I recently spent 18 months working and road tripping in the United States with my fiancé Arial and it was the best thing I have ever done. Going to the U.S. was never high on my list of places to see as all I wanted to do was go on surf trips to Indonesia, but little did I know the west coast of the U.S. has some amazing waves and other beauties. I didn’t know much at all about the U.S. and what it had to offer but Arial did. She had done lots of research about all the amazing national parks and other natural wonders this country has to offer. We organised our visas booked flights and the next thing you know we arrive in Los Angeles. We a bought a van and the journey began.
We had lined up jobs at a ski resort in California named Mammoth Mountain. The town of Mammoth Lakes is absolutely breathtaking. Situated at 7900 feet above sea level in the Sierra Nevada mountain range this place was like no other I had ever seen. First of all I had never even seen snow before so I was out of my element and in complete awe. On our days off work we snowboarded, hiked, visited frozen lakes, bathed in natural hot springs and did several weekend trips to Las Vegas. It was an amazing four months. We met so many awesome people that have become friends for life. I never in a million years thought I would do something like this and it was only the beginning of many things to come.
We finished up working at the ski resort and hit the road headed for Utah’s national parks. We spent several weeks exploring, Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Arches national parks. We lived out of the van cooking our dinner on our gas cooker living within our needs and it really got me thinking about what life is actually about. Home was where we parked it and we did whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. Not once did we have to worry about what day or time it was. All we worried about was what to do next.
We left Utah and drove to Oregon spending time in Portland and on the Oregon coast where I got to surf in the freezing cold water. It felt absolutely amazing to live on the road and wake up in different places every day. It gave me a whole new perspective on life and what I wanted out of life. I felt free and I felt like my life had meaning. For once in my life I knew what I was doing was right and I never questioned it once.
After a couple months exploring Oregon’s coast and mountains, also doing some work to keep the road tripping dream alive we headed north into Washington state. Washington is absolutely beautiful and the shades of green are beautiful. As soon as we crossed the border into Washington I felt a strong positive vibe from this lush land. We spent time at Mt St Helens and Mt Rainer before making our way to a town called Bellingham where I had lined up some job. We didn’t plan on spending a long time here, we were just going to make some money and keep road tripping, but it turns out that Bellingham stole our hearts and we ended up spending the whole summer there. We spent almost every weekend hiking the stunning Mt Baker and surrounding wilderness. Arial obtained her dream job with the Washington Fish and Wildlife working on research boats around the Orcas Islands. It was the best summer of my life. We lived out of the van the whole time using showers at the local state park and waking up with ocean views every morning. I never thought life could ever be this good and I owed it all to my amazing adventurous fiancé.
After our epic summer we decided to hit the road again and head south back along the Oregon coast all the way to Santa Cruz California. It was truly amazing to drive through so many beautiful historic towns and spend time exploring the coastline. I got to surf a bunch of different waves, many of them all to myself. We visited the gigantic Redwood trees in Northern California and did more hikes than I can count throughout our coastal adventure. We spent time in San Francisco before ending up in Santa Cruz where our life changing road trip came to an end.
I learnt more about life and myself in this 18 months than I have learned in my entire life. It has inspired me to push boundaries and never say never. Something is only impossible until someone does it.
By: Jamie Nicholson
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