Going back to my younger days riding back and forth between Ft. Devens and Shrewsbury, I used to stare out the window and watch the sights. The touristy fascination with the drive eventually evolved into me, a digital camera, and taking pictures of the highway signs I’d become so fascinated by.
It might seem silly: A metal sign – green background and white lettering – standardized by the USDOT, and I was into their design, their configuration, and taking pictures of them.
Of course, once I had amassed what would be considered an archive of these signs between four of the six New England states, the external hard drive I imported them to eventually crashed. I wasn’t aware of the existence of companies that performed data backup, and even if I were, I didn’t have the money for it.
The crash lead to a feeling of defeat and the ceasing of taking the pictures, even after I earned my driver’s license and was driving everywhere. It was only after I was the passenger for many family road trips and family functions that I ended up buying a digital camera (it wasn’t a fancy one at the time) and resumed taking pictures. Of course, I also ended up buying another hard drive. The first drive was a Maxtor (now owned by Seagate), this second drive was a Western Digital.
After high school, I had received my first smartphone. I had purchased dashboard mounts and was rudimentarily filming my drives. I also had taken many more road trips, including a trip to South Carolina. Between pictures of interstate and local route signs and videos of highways I had traversed, I had amassed a larger collection there than I had before.
It was 2014 when that Western Digital terabyte hard drive that was the sole source of that archive ended up crashing on me. I was a power user with the drive and it had been through a lot. Regardless, my initial reaction mirrored the one I had when my first drive died. There was footage on there that were captured at certain points that would be impossible to recreate.
At this point, I was working full-time and had the income to consider data recovery, so I did a Google search. I found a company, sent them the drive, and within a month, I had all videos in perfect condition on a new hard drive – not a Western Digital.
2016 has been a year of branding for me and “Road Trips in a Hoodie” (RTH) became the name of a YouTube channel that houses many of my trips – short and long. There are many trips that are too big to upload to YouTube in their native form, but I am actively working on cutting them up for easier upload and easier viewing.
In 2018, I set a new goal, which also became RTH’s new tagline: To visit all 50 states and live in at least 10. Since acquiring my passport in the same year, I added the 10 Canadian provinces, the UK, and Australia to my list.