(*Name has been changed for privacy purpose)
Recently, I came upon a post by a childhood friend from high school which caught my attention. The post was about growing old and creating a bucket list. It was inspiring to see the many things she wanted to do before she was forty years old. It wasn’t until last year (2018) when another one of my childhood friends, *Grayson, from America came to visit me in London that our long spirited conversations got me thinking about creating my own bucket list. You see, Grayson and I go way back. We met at a young age at the beginning of our teenage years. Our mothers were good friends, and she was right with me by my mother’s dying bed. She was like a second mother to me. Ever since then, I somehow see my mother in Grayson and his mother, as strange as that may sound. So when he visited me and we both reminisced about our childhood days in Bangkok, I somehow thought about my life and how I wanted to live it. That was when I thought about life in general. There were many things I wanted to do, especially one that is at the very top of the list, and that is a road trip in America. However, this road trip is different than the one you may have in mind. It will be a nineties, Chevy Chase’s National Lampoon, the movie Road Trip, American Pie kind of road trip starting from San Jose, California all the way to New York City. Grayson and his wife will be joining me on this trip. They had even come up with a rough plan on the routes we would take and the states we would cross. I didn’t want to follow the famous Route 66. So with the help of Grayson and his wife, I am going to create my own route. My bucket list is going to involve stopping at the states we have to cross and doing something memorable. I have to be adventurous. For example, if we stop at Texas, I would have to ride the mechanical bull. Every day, I will document my trip on this blog and take many pictures along the way. And I will have a souvenir box filled with memorable souvenirs from each state. How fun is that? This road trip will also mean a lot to me as my father had wanted to take me on a trip to New York before he was to retire. Sadly, he passed away when I was eighteen before he could retire. My parents loved America, and they have been traveling there since before I was born. So in honour of them, I will be bringing a special framed family picture along with me. It would be like they are with me on the trip. It is what they would have wanted. The framed picture is almost twenty years old, and my mother put the pictures inside it herself. It hasn’t been opened or rearranged. Her touch still remains within the frame.
This road trip will not be my first. When I was really young, we had a road trip during the winter season from San Francisco to Florida and then Washington DC. From there, the road trip finished, and we flew to New York for the rest of the vacation. For my road trip, I want to travel during the spring or summer.
Starting from today, I will keep my bucket list open, meaning I will keep adding the things I want to do to the list and the states I wish to cross. Rather than have a confirmed list, I am going to list down the things I hope to accomplish. And those of you who have any ideas as to what I can do, please share. I do not know the exact states I will be crossing, but any ideas beforehand would be thought of and appreciated. The trip will not be anytime soon, but it will definitely happen. Three years tops at this moment.
1) Meet Mr R.L. Stine (and also try to write as many books as him in life)
I grew up reading books by Mr R.L. Stine, and I particularly fell in love with the Fear Street series. Mr Stine isn’t just a favourite author of mine. His books means a lot to me. And even though I am fan of other authors, Mr Stine is different as I grew up feeling a connection to his works. Even my mother encouraged me to read his books. Sadly later in my teens, I had to give away my many collections. But that still didn’t stop me from getting inspired by his works. It wasn’t until recently that I started retrieving his original Fear Street series on Ebay. It is hard, as not all of the titles are available on sale. Some I had to pay hefty price for it, but it was worth it. I mean, it’s Mr Stine we’re talking about.
I hope I get the chance to meet Mr Stine somehow. I will do my best to see if there is an event at the time of my trip, a meet and greet possibly. It would be a dream come true and to have him sign some of the original format Fear Street books.
2) Mechanical bull ride
Why not? You sometimes see it in movies and it does make me wonder if it’s really difficult to ride one. It is something very ‘American’ and I plan to do it. Besides, I wouldn’t find the mechanical bull anywhere else in the world. And I plan to ride the bull with a cowboy hat on. It’s the right way to do it. To be honest, I am terrified as I don’t want to break my neck falling off, but then again, it is once in a life time American experience.
3) New York University (NYU)
There was a time when I wanted to go to college/university in America. Even though I was attending a British international school, I still wanted to further my studies in America. I wanted to attend NYU and study either English or Law. But little did I know my path in life would change and I would end up going to London town. However, it would be nice to have a brief visit to NYU just to see the place where I could have ended up.
4) New Orleans
I have never been to New Orleans, but I’ve known of its unique and vibrant party atmosphere in the French Quarter on Bourbon Street and would like to experience it. For those of you who don’t know, I love to write about ghosts and the world beyond, and I do believe in that existence. Therefore, I wouldn’t mind visiting some voodoo witchcraft shops and have a spiritual reading done.
5) Visit a Gilmore Girls and American Pie kind of town/neighbourhood
I am a huge movie fan, and I like watching…and re-watching films and TV series addictively from the eighties, nineties and early twenties, particularly Gilmore Girls, American Pie and National Lampoon. There is something about the scenery and settings that always captures my attention. It makes me want to be there. Maybe what I see on TV is different from reality, but I rather experience it for myself.
6) San Francisco
(my parents in San Francisco way before I was born)
San Francisco was my parents’ favourite American state because of its calmness. I especially like the houses that line up along the steep road/hill. While in San Francisco, I would like to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge a few times. I always get mesmerized when I see the bridge on TV. There’s always something about it that makes me feel drawn to it. I guess visiting San Francisco will be in a way for my parents. I am going there on their behalf.
7) Rocky Mountains
Just like with the Golden Gate Bridge, I get mesmerized by the American wilderness, especially with its pine trees.
Ok, this was Grayson’s idea. Chicago is Grayson’s home ground, and I was told by him that we HAD to stop over in Chicago. It’s not optional. I have never been to Chicago, therefore, I can’t say much.
Driving through a desert was inspired by me by Chevy Chase’s National Lampoon series.
10) New York City
I want to take a picture with the frame at the exact same spot where the picture above was taken.
New York will be the last stop where my road trip ends. I will then spend about a week there before heading back home to London. During my time in New York, I would like to stop by The Hamptons. I am a bustling city person, and I have always loved New York. I can’t live without the hectic city life around me.
During one night, I would like to dine at one of those elegant restaurants that plays lively, romantic and classy Frank Sinatra kind of music. I find that this kind of atmosphere suits and defines New York. New York, New York.
Well, that is all for part one. They will be more to come as the list grows and the adventure continues…