When you think of a typical road trip, you think of long, endless hours of driving only paused by a bathroom break at a gas station or greasy fast food stops along the way. You get to the destination quickly, but lose sight of the importance of the places you are driving through.
After taking many road trips with my family as a kid, the thought of taking one with friends from college was not the most attractive idea. I love to travel, and flying is quick, easy and more fun in a lot of ways. However, flying is expensive both monetarily and ecologically. So, when my friends offered a road trip to Arizona, I begrudgingly agreed. This trip changed my whole outlook on traveling.
On this 26 hour drive, we did so much more than just zoom through freeways and stop at McDonald’s. We stopped at sights along the way, whenever we wanted to. This was a far cry from my previous family trips, where each hour seemed to drag on. Instead, I felt excited to drive and see what we could find next.
We stopped along the Mississippi and had a picnic of homemade sandwiches as we watched the barges travel down the river. We explored the Navajo Reservation and chose to drive the historic Route 66 instead of the interstate. We even got out to explore and hike some of the snow-covered San Francisco mountain range, named after the person, not the place.
By the time we got to our destination, I felt disappointed that we had arrived so soon and that the exploration had come to an end, until I remembered we had the whole drive back. Flying over the country may be quicker and might be easier, but you miss all the unique sights and cities along the way. You lose a chance to bond with your friends in a way that only an endless road trip can.
I challenge you to grab some friends, choose a destination, and head on the road. Maybe as “Life is a Highway” blares from your speakers, you too can get lost along the way and find something that you never would have seen otherwise.