On the Road: Lessons Learned, Life Lived

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I've always romanticized the idea of packing up a van and hitting the road. I could picture myself in the passenger seat, windows rolled down, head and arms out the window, watching endless desert roll by. 

I still love hearing stories of young adults in the 60's and 70's packing themselves into a beat up car and taking their first big road trip. Their rite of passage, shall we say, into adulthood.

Acknowledging that it is indeed the summer after my senior year, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Now, times have changed and I didn't quite have the resources to road trip across the US, so I found my own alternative. I would go to the Adirondacks (Pt 1 & Pt 2), NYC, and Maine. I didn't plan all three trips at one time, but instead, they all seemed to fall into place in their own time.

The first trip was with my family, so naturally I was in my ultimate comfort zone. We take this trip annually and it was no sweat, even for two weeks. Now once NYC rolled around it was hitting me. I had never taken a trip and been so independent before. I was making so many choices and figuring my way around a city and it was pure joyous chaos. Maine was more of a kick-back and relax sort of trip. A few friends and I just drove up and hung around for a few days. 

Now, this is all considering that I wasn't completely on my own in any of these trips. I wasn't spinning around in circles with my head lost in a map or fending off a bear with a stick or anything. Although, ever since the NYC trip, I got a taste of what it felt like to be homesick. I was loving everything I was doing and how it made me feel so free, but at the end of the day I ultimately missed home.

I think this is why these trips were so important to me. I'm going to college far far away from where I live now, and I knew it was going to be a huge shock if I just dove in head first. I've always considered myself to be independent (to a fault at times), but I realized how much of a homebody I can be. I learned that the longer I spent away from home, the better it felt to come back. I know it's been written and spoken many times before, but it finally hit me that home is not a place, but a feeling.

I went to a city I adore with all my heart, but every now and then I felt a little empty knowing I wasn't sharing it with my family. On the flip side, I was in a part of the city I had never ventured to before, with people I just met, but it wasn't long before I felt so at ease, almost as if I was home with my own family. So I guess home isn't just achieved through the feeling of safety and familiarity. It can also be reached once you move past all your boundaries and skepticism to just accept the wonderful and natural human desire to connect and care for one another.

I don't regret a single thing about the way I spent my summer. So many people live their life with the big "what if?" and "I wish I had", but I can now proudly say, I didn't. I admit, I had my hesitations, but I figured "What the heck? What do I have to lose?" In that, I guess I was right. I mean, if all went as planned, fantastic. If things went wrong, I learned. Either way I was making the conscious decision to take the time to learn about myself. To explore new places, meet new people, to figure out my likes and dislikes, and ultimately to let my life play itself out.

So, in full.

1. It's okay to feel homesick, it means you are moving beyond your comfort zone to grow

2. There's nothing better than sleeping in your own bed

3. Don't take any time with your family for granted

4. Be open to new adventures and discoveries

5. Face your fears and leave your comfort zone, you never know what you'll learn about yourself

"Never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun" - Katharine Hepburn

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