Today is the day of the pivot. I’m finally turning east after two and a half months of moving in the other three directions. I’m leaving San Diego, California for Flagstaff, Arizona. Cue Marlena Shaw’s “California Soul” as remembrance of my time on the Pacific side of the country. Here is a quick rundown of the roses (highlights), thorns (lowlights), and buds (hopes for the future) from my time on the West Coast.


  • The feeling, experience, and lasting memory of a place is a great deal dependent on the people you spend time with in that place. I have been lucky enough to stay with brilliant, generous, funny, and good-natured individuals, most of whom have become great friends. It is because of them that I will be forever fond of this segment of my trip.
  • Podcasts are my endlessly interesting friend on long solitary drives.
  • Reminder to get lost more often when I missed a turn and ended up at Sunset Cliffs in San Diego, a place I’d never explored in my multiple vacations here.
  • Açai bowls are delicious and nutritious, especially when enjoyed on the beach.
  • The best license plate I’ve seen so far was native to California (of course). It simply read, “LLAMA.”
  • Seals: pudgy and spunky with a penchant for beach naps. My kind of animal!
  • Had this meta-epiphany: Be alone and epiphanies will abound.
  • …Such as: the sureness I feel of my goal/dream of becoming a writing professor. On this drive I listened to inspiring podcasts, read pertinent books, and visited college campuses. These made me realize how much I want that life and profession to be my path. Time to work towards making the dream a reality.


  • Recurrent low pressure tire issue. Portable tire inflators are precious things.
  • Cash is low, which frequently clashes with head-in-the-clouds-without-a-care-in-the-world-Morgan
  • Decidedly un-glamorous nights of sleeping in my car in Walmart parking lots (yes, there were multiple)
  • Concurrent with this point on my road trip, the beginning of the new school year commences. I feel a bit melancholy my undergraduate time at Syracuse is over.


  • Looking forward to seeing more great friends and family on the last segment home.
  • Adventure awaits and I’m on a mission to find it.