By Alison Znamierowski, Regular ContributorDecember 8, 2015
image via Alison Znamierowski
The windows are rolled down, the car is packed, and the plans are set. The three of us — Abby, Lily, and I — begin driving away from the fog-lined coast of California, up the winding roads of the Marin Headlands.
It’s the official beginning of our end-of-summer road trip across the country. The odometer is tared, three lives are neatly packed into a 2007 Mazda 6, and we are still wearing fresh clothing. In this moment, I feel like a perfect reflection of the weather. It’s foggy, but the sun is bright behind it, and I know enough of fog to know a blue-sky day is coming. The tears from the previous hour have already become dried salt streams on my face, and I have already begun to forget the ache of standing in my newly hollowed room, bags at my feet, saying goodbye to another cultivated home.
From the back seat, I peer up at my two travel mates — Abby, a well-loved friend, and Lily, a new friend (we are meeting Kate in New Mexico.) They are chatting, and I take advantage of the back-seat, as I often do, to sit in quiet and watch the world go by. I have spent the whole summer working at an outdoor education camp and living in the Headlands. We have only used cars to get to the grocery store, so seeing the world move at such a fast pace is absolutely mesmerizing.
As with most on-the-road journeys, the next two weeks are full of unpredictable and beautiful moments.
From confessing our trials and tribulations of love while sitting on tacky motel bedspreads on a hot summer night in Santa Fe to chatting over beignets on sticky vinyl chairs at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans to passing around a champagne bottle while skinny-dipping at nighttime to floating down the river in Austin together, this trip is collectively transforming each of our friendships, and creating a bond that will only continue to strengthen.
This journey seems to be happening at a pivotal time in our lives; a time when we all need healing and need the security of our girlfriends to be able to garner the strength to make tough decisions we need to in order to move forward with our lives, to be vulnerable and willing to embrace life.
If this trip has taught me anything, it is to dive into the novelty that life offers every day — whether it be a new recipe, a new friend, a new horizon. It’s taught me to embrace change and not allow the past to keep you wrapped up in habituated actions; to trust in and be open to new friends; to surround yourself with strong, inspirational, caring, kick-ass women who will listen to you as you cry moonlit tears into black pool water, and who will sing their loudest alongside you to Ridin’ Solo in the car together somewhere between Texas and home.
Have you ever been on a road trip? What did you learn along the way? Tell us below!
Alison Znamierowski graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Sociology. Her favorite activities include picnicking with friends, barefoot wandering, and engaging with spontaneous impulses for adventure. Her little corner of the interweb universe is here: nowastespace.org.
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