There were a lot of reasons I took the job as a Peanutter: connections within a major company, good PR/marketing experience, its uniqueness, and lack of another job offer to name a few. However, the biggest appeal to me was that I am essentially being paid to travel the country. Some people in our program try to save as much money as possible or achieve other goals, but my biggest priority has always been making sure I see everything I want to in each place we visit. Sounds like a pretty easy and fun goal to accomplish, but the truth is, sometimes I just want to do nothing. Prior to this job, I was the type of the person who could be totally content watching hour after hour of Netflix or spending a whole day finishing a book.
So when I was repeatedly told that Sacramento was like California’s Midwest in that there was nothing to do there, I was elated. Sure, I resented the negative comparison to my homeland, but I thought I could finally get away with simply chilling and not have to feel guilty about my lack of exploration. But, as the week progressed, I knew past me who danced excitedly for several minutes when I got this job would be disappointed if my best memory from Sacramento was completing an entire Netflix show.
And so started a mission to find the good things about California’s Midwest. The first was that Sacramento is only about an hour away from Napa Valley. Visiting Napa has always been a dream of mine – it started with the movie “The Parent Trap” and grew even stronger when I discovered my love for wine. I gathered up the Bamboujee clan and we spent a day in Napa sipping wine among the vineyards. I enjoyed learning more about the different types of wine and how they are made, and the wine itself was exponentially better than my usual $4 bottle of Barefoot.
Another lifelong dream of mine came true when the NUTmobile got to be in a Scoop The Loop event. When I was a kid, my family would often go to Scoop the Loop (where cool cars drive in a big loop so everyone can see them) in Waukegan, IL and watch my older cousins drive their cars down the drag. Even though I’ve never been a car person, young me always thought they were super cool, and getting to show off my peanut on the loop brought it all full circle. The event got even better when we parked next to Drewski’s, the best food truck in existence, by pure chance. I devoured an amazing mac n’ cheese, BBQ pulled pork and grilled onions sandwich followed by a s’mores sandwich complements of the truck. It was an event for the books.
Though Napa was easily my favorite thing about the week, perhaps the most cathartic moment was when we saw Imagine Dragons in concert. There’s nothing like a little live music to stir up one’s emotions, and that’s especially true for the many powerful messages in Imagine Dragons’ countless #1 hits. But the most moving moment was when the lead singer paused the concert to speak on the recent shooting at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, which were extremely close to home for him as he’s from Vegas and the shootings occurred at a concert. I can’t remember exactly what he said (mostly because this blog is over two months late) but his main message was that you can’t let fear keep you from living your life. Seems like a pretty simple idea, but it helped me remember that it’s the things that make you uncomfortable that are really worth doing (like, I don’t know, driving a giant peanut down the highway, spending a year living in hotels or saying goodbye to everyone you know to live with two strangers for example).
The last good thing about Sacramento was that we had the chance to make it a good visit for other people. There was a collegiate volleyball team staying at our hotel, and they were all checking out our vehicles in the parking lot one night. We had just parked after going out to dinner, and we were fully prepared to avoid conversation and make a mad dash into the hotel. However, we ended up finding out they had a big match the next day and offering to give some of the team a ride. I forget sometimes how remarkable a giant peanut can be to those who have never seen it, but it was cool to see how just a quick ride was so exciting to the team and got them hyped for their match.
Being a Peanutter is awesome, but it’s just like anything else in the sense that sometimes I feel absolutely euphoric about what I’m doing and other times I feel more blasé about it. In the lower moments, I try to remember that there’s a reason I took this job over a typical office position and to make sure I’m getting out of it what I wanted to. I’m not going to pretend I ended up loving Sac (in fact it was probably my least favorite week thus far) but I’m proud to say that I made the best of my time there and came away with a good feel for the city.
Shell-utations until next time!