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As a kid, I never liked driving for a long time in the car. My attention span was relatively short, and as a result, I constantly pestered my parents with the usual “are we there yet?”, or needed to be entertained by the unusual combination of Barbie movies and “I spy with my little eye…”. Thus, it’s been quite the surprise over the years when I’ve realized that I actually love long car rides. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not a happy camper if you stick me in a car for 12 hours. But when I’m with my friends on a cool summer night, with windows rolled down and music playing through the speakers, I always find myself in a state of bliss. It doesn’t matter whether we’re on an busy highway or rolling down back roads in New England. With good company, any car ride becomes instantly enjoyable. Sometimes I’ve found myself not wanting to leave the car on nights like those. 

Anna Schultz-Looking Out Window Road Trip
Anna Schultz / Her Campus

My summer was stockpiled with long car rides, as my friends and I drove all over on days when we weren’t working. We formed a small(ish) pod: 20 or so teenagers traipsing all over New England in a combination of two sedans, an SUV, and a beloved minivan. Nights consisted of stopping at McDonalds before hitting the road, then settling in for a cozy ride with our favorite playlist on. We’d scream over the music, laugh about events of the day, and always stop for Blizzards at Dairy Queen. 

Whenever I’d had a particularly stressful day, a long car ride always calmed me down. For that time only, I had the opportunity to relax and take in the surroundings around me as the car soared across winding backroads. I didn’t have to focus my attention on anything else but my Blizzard slowly melting over my hands. I always stuck my hands out the window, letting myself get caught up in the scenery of the setting sunset. 

But car rides weren’t only enjoyable because of the sunsets. Even in the pouring rain, I found myself never wanting to leave the car and the comfort of my friends. It was in those moments where our conversations were most authentic. We simply basked in one another’s presence and enjoyed life—even if it included a flat tire and several calls to AAA. 

friends road trip california fall break windows down music
Molly Peach / Her Campus

As I find myself at the airport this weekend, preparing to return back to Kenyon after Fall Break, I’m craving those long car rides more than I ever have. Sitting in a terminal with planes soaring over my head and hearing the various beeps and buzzes of airport security makes me miss the quiet, gentle moments of a summer spent in the hills of old New Hampshire. Even when nobody spoke during the car ride, we simply became comfortable with another’s presence. That, to me, is one of the signs of true friendship: you can enjoy one another without having to say a single word. As I listen attentively for gate changes for my flight, I wish I hadn’t taken that silence for granted. I wish I hadn’t taken moments with my friends for granted. It’s often the most meaningless things that leave the biggest impact on us. My summer was filled with multiple highlights, several of which were more triumphant than pulling out of a Walmart parking lot in the pouring rain. But here I am, writing about missing the smallest, sweetest moments. While I didn’t appreciate long car rides for most of my life, I now wish I had all the time in the world to drive on a highway with some of my best friends. 

Libby Foley

Kenyon '24

Libby is a sophomore at Kenyon College from Wellesley, Massachusetts. She's interested in Political Science and Psychology, but can be found hiking, singing, or spending time with friends in her free time. She's an avid fan of The West Wing and any kind of dessert.
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