My First Solo Trip: Concord, California

Despite getting stuck in an airport across the country for thirty hours, last week was an absolute dream.

I had never experienced so much positive peace at one time; despite my many realizations and deep-thinking moments, I was never weighed down with negative thoughts and mistakes and whatever trouble I had left behind.

One of the best things about this trip is how much I lived in the moment, and I loved it tremendously. For the moments I did capture, I made a video:

My Trip

Colorado

Did I want to be kind of touristy and kick some butt on go-karts? Yes.

Did I do that? No.

At first, I was really fighting the feeling of disappointment that I didn’t get to do a couple of activities I was really looking forward to (hey Meow Wolf). However, I told myself it gives me more of a reason to go back for a longer period of time. I fought the negative thoughts and emotions by focusing on the happiness and beautiful growth of my dear friend.

Colorado was twenty-four hours of eating, walking, catching up, getting my butt kicked at Mario games, and having “Trumpets” by Jason Derulo stuck in my head because I’m lactose intolerant.

We took two trips to McDonalds for sugary beverages, ate breakfast at The Breakfast Queen, and ate dinner at Avanti.

California

Did I have a plan when I woke up from my fourteen-hour sleep? Nope.

But I woke up and figured it out.

The first thing I did was visit The Ruth Bancroft Garden and Nursery; I wish I could have brought plants back on the plane with me. There were all sorts of different cacti and unique reptiles; absolutely gorgeous are the best words I can use to describe it.

I drowned myself in peace and mental pleasure at the garden, which filled my heart with an unmistakable happiness I want to feel over and over again. As I sat in the garden with the wind blowing around me and the soft noise of the fountain overpowering the nearby traffic, I truly felt the happiness and fulfillment that comes with taking care of yourself.

Then, me being me, I walked along a highway to go get ice cream from O’Briens. On the way, I admired the unique beauty of my surroundings. The landscaping and residential architecture are phenomenal. Even though I don’t use my degree, I can still appreciate it (lol).

I ended Thursday, my first full day of the trip, getting a rose added to my rib area. The tattoo came from DV8 Tattoos & Piercings; it was perfect for many reasons: inexpensive tattoo, incredible environment, and memorable conversations. Talking about everything I’ve been through and everywhere I’ve been aloud with a complete stranger made me realize how truly strong I am and how hard I’ve worked to achieve a life I’m proud of.

It felt nice to be vulnerable with a stranger, a cool one with nice hair and life experience. He created an environment of comfort and acceptance. He listened, and I’m still getting used to people, especially men, listening and having some sort of emotional reaction. Learning about Concord through the eyes of the tattoo shop owner was literally enough for me to start looking for non-retail jobs in Concord.

Plus, for the first time, I didn’t feel insecure while getting tattooed.

Friday morning was spent with the desire to live a little like an influencer; I got Philz Coffee for the first time, and I believe my order was a gingersnap iced coffee. Then I walked around either Walnut Hill or Pleasant Hill? Either way, I wound up at an outdoor mall with all the expensive stores (still haven’t recovered from the money I spent on a sustainable bra) and visited a small art gallery at a creative arts center; I didn’t take many pictures since an employee kind of broke a rule to get me in.

I went to the Pavilion Bar and Grill for a pre-concert dinner and was literally the only Black person in the building. I’m almost certain I made several people uncomfortable, but I’m not sorry about it; my pasta was beyond delicious.

Then it came time for the concert, and I experienced euphoria. I was so in the moment and could not wipe the smile from my face. There were tears of absolute joy and wholeness; my heart felt full when I left the venue, which is such a foreign feeling to me.

Plus, I can happily say I went to the concert where AJR and BoyWithUke took the time to draw a fan’s next tattoo in the middle of their sets.

Throughout the day, it was awe-inspiring to see people show their pride and support for the Warriors. I am so happy I was there when Golden State won; it was beautiful seeing the sea of blue and yellow in real life.

Everything about this trip was beautiful.

My Reflections

Of course, I didn’t go on a trip if I don’t come back a better person, having experienced several realizations and necessary intrusive thoughts.

  1. I had to swallow thoughts of being replaceable and forgotten; it took a lot of mental effort. I made sure to focus on the good moments, the present, and being happy for people who served their purposes in my life and had to leave. There were large moments of simple gratitude and appreciation while fighting the intrusive thought that I used people who have dwindled from my life or have found greater priorities than our relationships.
  2. It’s hard to make friends as an adult, so it’s important to hold onto the friendships you make and develop at a younger age and treasure whatever bonds you do create as an adult.
  3. It’s okay to want things with someone who may not want them with you. You’ll experience and accomplish what you want with people/someone more special than the person playing your brain.
  4. I need to stop holding out hope for people who have already given up on me.
  5. I don’t make it easy for people to know every facet of my being out of fear of being judged and fear of rejection; I realized this when I became aware of the many times I would pre-cringe when someone asked my favorite musical artist.
  6. Dead or alive, the people we grieve the most are the ones who hold the biggest places in our hearts and minds.
  7. I may be surviving almost paycheck to paycheck, but at least I can say I am [finally] making the most out of my life, given the circumstances. I need to simply ignore the consistent remarks and disapproval of others because my life isn’t up to their standards.
  8. There is so much unique life outside of Tennessee, so many more open-minded and accepting environments beyond the conservative congestion of Nashville. Traveling by myself fueled my desire to move outside of this state, and I’m hoping for sooner rather than later. It’s time to grind and get the job that’ll help me move and explore and discover something new.

This trip was so pivotal for this transition in my life. I feel so refreshed and happy that I know what true peace feels like.

I am making it my mission to feel that peace and fulfillment as much as I possibly can, for as long as I possibly can.

about the author

Jamilah is a college graduate in her early twenties who wants to live and learn and love herself while fighting the anxiety fight.

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