Running To: Leaving California and Hitting the Road

Last week, my beloved wanderers were let into a secret. They were among the first to learn of my dramatic future-to-be. Today, I thought I’d clue the rest of humanity into my momentous decision.

I’ve been hinting at the news for a while. It’s been a hard decision six long months in the making. A decision I finally confirmed last weekend.

I’m leaving southern California this summer. Soon, I’ll be packing up my Mitsy and hitting the road like so many times before. Only this time, I have no idea if I’ll be coming back — or where I’m even going.

Running To: Road Trip

Photo courtesy zachansell, Creative Commons

Before I say anything else, I’d like to post a video — because, well, videos are fun. Especially when four-wheelers spontaneously vroom-vroom in the background. My wanderers have already seen this creation via my most recent newsletter (see all the perks of wandering with me?), but here it is if you missed it.

So. June 1. Roughly six weeks from now, for many myriad reasons, I’ll be driving deep into the unknown. While this road trip does feel a bit like running away from southern California, it feels so much more like I’m running to…something. Somewhere. An ultimate destination, yes, but also a journey.

A journey of rediscovering my faith and connecting with people from all slices of humanity and Christianity.

I feel like an epic, unrestricted road trip is a sort of rite-of-passage for every author. There’s Donald Miller and Jack Kerouac and a handful of others. While I’ve already zigged and zagged and Zuniga’d across the country multiple times having visited 27 states, all those trips have always been on tight deadlines.

Well, not this time; not this road trip. My “Running To” road trip will have no deadline, no restraints, and no real limits. Just an open, winding road that will keep winding until, well, I feel like stopping — be it back in southern California or elsewhere.

Which brings me to some key points for this Running To road trip:

1. I have no idea how long I’ll be on the road. It could be two months, it could be eight. It could be a year, it could be a few weeks. I HAVE NO CLUE. Six months personally sounds like a nice round number — somewhere between the disappointment of just dipping my toes in the shallow end and the suffocation of being lost and weighted to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

2. I feel like a free agent, scouring the continent for home. I have a few ideas on places I could ultimately wind up, though I won’t be revealing these places publicly, of course. Needless to say, I intend to visit these six or seven cities while Running To on this road trip and give them a long, hard look. I’m basically looking for that magical place where purpose and community collide. Bonus points if said city is, well, beautiful and inspirational to me as a writer.

3. I want to meet you. Seriously. YOU. I don’t care who you are, whether we’re good friends, old friends, new friends, or simple readers. I’ve already met a few of my readers here in southern California, and I’d love to meet more of you elsewhere, connecting faces to digital print. How cool would that be?

4. I need places to stay. I’ve already received many warm invitations for open couches and guest bedrooms and doggie throw-pillows around the continent, and I’m beyond grateful. I intend to spend zero dollars on hotels while Running To, so knowing I have a place to crash a state or two away will make planning this road trip infinitely easier. If you’d like to volunteer your couch, simply send me an email or post in the comments below!

5. I need funds. Well — I don’t, but I do. I’ve been diligently saving these last few months, and I’ll continue to save up before I start Running To. But how much is enough? $1000? $2500? $57.50? Since I’m clueless how long this trip will last and how much food/gas/coffee money I’ll need, I’m not exactly sure how much is enough. I thought about launching a Kickstarter or making some big hullabaloo about funding my trip, but I figured I’d just let God take care of all that complicated stuff. If I meet you this summer and you feel “led” to slip me an Andrew Jackson or another Important Green Person, I will thank you and hug you and be ever so grateful for your invaluable contribution to my journey. Or if I just win the lottery, then, yay.

6. I need prayer. Seriously, guys. I need people praying for me, like, everyday. Pray for my safety. Pray for my emotions. Pray that I don’t turn into a lunatic alone on the road for so long. Pray that I experience solid spiritual insights from one time zone to the next. Pray that I find time to write. Pray that I encounter the many incredible people I’m supposed to meet. Pray that they impact me; pray that I impact them. And pray for the opportunity and the wisdom to stop this road trip and plant roots wherever and whenever I’m supposed to.

It’s gonna be an insane summer. And possibly autumn. And possibly decade. I’m terrified and thrilled and a little sick and sad and stoked all at once. I’ll be using the hashtag #RunningTo on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, MySpace, etc. throughout my Running To road trip. From tweets to photos to videos to blogs, it’ll be a wonderful wandering collage of my life on the road.

I hope you’ll wander with me — hope you’ll let me wander your way if you’ll have me.

Won’t you?

Do you have a futon or throw-pillow I could sleep on this summer? Post your location and availability in the comments, or shoot me an email at tmz[at]thomasmarkzuniga[dot]com! Regardless whether we’ve already met, I’d love nothing more than to connect over coffee and conversation this summer.