I have found there is an incredible amount of pressure put on college students to do everything within their capabilities (AND MORE) to prepare for “the real world.” Last year, I was a struggling junior with a little too much going on at once. I was working three part-time jobs, devoting time to classes, and serving as the Fundraising Chair for my university’s American Marketing Association. While the year was flying by I was also stressing about finding the perfect summer internship. What I’ve since found is: the best things come when you give them time.
I moved home for the summer with no job or internship waiting for me. Although it was extremely difficult to not have a plan, it has worked out better than I could have anticipated. I am fortunate to have found this writing outlet, as well as an opportunity to help a nonprofit with their marketing and top off my time working as a server.
The Road Trip
These positions allow me the flexibility I wouldn’t have in a full-time internship, working in an office for forty hours a week. This is where the spontaneous road trip comes in. My friend and I “roughly” planned a road trip from North Dakota to Colorado four days before we took off. My friend Jordan and I have done a lot of traveling together. Since she graduated a year early we decided to give her a proper send-off as she enters “the real world”.
We had the majority of the week free and were in the mood to experience a new environment. The drive began in South Dakota, and took us through Nebraska, before we arrived at our final destination, Colorado. Fortunately, we were both comfortable with driving at night. I was able to watch the absolutely breathtaking sunrise in Nebraska, made even better by the sight of winding roads and grazing cows (reminding me of home). I’ve found road trips go much smoother when one person sleeps while the other drives. This enabled us to spend as much time as possible taking in the scenery at our final stop.
There is something so freeing about breaking up your normal routine to explore a new place. The crazy, beautiful thing about this world is that there are all sorts of people and things to meet and see. Although, an issue I didn’t think about beforehand was elevation sickness. I already have motion sickness so adding the twisting roads was not always fun for me. Despite the elevation, coming from the land of cornfields and flatlands, I was amazed by the winding roads with never-ending mountain views.
Advice for Future Roadtrippers
We did face some challenges regarding housing for each night. Not knowing where we would be staying was our main source of stress. However, we made it work. Being able to go with the flow and roll with the punches is extremely important to have a good time. If you’re able to give up some control, traveling without an itinerary can be an opportunity to make extraordinary and spontaneous memories.
I’m so grateful to have been able to take in beautiful sights with my best friend. All it took was a bit of planning and a desire for adventure. Next time, I hope to be more open to improvisation. Overall, road tripping was a better experience than flying because of the freedom we had with our own mode of transportation. If you have the opportunity to go on a road trip: take it and make sure to embrace the experience!