I’m driving south down the 5 from Seattle to LA. I’ve split the nearly 20-hour journey into a three-day trip. I’ve done the same trip previously without knowing what to expect. All by happenstance, I witnessed Mt. Shasta right in the midst of a rosy sunset, I fell in love with the quaint cottages of Carmel, and I even lost a license plate (but that’s a different story).
This time, I’m more prepared. I’ve planned to stop at my favorite beaches, fulfill my childhood dream of going to Halloweentown, and even made sure to book hotels with jacuzzis to recharge after long days of driving. My dad is also joining me on the road.
It’s his first long road trip after 30 years in America. Though I warned him that the I-5 isn’t anything to write home about, my dad’s childlike wonder gives me a newfound excitement.
I don’t know if my dad wanted to go as a protector — to make sure I don’t lose a license plate again or get a flat tire — or if he wanted to join me for some 1:1 father-daughter bonding time. Perhaps it was a mix of both. Or maybe he simply wanted to enjoy the view while someone else drove and blasted music from a playlist designed perfectly for him.
In any case, my dad was my trusty companion on this long road ahead. We were preparing to traverse over 1,200 miles together and at the end, he would leave me in LA so I can spend the winter there and see if it was where I want to take my comedy career. It felt both like a temporary goodbye and all too permanent at the same time. It only now occurs to me how odd my life might seem to my family. I’m driven by risky and uncertain dreams that always feel a little too big to grasp and with no clear path.
But, on I go, with my sweet dad to chase things that will never turn out how I expect them to, and yet, I carry on. He tells me right as we’re getting on to the highway, “This is so exciting, after 30 years in America, I finally get to go on a long road trip!” My heart swells at the sweetness of his enthusiasm for a drive that I’ve been dreading.
The words seemed so silly coming out of my dad’s mouth. It’s not like this man hasn’t been on longer journeys. He worked in Algeria in his 20’s and then was forced to immigrate to America all the way from Bosnia after the war in the 90s.