My Background and My Methods

If you don’t have a couple good stories to tell, are you really living life? My name is Cody Esser and I grew up in the small Central Wisconsin town of Marshfield. As I always tell people, “It’s a great place to raise a family, but a horrible place to raise hell.” One thing that definitely prevails in a small town is the small town mindset. This mindset extends to traveling. It seems, for the most part, people have this shock collar that goes off once they get 30-40 miles from their small town.

Marshfield is no different. With Wausau, Stevens Point, and Wisconsin Rapids each being 40 miles away, most people would have to plan taking a trip there and that trip would be a big event. For me, I’d go there and back for lunch. I’d easily make day trips out of Madison (140 miles) or the Twin Cities (160 miles). It’s just a matter of hopping in the car and going.

I’m not sure if it’s my adeptness in technology or the fact that I don’t think in an old school sort of fashion. Over time, I have realized that all you really need are 2 things to easily function anywhere in the Western World: a debit card and a smart phone. I think people overthink the complexity required to travel. A debit card will easily get you the money you need, including foreign currency out of an ATM. A smart phone will fill in the rest of the details on the fly and act as a GPS to get you to where you want to go or find your way out of trouble.

I guess historically it’s never been like this. In the past you actually had to plan your travels. There wasn’t an easy way to punch where you wanted to go and have a device take you there with no thinking. You had to use a map and if you got lost, good luck finding your bearings. You also needed to bring the correct amount of cash along since you had to go to a physical bank to get it. Good luck on finding a 24 hour gas station and pay at the pump was definitely out of the question. I understand where this old school mentality comes from. There were a lot of barriers back then. The great thing about the 21st century is technology has pretty much eliminated every single one of those barriers.

People always joke around about my traveling. I know one specific road trip stemmed the joking around. I was taking a class in Wausau on a Saturday and after the class was done, I decided to take a road trip to Iron Mountain, Michigan. From Wausau it’s about 130 miles to Iron Mountain. The trip back to Marshfield is 170 miles. I was hungry and stopped to get a burger. People will give me crap and ask about my next road trip and if I’m going there for <insert food here>. The funny thing is I did not go to Iron Mountain for a burger. I went up there for the hell of it and because I was hungry, I got a burger.

Another part of my traveling is I don’t like to stay in the same spot for an extended amount of time. I like to see whatever landmark is there and move on to the next.  People will joke around and ask if I have a checklist of monuments and landmarks and check them off the list while I drive 70mph past them. While that’s not too far from the truth, I do take some time to stop to see everything but quickly move on.

I have always found driving relaxing. I know Madison and Austin like the back of my hand. There are some other cities like the Twin Cities and Thunder Bay that I know well enough to get around half way decent. I’d just get in the car and randomly drive around. Instead of sitting around and watching TV, I’d just put on some good music and randomly go for a drive.

Now I guess I’m like your typical American. I work a 9 to 5 sort of job with the typical vacation time. I have been working full time since the week I turned 18. I went to college full time and worked full time. Right now I’m working full time and also working on my MBA. Obviously life is busy and there’s a lot to attend to. This is probably another factor that drives my impulsive traveling. I want to as much as I can in the limited time I have.

With being a typical American, I have a car. It is a 2007 Ford Focus to be exact. I bought it brand new in October 2007 with 100 miles on it and am ready to crack 200,000 miles soon. It’s been an amazing car that has been through a lot. Right now I’m at 40 states and 2 Canadian provinces. It’s also been through some not so nice conditions. Overall I’m happy with it and will keep driving it until the wheels fall off.

I told you it’s been through a lot. This is my bent Wisconsin plate from pushing a little too much snow over the years:

I prefer to travel by car. It allows me to be fully in control. When traveling by car, I am not put through a groping that is known as airport security and then jammed into a claustrophobic plane that is at the whim of the weather and how many other factors. The nice thing about my Focus is I can put the back seats down, put my head by the hatch and then fully extend my feet to the center console. It’s nothing to pull into a wayside when tired and sleep. I like the fact that a car can act as a shelter and if I’m feeling tired, I can pretty much pull over anywhere and get some sleep. I can do it on my own schedule and my own terms. There’s something that is liberating about traveling like that. It’s the true freedom of the open road.

Just as good as a bed:

So I am going to keep traveling for the hell of it and I’ll write my stories as I go. I’m trying to keep it as simple as possible. The pictures I take will most likely be taken with my cell phone and I’ll try to record everything the best I can while on the fly. I’m not one of those people who spend more time documenting what they are doing instead of actually experiencing what is going on. All these trips I take are random for the most part and I really don’t plan much except a general direction. Basically, I throw a dart at the map and go.

Since I have been asked by multiple people for well over a year to start blogging about this, I guess this blog will serve as a repository for my stories. Since these adventures take place randomly, stay tuned for updates. I’ll update as much as possible. Also note, I am in a learning phase for blogging. I am a tech guy who works on computers for a living. I do not have any writing experience and have not blogged in the past. Bear with me as I take you on my adventures…

By the way, I did move out of that small town to the bigger city of Austin, Texas.

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