We recently came across two “urban explorers” that set out on an trip across the U.S. in a taxi cab to spark their spirit of exploration. Their approach reminded us that sometimes we all just need a breather and should take an adventure of our own. We asked John and Dan to consider continuing their journey so those of us that might not be able to drop everything today can live vicariously through them, and be inspired to plan our own adventure! And, their story continues here:
On the rainy afternoon of April 16, the spark of a harebrained idea was stoked into a bonfire of adventure. The concept was simple: hail a New York City yellow cab. The outcome was extreme – John Belitsky and I paid a cabbie $5,000 to drive us about 3,000 miles across the country to Los Angeles.
When our soon-to-be driver, travel companion, and bunkmate Mohammed Alam heard the proposition he responded “Why don’t you take the plane?” It was a valid question at the time, but over next twelve days, I renewed my love affair with the American landscape and John and Alam became enamored with the open road.
After returning to NYC a few days ago we began to unwind: we washed clothes, visited with friends and family, and caught up on our respective careers. Yet something about the trip seemed unfinished, the story incomplete. We are wired with wanderlust, mired by a Tourist complex, and committed to having fun for fun’s sake. Thus, we’ve decided to extend our first mission and go on another cab adventure.
Tonight we will fly across the Atlantic, and our next “fare play” will begin as soon as we land at London Heathrow. In the UK, cab drivers must pass an extensive exam called “The Knowledge” before they get behind the wheel. We will hail iconic black cabs and test our Yankee street smarts against British know-how. Which destination, Messrs? Well, we’re open to suggestions and I’m sticking to the mantra “randomness keeps things running.” We might jaunt over to Manchester, venture to Madrid, or even trek to Mumbai…
While John and I continue to be fueled by flights of fancy, we will certainly fancy this flight across the pond. We are sitting side by side in our Business Elite flatbeds, thanks to Delta. I’m 6’4” (193 centimeters), so after a couple of weeks in the back of the cramped yellow cab I am cherishing the chance to be supine while I watch the world pass by. I’m also excited to have been admitted to what our friend Chris Johnson calls, “the greatest bar in the world—first class.” Johnny and I will soon be lifting into the air and raising a glass (or three) to the Atlantic. London is calling…
Dan Wuebben was born in Omaha, Nebraska and has spent his recent summers crossing the nation on the great interstate vein, i-80. On May 3, 2011, he completed the requirements to earn his doctorate in English at the CUNY Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has written a manuscript, Power-Lines: Electricity, Landscape, and the American Mind and he will begin teaching writing at UC-Santa Barbara in September.
Visit John and Dan’s blog at ny2lainacab.tumblr.com and follow them on twitter @johnbelitsky and @randyrove.
Want to start planning your own adventure? Check out their interactive travel planning tool at http://bit.ly/iO4wjb.