I enjoy taking road trips for three reasons: to visit old friends, to spend time with extended family, and to experience new places. You can escape all the stresses and responsibilities of your “real world” school/career/home life for a day or two, without going over-the-top on a lavish vacation. Once you're back, you will feel recharged and may be able to deal with your day-to-day responsibilities with a new attitude and a clearer head.
1. Visit Old Friends
As Millennials, it's highly likely we're either graduating high school, in college, graduating college, or establishing ourselves in a career. That being said, it's easy to get wrapped up in your own bustling life and forget to keep in touch with dear friends you've made over the years. I graduated from high school in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and since then my friends have moved to various cities across the state or traveled to out-of-state universities. While I don't always get to keep up with my girlfriends' lives and gossip on a daily basis, what I can do is plan a yearly road trip to visit them.
My first road trip this summer was to Gainesville, FL to visit one of my best friends whom I've known since the eighth grade. She is now a junior at the University of Florida. Gainesville is about an hour and forty-five minutes from Tampa (where I attend the University of South Florida) and was close enough for me to spend a day and night. Although the trip was short and quite spontaneous, it didn't prevent us from making several lasting memories. My friendship with her grew, and I took an opportunity for some classic therapeutic girl time. The trip came just at the right time in my life; I had just gotten out of a long-term relationship, was starting summer classes and an internship as well as searching for a second job. With all of those things on my plate, the trip was a refreshing getaway.
2. Visit Distant Family
It is just as easy to get out of touch with friends as it is to get out of touch with family. Since this summer has started, I have made two road trips down to my hometown, Ft. Lauderdale. No one in the world has sacrificed as much for me as they have, so I make sure to take as many opportunities to give back to them as I can. As I said before, I've had a lot on my plate this summer, so taking a few days to recharge and rejuvenate with them helped put my priorities back on track, when I returned to Tampa. Do you live a few hours away from your family? Escaping to them for a weekend might be just what you need.
Taking road trips to see your extended family also offers you a sort of “home away from home,” because you feel like you are vacationing while also spending time with loved ones. Extended family is important too; keeping those familial bonds strong allows you to have a crutch when you're in those cities and need a favor or place to stay. Family connections can also offer professional opportunity; maybe your great uncle knows someone who knows someone that could be your foot in the door of a thriving new career!
3. Experience New Places
Also in June, my roommates and I took a spontaneous trip to Cape Canaveral, FL because one of them knew a friend that was going to be in town that day. We had never been to Cape Canaveral before, so why not? From Tampa, it took us just shy of two hours to reach our destination. We ate a nice lunch with this friend's family and spent the day relaxing on the beach. My trip to Cape Canaveral was another unplanned road trip which secured lasting memories while also strengthening the bonds between my roommates and me. Traveling somewhere new also helped me see my life from a different angle. Millennials, we're young. The world is our oyster. We have to take chances and the opportunities to experience new places because later in life we may not always get the time to do so. Coming to this realization, I have a deeper desire to take more road trips and a greater appreciation for the friends willing to share these experiences with me.
Traveling to new places doesn't just offer a fun getaway for a few days; it gives you real world experiences. On one of my trips to south Florida, my car broke down on an interstate highway. I had never broken down before, and the incident taught me what to do in those situations. Though those few hours waiting for my car to be towed to a mechanic weren't exactly pleasant, I'm grateful for the experience because I learned from it. You too can learn many life lessons just from taking short road trips.
Personal experience, weheartit