When was the last time you tried something new, crossed something off your bucket list, or maybe conquered something you NEVER thought you could do? Devon and Bryce are hoping to do just that with their upcoming journey, “Destination49.” This dynamic duo has big plans ahead. Their blog, Destination49 (destinationfourtynine.wordpress.com) says, “Destination49 is about the journey of best friends traveling the nation. After graduating from College of Charleston next summer, we’re adventuring to 49 of the 50 states. Our goal is to meet people and share their story while encouraging them to embrace these questions as their personal challenge. D49 is about stepping out of comfort zones, pushing boundaries, and living life with no reservations.” I got the chance to ask them about the trip and what they’ll do along the way.
Name: Bryce Tuggle
Name: Devon Schmolk
Classification: Super Senior
What brought you to the College of Charleston?
Bryce: I call it “The Goldilocks Effect.” It wasn’t too far from my home in Buford, GA, but it wasn’t too close that I’d feel obligated to go home every weekend. It’s not a huge University with 300+ students in each class, nor is it so small that I’d get bored of seeing the same people every day for four years. Also, it’s Charleston. The city is really what sold me to the College. I love that I’m in a city that doesn’t feel huge and dirty, plus being so close to so many different beaches and so much good food doesn’t hurt.
Devon: My story is a bit different from Tuggy’s, I actually had no intention of going to a 4-year university. The plan was to achieve my AA from community college and then become a flight attendant. I just wanted to travel and meet new people. My senior year of high school, I enrolled at my local community college in Jersey so I could get dual credit. Basically, I took college classes once a week in the evenings to get out of spending 8 hours confined in my high school. I worked full-time at a women’s boutique in Sea Isle City. I may have skipped a few high school days to go to NYC with my boss for some buying trips. Clearly, I’ve always been about the experience versus the expectation. Anyway, fell in love with my communication classes and developed a mentorship with a professor, Keith Forrest. Keith and I discussed further plans post-graduation and he encouraged me to not “limit myself” and continue in higher education. I said, “I need the beach, the city, and the South.” Hello, CofC..Nice to meet you.
What is your favorite thing about CofC?
Bryce: My favorite thing about CofC is the people, whether professors or peers. I’ve met people here who I know will be my lifelong friends, and the professors are the absolute best.
Devon: It may be cliche, but I can’t pin-point just one thing as a favorite. My experience here has been life-changing. There’s something special about this city and college. It simply just feels like home. Every day, I’m surrounded by people who are so freakishly driven and it has inspired me to achieve things I never thought possible. Plus, those couches at the library are legit.
So, Devon, and Bryce, how did you two meet?
Bryce: Devon and I were both Orientation Interns for New Student Programs this past summer, her as a second year and me as a rookie. We worked one event together before the 2013-2014 school year ended and Orientation training began, but we really became friends when I found myself in a rather sticky situation. My summer housing plans had fallen through, I had nowhere to go, and Devon, all the way from Prague, hooked me up with two of her friends who were themselves looking for a roommate. After that, we just got really close really fast. I’ve never hit it off with anyone better than I hit it off with Devon.
Devon: Aw man, before even knowing Tuggy, she helped me out. I dislocated my knee kissing a British man and was unable to babysit for a close family friend. I asked the interns who was available and Tuggy said she would do it. That was something I always admired about her: she had no idea who I was, I was in a jam, and she saved the day. I mean, she may have done it for the money but I found it selfless. Three cheers for Tuggy!
What inspired the Destination49 idea?
Bryce: We had always kind of talked about how cool it’d be to take a cross-country roadtrip, and one day after having some margaritas at Chili’s, I just remember turning to Devon and saying, “So, are we really gonna do that roadtrip this summer,” and it just developed from there.
Devon: My capstone course was really the driving force behind this trip. Tuggy and I always said how awesome it would be to travel across country but we wanted to have a purpose. The idea that we are able to take on a challenge, while connecting with all walks of life is something that will stick with us forever. We all have a story, different experiences and a unique perspective, and it’s important to share that with the world.
How will you be documenting the trip?
Bryce: We have Instagram and Twitter accounts (@destination_49) on which we will be posting frequent updates, and we’ll also be blogging on destinationfortynine.wordpress.com. We also plan to invest in a GoPro so we can record (and share) every possible moment.
Devon: As Tuggy said, we’re on multiple social media platforms. We’re still in the process of figuring out which one will be the most utilized. Definitely Instagram and Twitter, but I think creating a YouTube or Vimeo channel would be awesome. The idea behind documenting this trip isn’t just for our own personal benefit. Sure, it’s going to be absolutely amazing to look back on this later down the road (pun intended), but also being able to share it with strangers with the hopes of inspiring them to take on a challenge that they never thought possible. We also need to document so we can send pictures to our families….that way they can share with our incredible animals how much we miss and LOVE them. hehe #crazycatmoms
What are you most looking forward to about this adventure?
Bryce: I’m honestly just looking forward to all the people we’re going to meet and hearing their stories. We’ve already gotten so many positive responses to Destination 49 when we tell complete strangers about it (because we do actually do this), and it makes me that much more excited for the responses we’re bound to get when we’re finally actually putting the action in motion.
Devon: That’s a loaded question, boo. I’m excited about the Double-Dog-Dare list. It’s our way of engaging with our “roadies” and having them propose challenges for us to do while we’re on the move. I’m eager, maybe a bit nervous, to hear the responses from people. I’m excited to take a picture in front of every welcome state sign. I can’t wait to be bare-naked bathing in a freezing, fresh water stream.
Number one destination?
Bryce: I cannot WAIT for Colorado and the Grand Canyon. Hawaii will be awesome too, and honestly I get absolutely giddy when I think about spending a night in Nashville. I guess that doesn’t really answer your question, but that’s why it’s called “Destination 49.” There’s not just one destination. Every state is going to be awesome and offer us something no other one can, and I wouldn’t be surprised if my favorite destination ended up being one we don’t even know about yet.
Devon: No reservations, baby, I’m not worried about the destination…just focused on the journey!
Any advice for people who maybe want to do something like this but don’t know where to start?
Bryce: Anyone who knows Devon knows that she is perpetually saying, “make moves,” and I think that’s the best advice she’s ever given me and the best I can give to anyone else who thinks he or she may want to pursue something like this. Just make moves. No matter how crazy your plan may seem, no matter how complicated it’s gonna get, you have to start somewhere, so just start. Also, worry about the cost later. We get that this is going to be expensive, and we understand that we’re two broke college students who can hardly afford our weekly half-off sushi, let alone enough gas to get us across the country. But we’ll figure it out. This is the only time in our lives that we could possibly do something like this, so we’re gonna “make moves” and jump all in.
Devon: As Tuggy said, “Make moves!” Start with a notebook and brainstorm ideas. Think about your biggest dream, something on your bucket list, reach out to people and find out what they’re interested in and run with it. It’s incredible how well-connected we all actually are. We just need to find that courage and reach out to people, and utilize our resources. Also, do research. There are so many awesome people in this world doing absolutely mind-blowing things. Follow their blog, get in on the conversation, ask questions, send e-mails, smoke signals, whatever. My last piece of advice would be…it’s okay to fail. There’s power and beauty in being able to fuck up and learn from that experience (not mistake) Last but not least, CHEERS!!