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Miles and Memories: The Value of the Road Trip


by Chris Marinelli 

This past spring break, eight of my friends and I crammed into two cars and set our sights on Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Now having completed the 24-hour trek down the east coast, I have a brand-new outlook on how much fun living can be.

The trip started out on complete impulse; my close friend Victor brought the idea of all of us driving to an apartment his family owns in Fort Lauderdale to me two weeks before spring break. After a couple days of planning and sorting out all the details, I packed my bags the second I was done with midterms, and looked forward to palm trees.

Hitting the road was one of the most exciting moments of the trip. We were a mixture of close friends, strangers and acquaintances. We packed all of our things, went to Walmart and bought some walkie-talkies, which would be subject to cruel puns throughout the trip, planned out the driving schedule and set off on the road.

The walkie-talkies proved to be a valuable asset through the trip, both for comical purposes as well as practical. Driving through New York became a maze of us following the other car, which was made considerably easier through the quick contact the walkie-talkies provided.

On a more comical note, from the second we started driving, we made up code names for each car. We were “dragon fruit” while the other car became “blueberry.” These changed consistently throughout the trip, including names such as “palm tree” and “coconut.”

When driving for 24 hours straight, boredom inspires you to discover more ways to laugh than you can count.

One of the funniest moments was when we had the ingenious idea to start blasting Disney songs that you can’t help but sing along to. I can only imagine the looks we received from other cars as we belted out the chorus of “Under The Sea” and “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You.”

Being confined for over a day forces you to find new ways to sleep that you would have deemed impossible before. I fell asleep sitting up with my hands folded, my head against the window, and once with my head on my friend Carlos’ shoulder. These interesting sleeping positions inspire hilariously humiliating photographs of our friends cuddling and snoring in the backseat.

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of being part of a long journey are the unbreakable bonds of friendship. Through being with each other for such a long period of time, we opened up and told stories and confessions that created intimate friendships and memories that will last forever. Being confined in a tiny car traveling hundreds of miles creates the opportunity to learn who your friends are, and what trials and tribulations they have gone through in their lives.

Through these newly-formed connections you also learn new things about yourself. Being with people who are opening up about their lives creates a new level of empathy that can only exist between a group of close friends. Moments like these are rare and irreversible. They are what make a road trip worth it.

I truly recommend driving across the country with a group of friends. As my brother said to me when I got home, “These are now your memories. You’ll never forget the time you got to spend with those people.” While planes are nice, the convenience does not replace the memories that can be built during a drive across the country.