THERE AND BACK
3rd October, 2020
by Anna White
The drive from Seattle to Chicago is approximately 30 hours. At the beginning of September, I gave myself three days to traverse the seven states from West to Midwest, alone in my gold 2009 Subaru Forester.
I was nervous to make the trip solo—though I’ve travelled alone before, 30 hours on the road seemed like a lot of open headspace to tackle. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
I slept in the trunk of my car in an RV campsite, slept in a Walmart parking lot. I pulled over at every “scenic viewpoint” sign, and a gas station with a “free live trout aquarium” in Montana. A weathered sheep farmer in Terry, Montana named Les told me stories of riding ponies as a child with his brothers at the base of the Terry badlands.
I stayed in Chicago for a little less than a week, packed up my belongings and donated or sold what wouldn’t fit in the storage compartment of the car, and headed back West with my best friend from college, Gaby, in tow.
It was not as smooth a trip back, and in many ways more memorable—we weathered a lightning storm while camping in a Minnesota field, a minor car crash on the highway off of Bozeman, Montana, and were greeted with wildfire smoke when we reached the West—yet I took less photos on the drive back. Only the last of this series is from the drive West, a snapshot of Gaby riding a jackalope at Wall Drug in South Dakota. It wasn’t intentional, but with someone else to share the moments with I felt less inclined to keep record.
These Polaroids are a few glimpses from the road.
Anna White is a writer and illustrator currently based in Bellingham, WA and a Nearness co-founder. You can find her on Instagram @annaclairewhite