My name is Brian, and I’m road tripping up the Western coast.

At first I thought this road trip was a way to cut expenses and practice my passions full time.

It sounded perfect. No rent, cheap food, no job, freedom, but everything comes with a price. Due to the drought, any public shower I find is closed forcing my hand at Mcdonald sinks and rest stop restrooms. My lack of GPS is costing me in gas money and time. And like a gargoyle, still but ready to awaken and rip you to shreds, a traffic cam atop a stop light captured me, clumsily, running a red-light. I’d rather be ripped to shreds.

This all may sound awful, like a vacation trip turned horror story, but one thing I’ve realized which makes all of it negligent to my happiness —I have tons of choices.

Anything within my budget is doable. Do I want to visit friends in Oregon? I’ll leave today. Maybe I want to sit on China Beach and watch the fog glide across the Golden Gate bridge. I’m free.

As I lay in the back of my Honda Civic, tossing and turning, listening to the sounds of cars jostling by, my appreciation for the simple things in life becomes more apparent. Living in a car, especially a Honda Civic, requires a lifestyle of minimalism. My mind had already begun processing what is necessary in my life and what is not. My priorities have never been so clear.

I walk up to the public shower of China Beach. It is closed. I stress out. I try to find a Target and take several wrong turns. I stress. I run a red light. I stress. Then I walk into an In & Out to have my one fast food meal for the trip and stare into the back where everyone is working their hearts out. No offense to In & Out, for a fast company they seem to treat their employees well, but it reminds me of the alternative. At least, for now — I live free, and when I go back to normal society, I can take the lessons I learn from this trip and take more time to live the life I want to live.

First lesson. Get a cellphone.

Day 1 & 2 of the road trip: