By: Nikho R., Head of Innovation at Inflow
Virginia to Texas. 3 Days. 2 People. 1 Cat. I was moving to Texas to join the Inflow team at the headquarters in San Antonio. The drive wasn't easy, not only for sentimental reasons, but also the distance we had to cover in three days: 1,500+ miles and over 20 hours of driving (according to the map below).
Thankfully my sister decided at the last minute that she would make the trip with me. Admittedly I was both happy and relieved to have another person to help with the driving and keep me company along the way, but most importantly, I got to spend that time with my only sibling as I moved away yet again. By now my family is used to me leaving Virginia and going all over the world for work and just general travel, but this time it was much harder for many reasons. However, I was still looking forward to living in San Antonio and working with the Inflow team at the main office.
If traveling across the country wasn't daunting enough, the same week we were scheduled to leave for Texas we had an epic snow storm on the East Coast dubbed “Snowmaggedon of 2016”. The storm made the national news as it left record amounts of snow in its wake. We had over three feet of snow in Fredericksburg and over four feet in some places further north. Below is a photo of my cat Tux taking in the snow at my front door.
Needless to say, this made our trip a bit difficult as businesses and roads closed and timelines were delayed. Thankfully, by the time we had to leave, most roads were already cleared out due to some warmer weather right after the snow storm. So on the 29th of January, 2016 we set off for an epic road trip through eight states with over 30 hours of actual driving.
Day 1 was an exhausting blur. We drove for 19 hours straight through Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana to reach our first stop in New Orleans. By the time we rolled into New Orleans, a 1000 miles away from our starting point, it was 1:30 a.m. and serious driving fatigue was setting in.
Day 2 was spent touring New Orleans and trying out the local food scene, which didn’t disappoint. My sister and I tried 7 or 8 different restaurants (yes, we lost count... don't judge). It was a lot to fit into one day, but we both knew it would be a long time before we would be able to visit the great city of New Orleans again. We were also surprised to find that Mardi Gras festivities were starting that weekend and spilling over into the next week when the full Mardi Gras is actually celebrated by the locals and tourists. So starting around 8 a.m. we walked all over New Orleans and watched parades, had beignets at the world famous Café Du Monde, tried out different restaurants, and walked around Bourbon Street. We wrapped up our day tour at about 11 p.m. and got some much needed sleep.
Day 3, we got up early and went to the Ruby Slipper just outside our hotel on Canal Street and had some amazing breakfast to start our day. Our road trip continued through Louisiana and to Texas finally, adding another 500+ miles to the trip that took roughly 11 hours of driving on the third day. Thankfully not much happened during the drive to Texas from Louisiana. It was good to see the Texas state sign welcoming us later in the afternoon and we stopped to take a few selfies with the big Texas star. We finally arrived in San Antonio around 8 p.m. on Sunday, happy our road trip was finally at an end as we were both exhausted and the cat was definitely getting cranky.
Nikho's Tips for Traveling Across the Country:
- Even though the map clearly states a drive time of 20 hours, you must remember this was calculated by computers who have no concept of human needs for survival. The actual drive time was 30+ hours. Be sure to add necessary "survival" time to your next road trip calculation.
- Traveling with a cat is not recommended unless absolutely necessary. Your cat will likely howl for hours on end unless you administer Benadryl. (Be sure to consult with your veterinarian beforehand.)
- Said cat will likely use your vehicle as a litter box. Unfortunately, there's no stopping this. What's a cat to do after all? Cats must survive too.
- If you are trying to decide between learning a language and listening to audio books or podcasts about something interesting, go with the latter. Trust me, don't try to learn a language; it's useless.
- Bring a friend, it’s better than being alone. If you must, resort to bribery. Seriously, don't travel across the country alone.
- Have fun along the way. Stop for ice cream. It may be the reason 20 hours turns into 30, but the trip will be that much more memorable.
Inflow is made up of people who want to change the National Security industry by making an impact on our customers' missions and giving back to our local communities, all while enjoying the work we do. Interested in joining our team? Visit our Team page to learn more.