STORY BY CLAUDIA WILLIAMS
After arriving back in Des Moines from a 3200-mile road trip with my sorority sisters, best friends and soul sisters, I realized something — it is really important to spend your money, time and energy on making memories. As a woman with a major shopping addiction, I tend to spend a majority of my paychecks on shoes. But last month, with spring break approaching, I stopped those major spending habits and starting saving – and I thank my stars I did so.
Spending my money on an amazing spring break was the best decision I have made in a while. There is something exhilarating and life altering about traveling via road trips. Being able to see every star in the night sky while eating smores in New Mexico is something you can’t beat, I promise.
Growing up, I wasn’t the adventurous friend. I would have rather finger-painted inside for hours instead of playing in the front yard. But as I grew up, my need for adventure got bigger and I grew out of this stage. However, a part of me has always been reserved about getting too far out of my comfort zone. Things like public speaking, heights and spontaneous surprises get my heart racing like no other. I was even a little bit afraid of this trip at first. In the beginning, I thought to myself, how nice does going home and reading a good book sound instead? But I kept telling myself, “Do something everyday that scares you.” This motto is my New Years resolution and has allowed me to break out of my shell a lot these past few months. I am so thankful I talked myself into going on the spring break trip of a lifetime.
There are some things in life you can never replace, like spending 52 plus hours in a car with three girls. We saw the Grand Canyon, got tattoos in Colorado, hitchhiked in Albuquerque, snuck on a houseboat in Arizona and watched the sunrise (among other things). These adventures are the ones I am going to tell my children some day. I am going to whip out my scrapbook filled with photos and souvenirs and tell them all about this trip — the one unforgettable one I went on my sophomore year of college. Looking back now, I pat myself on the back for my decision to tag along. I am so happy with myself that I chose to make these memories, instead of reading the newest Nicholas Sparks book with my Chihuahua by my side.
I always ask myself, “What if?” after trips like this. What if I hadn’t gone? What if this amazing trip had never happened? Well, then I wouldn’t have learned these 17 things: (funny tips and quirky life lessons to follow)
1.Falling asleep while driving on Route 66 is a bad idea – if you close your eyes for a second, you’ll miss something beautiful.
2.Old Vegas is cooler than New Vegas.
3.Watching the sun rise, though very tiring, is incredible.
4.Pull over whenever you see something cool on the side of the road – gorgeous views, vintage stores or ice cream shops – pull over and take it all in.
5.Take a lot of photos. Posed, candid, and even the ones you might not want your mom to see. Pictures capture moments, and moments make memories.
6. Be spontaneous and try new things.
7. Captain Crunch donuts are better than chocolate ones.
8.The Grand Canyon is especially breathtaking at sunset.
9. Spending 52 hours in the same car as three girls can be detrimental to your friendship, but also extremely amazing.
10.Be safe and trust your instincts.
11. Waterslides are fun, even the forth and fifth times you go down.
12. Dance at concerts even if the music is bad.
13.Rarely eat at chain restaurants — always chose the fun diner with the neon sign over Burger King.
14. Being youthful is the best thing we are given — use it all up.
15. Meet the locals — they know of some pretty cool places to check out.
16.Make a bucket list and do everything on it.
17. Write down everything you do in a journal so you never forget.
While on this trip, I realized how important moments like these are to our youth. It is so important to be adventurous, take chances and do things that scare you, because those are the things that change your life. That gorgeous handbag at Nordstrom may seem like a necessity, but save your money, get in your car and go explore.