I quit my job about 2 months ago. There were a few reasons but the big one was I had reached a point where I wasn't sure if I was doing what I wanted to anymore. I felt like I was just keeping my career path because I was making decent money and it would be irresponsible to leave it without something else lined up. I was kind of trapped because it's hard to figure out what you want to do with your life when your working full time and there's no real motivation to find something else because you already have something that supports you. Then I realized that I have no one depending on me, and a bunch of money in my savings, and I'm a pretty smart guy so I could probably afford to take a break and figure stuff out. So I did.
For a long time (feels like most of my life but I don't know how accurate that is) I've wanted to drive across the country and back. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to do that and clear my head, hopefully I'd figure out what to do with my life along the way but if nothing else I'd accomplish something I'd always wanted to. I planned an outline of my trip and figured it would take about a month to see a few things along a loop around the country.
Day 1 - Tuesday, May 30th: The first few days were going to be mostly about driving, I felt like I had a good feel for a lot of the eastern parts of the country and really wanted to experience the west half. I left home in New York about 9AM and drove straight through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. I made it to Fort Wayne, Indiana that night to share a hotel with my sister and brother in law, they were planning on going on another trip from Nashville to the Northeast. I didn't do too much else that day, but when I got to Fort Wayne I found this kind of cool overlook of a quarry.
Day 2 - Wednesday, May 31st: This day was again mostly about driving. I left Fort Wayne and got pulled over for speeding about an hour later. The officer was very friendly and let me off with a warning, and I didn't get pulled over again on the entire trip. I guess I really slowed down (until I got back to New York). I drove through the rest of Indiana, Illinois straight through Chicago at lunch time - which was the last traffic I hit until the West Coast, and into Wisconsin. This is the first state on this trip that I had never been to before, so I spent some more time here. Then I drove through southern Minnesota and into Sioux Falls, South Dakota where I spent my second night.
Day 3 - Thursday, June 1st: Today was less driving. I just had to get across South Dakota to meet up with some friends in Rapid City. We were going to spend the next couple of days together around the Black Hills and the Badlands. We met up in the early afternoon, explored a touristy village where you can kind of see Mount Rushmore and rode an alpine slide. Then we headed over to the Badlands and spent the rest of the day there.
Day 4 - Friday June 2nd: Today we we went around the Black Hills to see Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore, and the Chapel in the Hills.
Day 5 - Saturday June 3rd: Today was my last day in South Dakota. My friends left early that morning and I headed into the northern part of the Black Hills to Roughlock Falls. I took some pictures there and relaxed a bit before heading into Wyoming to see Devil's Tower. That was a really awesome experience, such a strange feature in the landscape. After that I drove to Buffalo, Wyoming where I would get off the interstate and head into Yellowstone the next morning.
My Route: About 2,300 miles.