Moving To Los Angeles

Unwillingly, I woke up at 6:30am, all of my worldly belongings piled high on the ground next to the bed. I was finally doing it, finally moving from the suburbs of Detroit across the country to Los Angeles. I had thought it out a million times in my head. I was going to finally make the jump to set up my life on the West coast. With the help of my father, I packed all of my belongings into the gray Ford Focus that I would be driving almost 3,000 miles in. Once packed, he hugged me and wished me luck as I began this new part of my life. We said our goodbyes, and I was off. I didn’t realize it at the time, but he had made the same trip 34 years before. Adventure runs through my veins and I have him to thank for it.

I stopped across town at a small diner where I met my mother for breakfast. It would be the last time I would see her for a long time, I basked in those moments. We talked about my plans, her plans, and job applications. After eating, we said our goodbyes and I was on my way once again.

The drive was a grueling one, taking me through 9 different states. Day 1 would be the longest day of driving, 1,027 miles from Detroit to Oklahoma City. I had never been to Missouri or Oklahoma before, so it was nice to see part of the country that I had previously never explored. It really helped me realize how little I actually know about the places I have yet to explore. For instance, I didn’t realize that Missouri was so mountainous. The latter of my trip was full of hills and mountains that I never expected. It was a beautiful surprise.

Driving through Missouri

After 16 hours of driving, I arrived in Oklahoma City. A friend from my teenage years, Sheri, had been living and working in OKC for a while. She had graciously offered to host me for a few days as I recharged my batteries and mind from the drive. It was really great to catch up with her! She is a dance instructor and is one of the hardest workers I know. She also genuinely enjoys what she does, which is something I highly respect her for. (Ask her about the year she spent traveling the world on a cruise ship!) Pursuing her passions even if they take her half a world away.

After a few days relaxing in OKC, I found myself on the road to San Antonio for a weekend at PAX South. PAX(Penny Arcade Expo) is a massive convention that attracts a lot of gamers and companies that are in the game industry. They hold a handful of conventions each year and this was the first time they were holding an event in the south.

Instead of ponying up a few hundred dollars to stay in a hotel for the weekend, I decided to Couchsurf. I have been a member of the Couchsurfing community since around 2011, and have met some pretty awesome people through different CS events. (Thinking of the time I went to a Couchsurfing birthday party in Seoul).

I had been to some CS events but before that weekend in San Antonio, I had never stayed with someone. My host was a wonderful woman named Pam, who happily hosted myself and another convention attendee. It made for a very convenient carpool to the convention center each day.

At the event, I met a lot of fun gamers while waiting in line to test out the latest games. I also attended several panels held by top industry professionals who offered insight on getting into the industry as well as their own experiences while creating games and services. It was a nice experience to jump start my new adventure out in LA, as I was seeking a job in the gaming industry myself.

Twitch at PAX South

The highlight of the weekend was probably the Twitch party held at one of the local bars Saturday evening. The first 100 people in the door were going to get bracelets for an open bar all night. They ended up doubling the number to 200 people, and I happened to literally be the 199th person in line, so I lucked out! I got to brush shoulders with some of the industry’s most popular streamers. It was a lot of fun.

I woke up early on Monday morning to drive another 11 hours from San Antonio to Tucson. During the drive, I was contacted by a company for a position that I had applied for about a month prior. Having nothing locked down yet upon arrival, I was extremely excited to hear that they wanted to interview me the day after I arrived in Los Angeles.

When I arrived in Tucson, I was again met with some fantastic hospitality from an old friend. My buddy from university, Trey, had spent the entire day moving into a new place. When I arrived in the early evening, he still insisted we go out for food, drinks, and shuffleboard.

After a short night of sleep, I thanked Trey for being an awesome host and set off in search of the nearest In-N-Out Burger. I am not one to frequent fast-food, but I had not had a Double-Double for almost a decade; it was time.

#inNout burger!! It’s been 9 long years without a double-double… Too long. #delish #food #imseventeenagain

A photo posted by Spencer Bing (@notspencer) on Jan 27, 2015 at 12:29pm PST

I continued my journey after lunch, setting off for Lake Elsinore, California. This portion of the journey was the most visually boring until I began coming down from the mountains. There was a collection of fog, clouds, and sunshine that rushed past some wind turbines to make up a pretty amazing view!

Road Trip Wind Turbines

I arrived at my mother’s cousin’s home just as the sun was setting. I posted up on his couch and took in the view as I rested and caught up on my emails and social media. Kenny(my mother’s cousin), had encouraged me to make the jump out to California for over a year and offered me a place to stay on his sailboat while I got set up with a job and a place to live of my own.

The day after arriving at his home, he gave me the key to the boat and sent me on my way to Los Angeles. I arrived at Al Larson’s Marina in San Pedro around midday, my new home for the time being. It just so happened that a television show was filming at the Marina for a few days at the same time I arrived. The Last Ship.

I had actually watched the first season so it was cool to have the opportunity to walk through the middle of the set on my way in and out of the Marina. I even came across Eric Dane, the shows main actor, in full military gear with an M4 rifle in hand. He was just as badass as the show portrays, smoking a cigar on a break from shooting.

Say hello to my quarters for the near future! #onaboat #losangeles

A photo posted by Spencer Bing (@notspencer) on Jan 28, 2015 at 12:55pm PST

My new home is an Ericson 36 foot sailboat. It is not perfect and not a lot of space, but thats okay; I don’t require a lot of space. I have more than enough room to chill out after a long day of work and a place to rest my head each evening. Its imperfectly mine.

Originally published on Restless Reserve.