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Along for the Ride

On September 6, 2003 Lindsey Arnold, a recent UF graduate, started a road trip in Florida that would take her across the country to California, Vancouver and ending in Colorado.

Lindsey Arnold at one of many stops on her journey“I've been trying to move to Colorado for the last 6 years, and take a road trip cross-country for as long as I've been alive,” Lindsey said. “My problem was, I was always too afraid to take a journey like this solo.”

Afraid of going on the road alone, Lindsey started her own Livejournal to help stay in touch with her friends and family. Utilizing her laptop computer and an Internet connection wherever there was one available, she chronicled her travel to those she wanted to keep in touch with.

“I realized I was suppossed to go alone,” Lindsey said. “I decided to keep a Live Journal because I wanted to share my experience with people. It was also a way for me to reach out and stay connected to my friends and family.”

Without the hassle of learning HTML code, the language most web-designers use to design web sites, Lindsey was able to update her Live Journal frequently and still be as specific as she wanted to be. She also posted a link to a site that she had uploaded photos of her journey.

“I updated my webpage every couple of days, depending on where I was in the country,’ Lindsey said. “If I was camping, and there was no Internet, I'd write in an actually paper journal and then post it later.”

If you are thinking about moving to Oregon please take a moment to answer the following questions:
1. Do you want to earn a lot of money?
2. Do you want to open any major franchise?
3. Are you terrible with directions?
4. Do you need a fixed amount of sunlight per day?
5. Do you like to pump your own gas?
6. Do you get paranoid that 'big brother' is watching?
7. Does it make you nervous to be around uncharted amounts of marijuana?
8. Do you need a big city urban life?
and finally...
9. Do you think Leah will ever change her mind?
-excerpt from Lindsey's LiveJournel

Lindsey said she had a following soon after her journey began, receiving email from friends on a regular basis.

“If I wasn't posting frequently, then my audience was waiting, my mom especially” she said. “I found myself writing for my audience.”

The postings and correspondence remained a constant throughout her cross-country travel giving her comfort and responsibility to keep her audience updated and her journey well chronicled.

“It was my job to write as descriptively as possible and bring them with me on my travels,” Lindsey said. “It was hard to ever feel alone on the road, even if I had been driving West into the complete unknown for 9 hours, and I hadn't seen a sign of civilization for 300 miles.”

Keeping her audience/friends updated on her journey had extra benefits besides companionship. While she was in Texas, 20 minutes after Lindsey posted her location, a friend called her to tell her she had a great friend in San Antonio who would give her a place to stay for the night. Lindsey ended up partying with her friend’s friend, whom she had never met.

“It's true, you know who you are by who your friends are, and I was thankful that my friends had great friends too,” Lindsey said in appreciation.

With the end of her cross-country trip in Colorado came the end of her Live Journal as she cited her need to stop being so open and “just be me”. Lindsey compared the end of her journey and Live Journal to the end of a sitcom as she ended a stage in her life that was followed by a loyal audience. She said it was impossible to feel alone as she had so many people with her along the journey.

Now Lindsey will start a new life in Colorado with new friends and surroundings. Whether or not she will restart her Live Journal later on remains to be seen.

“I find out everyday more and more people who have been reading, and who are now reading. Friends of friends... It's incredible,” Lindsey said.

Lindsey's LiveJournal Site