The Drive from LA to VA
Updated: Feb 2, 2019
Hello Everyone! Welcome to Blog #11. I just returned from shooting 'Till Death Do Us Part in Oak Island, NC. What a great set to be on surrounded by an amazing cast and crew. I couldn't have been more blessed. Next step? I had a few auditions this past week, while I was on set, and I should have an audition this Monday. I'll be on set tonight for a network TV show and the episode for my lead role as Connie Navarro in Murder In The Family will be released on the REELZ network this Saturday at 9PM. Step by step here.
Yesterday I spent about an hour writing a blog about my work on 'Till Death Do us Part, but I figured I'll take a step back from talking about my work and I'll talk about some adventures where I spend money instead of make money... eh, why not?
So yes, spending money. Although this isn't a blog about spending money, I guess this is a nice transition... When making the move back to VA, yes I did spend money. Okay yeah this transition doesn't work. Okay transitions are hard, I'm just going to jump in.
Why Did I Move Back?
After living in Los Angeles for three months then moving to and living in San Francisco for two months, my plan was to return back to Los Angeles, and many of my classmates in San Francisco encouraged me to do so. However, I just wasn't happy in LA. All I wanted was to be happy, and even though in LA chasing my dream and the weather was great, I just wasn't happy there. Throughout my training in San Francisco, I kept hearing people saying how important it is to be in a place where you are happy and I decided to lesson to them.
I was on the phone with my parents when it occurred to me and I said it aloud, "I think I'm going to move back to the east coast." My first thought was, 'okay I'll move to New York, that way I can be only a train ride from my family and friends.' Then I thought, 'why don't I just stay home? I'll save up some money, then I'll go back to acting school, or I'll make the move back to LA or go to New York if that's where the wind takes me.' That's exactly what I did. Since I've had that talk with my parents back in June, my plans haven't changed, I've been home since August. I couldn't have made a better decision.
Being at home, I have earned back almost all the money I lost when I was in LA, I've stayed safe, I've been close to family and friends, and I have made strides in my career that may have been impossible to do so in LA. Being here, I can access all the same auditions I got when I was in LA, thanks to the internet. People here are also much nicer. Once the opportunity comes to move back to one of the hotspots, I'll go. In the meantime, riding the wave in the DMV acting market, isn't half bad.
Once I made the decision to go back home for a bit, I decided I might as well cross something off my bucket list, a cross country trip.
Crossing This Off My Bucket List
I called up the one person I thought would love this trip as much as I would, Luke. He was instantly in. So far, we were one month in without seeing each other, and one more month to go, until we were reunited. Working out this trip was very difficult, finding out which routes to take, where we wanted to go, what time we had. It was tricky. He worked a full-time job back in Pennsylvania so taking off work was hard. After figuring everything out, we came up with nine days to do this 3,888 mile trip. Let's go.
We made a Google Slide planning everywhere we want to go: San Francisco, Napa Valley, Yosemite National Park, Dead Horse State Park, Bryce Canyon, Salt Lake City, Yellowstone National Park, Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, Spook Cave, Grotto of the Redemption
and Chicago, then all the way back to Pennsylvania.
We managed to hit all those places except Dead Horse State Park, Bryce Canyon, Spook Cave, and Grotto of the Redemption.
So We Go..
Nine days was not enough to see all that we wanted to see and be where we wanted to be. We managed to save money by camping everywhere or sleeping in my car, and cooking over a fire every night, then saving that meal for lunch the next day. Our diet consisted of delicious firepies and hotdogs, s'mores, gourmet firetop mac n cheese, and spaghetti. We managed to see most of what we wanted to see by barely sleeping. We got a few hours of sleep a night and then swapped off who drove and who slept in our very long car rides. We saw most of the country through the windows of the car. Which was effective! Our longest car ride ended up being twelve hours, we usually managed about a six hour car ride twice a day. We ended up burning out by the end of the trip, but if I could, I'd do it all again twice.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was pulling over in the middle of Yosemite just to run through a meadow surrounded by mountains. It looked like a scene out of Sound of Music. It felt like a dream. -Luke Slater
Through sleep deprivation and often being hungry and spending way too much money (or to us teenagers, thinking we have), the trip was filled with my best memories yet. We laughed, we adventured, we danced by a fire under the stars... our phones were never in service. A complete isolation from the busy world that sometimes consumes us. There were nights we had to wear multiple layers of clothing under six layers of blankets and we still froze ourselves. There were nights the bugs ate us so bad we couldn't sleep. There were times the firewood was too damp we couldn't sustain a fire to stay warm or eat. But honestly, because I had my best friend beside me, those didn't even seem like problems. I know that's so cheesy but it is just so true! We always sang as loud as we could in the car or made up games that don't even exist.
We took way too many pictures and videos, but looking back I think it might've been too little. I am grateful that were we able to see the trip through our own eyes rather than our phone screens. To truly live and breathe that air is something so refreshing. We decided to purchase cheap disposable cameras to capture the trip, now that film is being processed.
Experiencing the world from a new unfamiliar point of view with a girl who feels so familiar. -Luke Slater
Problems With The Trip
So this is crazy. Before I went on my cross country trip I was living in San Francisco, as I said. Just a few days before Luke was to arrive to San Francisco, someone broke into my car. I mentioned this in my previous blog post but it was much more of a pain then I can explain. The money used towards fixing my car I was saving for this trip. Just days before that trip and my trip money was gone. I was also stuck in a bad part of town with my rear window gone, trying to make sure I graduated from my training.
Once my rear window got fixed, I kept my car parked at a hotel. Two days before the trip, I went to get my car to go grocery shopping for the trip and the hotel lost the key to my car. The key! For the full day they couldn't find it. Luckily, I had a backup key because I'm smart like that, but there goes $500 gone! I was consistently having problems with the hotel from then on. They didn't find my $500 key until the day before the trip.
On the trip, it was our second day. We were in the Yosemite. I woke up feeling extremely lightheaded and just confused. We were packing up the tent to leave and move on to our next destination when I started feeling very dizzy. I went to sit down on the picnic table and I lost a lot of feeling of sensation and my head fell to the table. Luke kept asking me if I was okay but I had no energy to respond. He tried helping me get up, but I felt very sick, he had to practically carry me to the car as I grabbed on to things around me. I asked him to stop driving and let me out and I sat down for a while, still completely out of it. Minutes later, I felt fine. Back to normal! It was the most bizarre thing... he thought I was acting. Go figure. Later that day we looked at a bag of chips, blown up from the altitude. Altitude sickness is what happened to me! We felt like geniuses when we figured that one out.
This was such an important memory in my life thus far with such an important person. We had absolutely no cares in the world when we came across the prettiest brooks and climbed the most beautiful mountain tops. One day, we'll do the trip again, hopefully when we have a full month or more to complete it. Rather than running around trying to hit every site hour after hour of everyday, perhaps we'll have a week in Yellowstone to hang around and see the beauty.
Thanks for reading everyone!
I am thinking of stopping my blog in 2019. Or at least, stopping weekly blogs. Perhaps a blog here and there, but in whole, slowing down a bit. Let me know your thoughts.
See you next week!