The two jobs I’ve held for longer than 13 business days (yeah… about that…) both had two weeks of vacation time a year. I never felt like that was enough. Next thing you know, one day’s gone so you can take care of errands around town, another day or two vanishes so you can make a trip to a football game, and then a family member needs help moving so you use another full day. And, of course, one week almost always inevitably disappears somewhere around the winter holidays never to be seen or heard from again.
By the time it’s over, you’re left using the last day near a holiday weekend so you can maximize the time off to do something worthwhile. Along with every other poor fool with two weeks of vacation time. And their spouse. And their crying, whiny kids. On a holiday weekend with high gas prices. In lines that are unusually long.
When I learned that I had three weeks of vacation with my Charlotte job, I promised myself I’d make use of the extra week.
So on Saturday, January 19th, I made good on that promise and ditched the east coast for the left coast – San Diego style!
I left Charlotte in the evening after dropping the two year old puppy off in Chapin, SC for the week. Luckily for me, I got to sit next to two cuddly hipsters who didn’t say a word the entire five hour flight. If the red flannel shirt, nose ring, and skinny jeans weren’t cliche enough, homeboy decided to bust out Animal Farm for his inflight reading. Viva la Resistance, Napoleon and Snowball! Don’t let The Man bring you down, skinny-jeans guy!
We actually made it to San Diego early. So early that there wasn’t anyone at the terminal to move the ramp to our plane and let us off for ten minutes. From there, I took a shuttle to pick up my rental car. “For only $10 a day extra,” I was able to be successfully suckered into upgrading a Yaris to a blue Ford Mustang that definitely catered to my manliness. Because I am “so tall” and it has “more leg room.” Don’t get me wrong, I love my truck but there’s something entirely too much fun about a brand new sports car. Especially one with fancy blue LEDs in the cup holders and floorboards. Filthy automotive marketing geniuses.
From the airport, I headed to the hotel to get settled in for the night. Until I realized I hadn’t eaten since lunch. So back up to the front desk for some food recommendations. My goal out of town is to try new non-chain places to eat so I asked the maybe-in-his-twenties security guard where I could pick up something pretty quick. Naturally, he pointed me to In-And-Out.
Side note: If you’re an East Coaster who’s never been West, all you need to know is that In-And-Out is the most over-hyped fast food burger joint since the invention of beef patties. It’s not bad. It’s just not the mecca of all things bovine like the Californians seem to think it is. Get over yourself, SoCal. There! I said it! We’re all thinking it!
I was initially pretty nervous about the entire trip. Did I plan enough? Did I pack what I needed? How awkward would it be hanging out with a girl I hadn’t seen since high school? What if I couldn’t fit everything into the schedule? Or worse, what if I ran out of things to do? Normally, I’m a guy who keeps a routine and doesn’t veer too much from the plan. But once the boots hit the ground, it’s pretty cool how easy it was to fall back into my “whatever happens, happens” mindset. I traveled the entire country in three months. How hard would it be to rock a single city in five days?
So with a fast car, a full belly, and a warm bed, I finally crashed after a long day of traveling.