digital nomad

Mapping My Adventures

So, I was laid up with a cold for five days last week, which meant I got through a lot of knitting, three seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and a whole bunch of tinkering around on my laptop. The results: a series of maps and rough mileage estimate for my cross-country digital nomading over the past year. Y’all. I clocked a lot of miles.

Over my years of global adventuring, I’ve come to really appreciate all the reflections my past self saw fit to record. It’s neat to come back to old blog posts and peek into the thoughts, feelings, and experiences I opted to write down. So, this post is more for my future self than anything. (Since I don’t have a printer and can’t embed maps in my journal). But if y’all want a visual for where I’ve been since November of 2018, here it be.

The first leg of my trip took me from Greenville, SC to northern California, and then down to Las Vegas for Christmas. This map comes from my post about that first month on the road. That feels so incredibly long ago now. (11/03/18 – 01/04/2019).

Not pictured is my flight from Vegas to Pittsburgh, where I spent the month of January (01/04 – 02/03). Since I was finally in the same place for several weeks, I actually managed to do some writing in that month. Kudos to me!

After arriving back in Vegas at the beginning of February, I had to scramble to get my week’s work done in three days so I could hit the road for Portland. As a child of the desert, it hadn’t occurred to me that I might have to contend with snow on the roads. In order to avoid learning how to put chains on my tires, I had to leave before snow hit the pass in southern Oregon.

I spent six weeks crashing with family in Portland, running half marathons (some good, some bad, and some ugly), exploring the city, and getting over the sticker shock of housing costs. It was toward the end of this segment of the journey that I decided to make Portland my next hometown. But, I didn’t feel ready to settle and still had to get back to South Carolina to wrap things up there. So, I packed myself up, took myself to Boise for a couple weeks, and wound my way back down to Vegas. (02/07 – 03/29)

From Vegas, I had a brief jaunt back to the east coast (again via plane) for a conference, (and this is when my travel writing really began to falter). Since I was on that side of the country again, I decided to rent a car, visit some friends in Maryland, check a race off my bucket list, and explore a new city. Richmond, VA was new to me, and in the three days I spent there, it made its way onto my list of favorite cities in the U.S. Will definitely be running the Richmond Half for my Virginia race. (04/03 – 04/15)

After another flight back to Vegas, it was time to head east by road again. The next four months were pretty bananas in terms of how much I bounced around from place to place. Being the crazy running fool that I am, I plotted my route east by picking races that seemed appealing and checking a few more states off my list. This resulted in some very long days of driving and a somewhat meandering route. Over the course of three weekends, I plotted out races in South Dakota, Pennsylvania, and then Wisconsin… not really a linear course of travel, but a little zig-zagging never hurt anyone.

Given that I didn’t stay anywhere for more than a week between April 25 and June 27, it’s no wonder I wore myself out. I left Vegas the end of April, giving myself just two days to get from Nevada to Sioux Falls, SD… It was an intense two days. I spent three nights in Sioux Falls then hit the road back to Pittsburgh. From there, I planned to head over to Wisconsin to visit a variety of friends and family. And, given that I’d never been to Indianapolis, I decided to make a two night pit stop on my way from Pittsburgh to Stevens Point, WI. (04/25 – 05/08)

From Indianapolis, I made my way up to do a bit of a mini-tour of Wisconsin. I ran the Kings and Queens Half Marathon in Pewaukee, then drove to Stevens Point to visit a friend. Then it was back across the state to La Crosse to stay with another friend. At this point, I had planned to head down to Chicago for a few days before continuing on to Toronto, but I hit something of a travel wall and needed a break. (5/08 – 5/23)

I stayed in La Crosse for a lovely, relaxing week, which is what prepared me to be able to say yes to a spontaneous trip to Panama! (05/23 – 06/02) Thankfully, there was a bus from Madison to Chicago (for my flights), so I was able to bookend the Panama trip with a few nights at my aunt and uncle’s place in Madison. Then, it was on the road again with an epically long drive from Madison to Kitchener, Ontario for a very brief visit with a dear friend. (06/03-06/08)

After just a couple of days in Canada, I headed south for a mini-tour of the east coast. I spent five days cat-sitting in Boston (and learned that I never want to drive in Boston again so long as I shall live). Boston was so overwhelming, in fact, that I opted to cut my visit short by a couple days and gift myself a weekend retreat in the countryside of Connecticut. I spent a glorious two nights in West Granby, CT and now understand what all the fuss is about. Connecticut is really, really pretty. From there, I continued down to Brooklyn for a ten day stay with my wonderful friends in Bed-Stuy. Driving in Brooklyn is a vast improvement over Boston, even if I did end up with a very expensive parking ticket. (06/09-06/25)

Then it was time to head back down South to get my house ready to sell…

After landing back in Greenville, I spent the next two weeks in a whirlwind of packing and prepping — getting my house on the market and myself back on the road as quickly as possible. Being back in Greenville was difficult, and I was happy to leave it behind again. My stuff is all in storage there, though, so it’s not the last I’ll see of SC.

I took my time heading west again, stopping for almost two weeks in Austin and exploring a few new cities along the route. I finally made it to Marfa (overrated) and made a spontaneous detour to Santa Fe (quite delightful). After repeat pit stops to visit family and friends in Vegas, Rancho Cucamonga, and northern California, I finally landed in Portland on August 12. (07/09-08/12)

By the magic of technology, all this adds up to 257 hours of driving and 16,551 miles (at an average speed of 64/mph, because I can do basic math!).

Of course, that’s just the minimum. Google doesn’t factor in the hourly pit stops (because my knee gets achey if I sit too long), the detours, the in-city driving, and all the inevitable minutia of long-distance driving.

So, to make it easier to chat about, I’m going to call it 300 hours in the car and 17,000 miles of road trip.

Holy smokes. That’s quite a year.

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Categories: digital nomad, Travel

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