Picture this: Three girls, five states and eighteen hours of driving – in one week. I must add emphasis on the three girls part, who all managed to somehow pile their overstuffed suitcases into a 2006 Toyota Camry with little to no remorse for the statement “pack lightly.”
This was my senior year of college Spring Break.
Along with my two friends Alexis and Alexandra, I embarked on a memorable journey that left unwanted stomach fat and undesirable eye bags but created unforgettable moments. If you believe in superstition, then you would be just as worried about travel mishaps as I was, seeming that we departed on Friday the 13th.
“Y’all have lost your minds, really,” my mother said when I told her about our latest adventure hours before.
I was starting to think we had as the anxiety began to sneak up on me. I knew that would ultimately be replaced by adrenaline and excitement. Traveling throughout the country is something I always dreamed doing, especially in the form of a road trip. I imagined watching the sunrises and sunsets as the changes of scenery appeared, all while my friends and I are partaking in endless loud karaoke sessions. Nevertheless, I kept putting off the idea – until the travel bug bit me. And with its bite, I was forced to ask myself what was truly stopping me from going to see what other neighboring states had to offer.
North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York were our stopping points. These places were picked because they were unfamiliar and each had some beauty to them. Why not Panama City Beach or Miami like most college students? A lot of times we become comfortable with taking the same ol’ vacations continuously because we are sure they will guarantee a good time. In the midst of doing this, the opportunity to explore the unknown for the first time is buried. This vacation was definitely one of those that required me to step out of my everyday life element.
In a day in age where some of the less important things rule, small things go subconsciously uncherished. This realization came to me numerous times as I rode by open country, mountains and skyscrapers. The many distractions faced on a day-to-day basis are the root to the lack of communication and appreciation. If we are somehow unoccupied for more than a minute, we must find the nearest form of technology, rather this be a smartphone or television, to relieve our painful desire. I admit, I am guilty of this.
However, your mind is left to think when on a road trip. You are either driving, maintaining the tunes or being the second set of eyes. All of these require attention. They can also be the spark to daydreaming and actual face-to-face (hours of) conversations, instead of meaningless interferences.
Sometimes a life-changing moment can be as simple as shoving your stuff in the car and grabbing a friend or two that will be onboard to travel until you have found your minds that were once lost. As author Trenton Lee Stewart said, “May your adventures bring you closer together, even as they take you far away from home.”