Shannon Across America: The journey home

A reflection of the trip and what was learned

This is part of a series of posts chronicling my travels across the western United States over the course of several weeks, living on the road and randomly visiting places along the way. You can start reading about the journey from the beginning.

And so, as they say: “All good things.” While Yosemite National Park wouldn’t be my final stop on my travels, I do consider it the swan song to the entire trip as I had already done most of what I wanted to do. Though if I had brought my ski equipment I would have been very content spending another week on the slopes which I would pass as I traveled back east.

I made my way back across California with a brief stop off at Lake Tahoe, then traveled through Reno and the northern Nevada area where you could probably see a slot machine next to a drive-through restaurant speaker. The nights in Wyoming and Nebraska were very cold but my sleeping quarters held up. I even stopped off at the Woodsmith Store in Iowa, but I spent no money there as my wood shop was in storage and had no use for anything at the store.

At last, I arrived back in Missouri where I put all my traveling gear in storage along with the rest of my household, resigned to returning to my old bedroom at the family home and completely uncertain of what the next months would hold.

As far as my trip goes, it was a crazy idea and some people looked at me funny when I told them exactly what I was doing (“You’re sleeping WHERE?”). Yet others admitted that they were a little bit envious that I had the opportunity to do this. I know it wasn’t some huge, exciting adventure through China or Iceland as other photographers might brag about. But if I learned anything from it, it’s that sometimes you have to think outside the box and make the most of what you already have right in your backyard.

I also learned not to discount the small excursions, either. Though the idea of a month long trip of freedom sounds grand, one issue was that everything almost blended together in a way that made it a little more difficult to appreciate each place individually. I would have liked to have slowed down just a little bit more in each area I went to and it would have also much easier to come with the right equipment. You don’t prepare for sitting on the beach in the same way that you would to climb across the lower area of Yosemite Falls.

Now one year removed, I’ve been spending the holiday season unpacking and organizing the last of my things in my new home. I’ve set it all up to be a little of everything for my creative outlets: I have a studio area for photography, my art room is ready with a blank canvas sitting on the easel and the saw dust is ready to fly again in my wood shop.

Meanwhile my travel gear sits silently in a closet…waiting for the next great adventure.