(I traveled from Washington DC to Washington State…by train. One of the Best Experiences of my Life)
Some are already aware, but for those who are not, I have recently relocated to beautiful Washington State! I have been wanting to move away for quite some time now. Certain situations have happened in my life in the past couple of months that pushed me to make such a MAJOR change. This was actually one of the biggest decisions I have ever made in my LIFE. I was laid off not too long ago and I sat down with myself and GOD and prayed about what to do next. It’s really amazing how everything worked out to where all things lead to me leaving home. Most people would be down in the dumps but I look at me being laid off as a blessing and an opportunity.Yes, it was a little devastating but, it was not a surprise (you guys know how government contracts work. Time for bids and only one can win). A lot of people asked me “Well, why Washington?” Well, I applied all over the world and the job market is tough. I have never been out of work until now so I can understand what so many Americans are going through. Searching and applying every single day. It’s TOUGH! So, I chose Washington State because I have family here and it’s not the norm I am use to. I’m getting older. The “fast life”, partying etc got old to me a long time ago. Not that I still don’t enjoy a good time but, I’m trying to establish a career and find where I want to settle. I’m at a different place in my life mentally and needed something a little more chill. People seem to choose where they want to live according to what they are accustomed to. That’s all find and dandy, but I wanted something……DIFFERENT. I needed a FRESH START. Just to be clear, this wasn’t a fresh start to “find myself” (I knew who I was before I left home), but a fresh start to gain new experiences, try new things, meet new people. A chance to LIVE. Being laid off is one of the best things that has happened to me in my life. GOD let it happen to give me that extra PUSH. Inside, I wasn’t content with where I was, so HE made it possible for me to change it. (Praise HIM!)
I am SO HAPPY with my decision. This time off has been great for me mentally, physically and emotionally. When you sit and reflect on things that are happening in your life, you come to realize why they are happening the way that they are. I have been working since I was 15. When I was younger it was just to have fun money. I worked during my undergrad studies and even worked 2 jobs during my last year. In grad school, I went TO class full-time, worked full-time and had a part-time job that I worked basically every day. I still managed to graduate with a 3.8 cumulative. I was a busy bee….a mover and a shaker. When I first got to WASHINGTON (about 3 weeks ago) I felt like I was doing something wrong by relaxing (lol sad I know). I couldn’t totally agree with people when they would tell me that I NEEDED to chill out for a bit. Chill out?! What? Even when I took vacations I couldn’t fully relax. But, I see now GOD is telling me to sit my behind down. Catch my bearings and use this time to get closer to HIM and to focus on bettering myself in all aspects of my life. I’ve learned that it is o.k. to STOP and smell the roses (tough to do at times when your mind is constantly running,but when you do it feels good 🙂
This JOURNEY is teaching me to trust more in GOD and have faith in the plan he has for YOU. When preparing to move I had so much anxiety. So many emotions overwhelmed me. This move was MAJOR. I was leaving everything I grew up with behind, my family and friends. But, I was also leaving behind pointless relationships, “friendships”, drama and negative energy that would cause me to lose focus otherwise. I was excited, scared, confused, nervous, joyful, determined (you name it, that’s how I felt). It didn’t hit me hard until the night before I was leaving and I broke down. This time only two emotions overwhelmed me: Excitement and Fear. I was happy to have FINALLY made up my mind to move and start new experiences and memories. I had NOTHING holding me back. I was finally doing it. Then FEAR of what’s to come, the unknown, a new place, new people and not having my entire family, my support system near me. I was going to be ALONE. I have an uncle and aunt here but I was ALONE. What did I do you ask…well of course I PRAYED. What else was I suppose to do but call on GOD the one who was making a way for me? Prayer works people, TRUST ME. The next day, I sat with my mom, aunt, grandma and dad as I waited for my train. When it was time to board, I hugged everyone so tight. As I walked through the double doors leading to my platform, I felt the tears start to fill my eyes. I couldn’t even look back at my family because I knew the tears would just fall uncontrollably. Once on the train my tears fell ever so often. (I don’t like to cry because it shows weakness to me, but boy I tell ya even the STRONG have weaknesses). I know people probably thought I was crazy, but I knew what I was doing was what was best for ME.
I spent the next 3 days on the train from D.C. headed to Seattle, Washington. I didn’t cry after my first night on the train. I traveled across I believe 11 states. I took one train from D.C. to Chicago and boarded a second train that took me from Chicago to Seattle.
Why the train and not a plane you ask? Well, I was in no rush (not like I was rushing to a job LOL) and I wanted the experience of traveling across country. I saw parts of the country I would miss if I were on an airplane or would never see period! The original plan was to road trip it, but during that time of year the weather would not have allowed safe driving conditions.
So anyway, I had a 5 hour wait in Chicago. This was my first time in the Windy City and I enjoyed my short visit there. But it was freezing! When I got there it was 18 degrees to be exact! Chicago’s Union Station is beautiful. When I got off the train, I was on a MISSION. I wanted to see the Willis Tower (formerly named the Sears Tower) and to have some authentic Chicago Deep Dish Pizza. I got to experience both 🙂
Chicago was the only time I got to get off the train. Once the train left and headed for Washington, I didn’t dare to step foot off of the train. All the states after Illinois were covered in SNOW! Oh my goodness, and most states in the negatives! I believe North Dakota was -15 degrees. There were so many stops, I think maybe 45 or so. I mostly slept during the journey. I also wrote in my journal, read books, took pictures from my seat or the observation car and chatted on the phone with loved ones. I meet some interesting people when I had meals on board. One guy was even in jail the night before he boarded the train for a DUI. They dropped his charges. I think he ran into a farmer’s gate or something O_o. I can say the experience taking the train across country was amazing! I would do it again but in the warmer months. A lot of the scenery was mostly covered in snow. I got a chance to catch a beautiful sunset and my favorite part of the trip (Yes, getting off at my final destination was one favorite lol) was going through the Wenatchee National Forest in Washington State. Oh my that was a sight to see! It was beautiful…absolutely beautiful. My pics don’t do it any justice, but have a look anyway 🙂
To end my journey (well, across country), I took a pic at the Seattle Space Needle. This is my new “monument” away from home. I had to end my trip at the trademark of The Emerald City. It symbolized that “I made it.”
I traveled from December 30th to January 2nd. Yes, I spent New Year’s Eve on the train. I actually planned it out that way. You ask why?……
That’s why. 😉
Things in life happen for a reason and when opportunities arise you have to make the decision to either do nothing or rise at the opportunity because those doors won’t be open forever. You have to make your move. That goes for anything in your life. People have told me it takes a lot of COURAGE to do what I did and that they are INSPIRED by my bravery to pack up and leave everything for a fresh start. At first I didn’t really pay that any mind because I didn’t see what others were seeing (I think we all can relate to that). When I think about it, yes it did take a lot of courage. Even though I don’t consider myself much of a “free spirit”, I realized a change needed to happen in order for me to be better, so I finally took it! I was supposed to move away plenty of times a long time ago. Now was just the right time for me to do it. Back then there were still experiences I needed to go through and lessons I needed to learn before I could be where I am today. Those experience and lessons I am so grateful for. I am HAPPY. A person that was very close to me said “You either Succeed, Fail or Not Try.” I will never forget that. How will you know what the possibilities of your life hold if you don’t at least TRY!? Don’t limit yourself or your happiness..for anything! Life is meant to be lived, to mess up, to achieve victories and to be enjoyed. And that my dear friends is what I intend to do. 🙂
More Pics from my Train Travels