Hello! It's been almost three weeks since I finished the tour, and it would seem appropriate for me to tell viewers my plans from here on out (ie getting back home).
I'll start where I left off...
After the first night in Santa Monica, I spent a day with my uncle in Los Angeles. The next night was back in Santa Monica, and the following morning I actually hopped back on the bike (crazy right).
I rode for another two days, stopping in Ventura county for the night. Then I reached Santa Barbara, where Joey from Redlands was starting his freshman year at UCSB. I actually dumped my bags back at his house, and carried only a change of clothes and a spare tube in my little backpack. That way I was as light as possible for the final ride into the city. When he moved in, he brought all my stuff in a trash bag. So basically, I incentivized continuing the trip by putting my bags 100 miles north of me.
Reunited with my stuff, I camped out on Joey's dorm room floor for a few nights. I imagined the conversation between him and roommate:
"Hey I'm Joey, nice to meet you. Listen man, is it OK if some homeless guy sleeps here too?"
Jackson turned out be a really great guy, and we all hit it off with other freshman. It was a brief taste of what college may be like next year. Of course, my stay there was limited because I was in constant fear of his RA finding out that there was an extra kid in his wing.
While Joey and friends went to class, I developed some fantasy of spending the rest of the gap year there in Santa Barbara, surrounded by waves and bikes and pretty girls. I printed off a few resumes from Joey's computer and began biking around the city, looking for some sort of employment. At the same time I scoured Craigslist on his computer, in search of reasonably-priced housing (the cost of living in Santa Barbara is absurd.) Get this: I found both! Yes, for a brief moment I was set on working in a bike shop full-time. I would barely make rent for a tiny apartment, but gosh Santa Barbara seemed worth it.
And... I left.
Yeah, I just didn't feel comfortable. Joey and my other friend Nick were my only contacts, and I needed to give them space anyway to branch out in their new settings. Santa Barbara indeed felt like a paradise, but I had to keep moving.
Screw the bike! I ditched it on campus (I kept the expensive broken-in seat) and took the next train up to San Luis Obispo. Actually, those are both lies; I loved that bike dearly, but I would be doing it a disservice by bringing it back to cold and hilly Ithaca. It will spend the rest of its life being ridden around by some UCSB student in Bike Heaven. And I missed the first train by seconds. It was dramatic. I took the one the following morning.
In SLO I stayed two nights with another friend from Ithaca. She's now a sophomore at Cal Poly. I explored the campus and decided it wouldn't be half-bad to go there. No geography program though.
Then came a train to the Bay Area (that's where I am now)
I should backtrack. The reason I didn't immediately fly home from Santa Barbara is because my great uncle lives in Berkeley, and offered me a place to stay for a while. He and his daughter Kate picked me up from the train station.
Anyway, that's where I've been for the past week: here in Berkeley. And I love it!
I found another job at a bike shop, I found volunteer work, and best of all I get a room for free.
I like this place... I think I'll stay here a while, or at least until the holidays. UC Berkeley's campus is beautiful too. Soon I'll take BART into San Fransisco and explore.
Anway, that's me! Yeah, I miss my family. But there's nothing for me to do in Ithaca right now besides get cold. I'll come back for Christmas, and then set off again! I'm thinking about South America a lot...
Thanks for coming along for the ride!