at least, my parent’s house.

What’s next? I have no idea. Society (and my parents) say it’s time to get down to business and find a job. Probs.
How do I feel? Different. Some of the different I feel is unexplainable. Some of the different…I want to blog about later because it’s kind of late. But the travel jitters…I know I won’t get as much sleep as I want.
I also feel very thankful and grateful. My experience has been unlike any other. It would have been completely different had I went with someone, stayed with someone [else], stayed in a hotel, went to the east coast, etc etc etc. I’m very lucky to have had the opportunity to go on this trip. I’m pretty brave, I think, to go on this trip by myself. I learned a lot. Every place I visited was unlike each other, even down to the sidewalks (I’m speaking metaphorically).

HUGE, TREMENDOUS THANKS AND FEELS TO:
Mom and Dad & Baby Jesus
Shae, Lamar & Co.
My Aunt/Godmom
Jaime
Kristy and Jeff
My brother and  cousins
Lindy, my virtual West Coast tour guide
Meagan and Bethany
Anh Vinh
Public transit, TSA, the multiple Union Stations, and multiple airports
And the West Coast for being welcoming (I GUESS)
Also, Google Maps
Also also, coffee

But seriously, I owe these people. I would have been homeless, culture-less, and hungry otherwise.

Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world, you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life -and travel- leaves marks on you. Most of the time, these marks -on your body or on your heart- are beautiful. Often, they hurt.

Anthony Bourdain really says it best.

Tomorrow #thugoeshome.

 

So I arrived in Oakland//San Fran// Hayward//Bay-area last night at around 11:30PM-ish?
I waved to the wrong car, it’s totally cool.

Today was TOURIST DAY. Lots of walking, lots of talking. Lunching, catching up, and introducing.

kristy thugoeswest

Haven’t seen this girl in 1yr? or more?! Crazy how we’ve kept in touch.

Today was the transitional day. You know, when you get oriented with where you are, who you’re with, what you’re doing. I think I’m still orienting myself. I didn’t have to do much in terms of “figuring it out,” so I’m still a bit of a lost puppy. Tomorrow will sort of be the same way, I didn’t realize how many people I actually know who are in this area/coming to this area. It also didn’t come to my attention [until now] that I don’t have much time here either. Time is slut, and on a slightly lighter note, you’re not guaranteed tomorrow…so you know, make the best etc etc etc.

galette 88 thugoeswest

Galette 88. Isn’t that welcoming? I love it.

OH, I have some notes. Let me get my notes *runs to get notes across the room*

  1. We ate lunch at Galette 88. It’s in an alley, but it’s hella nice. They serve crepes.
    PS: There’s woodgrain, white walls, and a chalkboard menu. I felt VERY LOCAL.
  2. I waved to A LOT of Segway Tour people…they didn’t wave back to me.
  3. People queue to get on the BART when it’s time to go home. Civil, much?
  4. I love [good] public transportation. I only hope that one day, Austin will be like that. Dream big.
  5. On the note of public transportation: what would people do without phones? Everyone was glued. I took notes on those people so….
  6. I saw Alcatraz [from afar] today. Also, Fisherman’s Wharf. Also, Boudin. Also, the whole waterfront. Also, the Explorium (Note to self: go there next time). Also, Pier 39. Also, lots of things. Do you get the picture?

Feeling #blessed, and well regular blessed because yeah, I’m very, very lucky. Shit.

P.S. How do y’all like my hair? I want to grow it out, but also short hair is cool. Should it be shorter? I don’t know, travel changes you.