Travel Adventure Sunset Jeep Road Trip

I Took A Spontaneous Trip For My Mental Health

Everyone has a lot of stress in their lives, especially college students. My mental health was beginning to suffer, and I needed to do something to fix it. All of the planning, deadlines and structure that I had been focusing on was beginning to take its toll. I knew that I needed two things—to get away from campus and to do something completely unstructured and unplanned. I asked a friend, who had also been wanting to get off campus, to join. We decided by the weekend, we would have a "plan."

Come Friday night, our plan was simple. We both had a backpack packed with essentials—toothbrush, deodorant, change of clothes, phone charger—and an excited attitude. We had decided on a budget of $200, and we were determined to make it last the whole trip. We used cash, to make sure that we were strict with keeping to our budget, and because it allowed us to see at all times how much we had. At 11:30 p.m., the two of us hopped in the car, decided that we would go to Salem, Massachusetts and started our journey. 

The trip started off very well. We bought a few bottles of water and some chips for the road. The streets were fairly quiet, and we saw less and less cars as the night went on. The moon was out and so were the stars. Everything was so peaceful. About an hour into the trip, I really had to use the bathroom. However, it was almost 1:00 a.m., and there were no places open. We tried to find a gas station but it felt like all of the gas stations in the world had dropped off the face of the earth. Eventually we found one that was open, and we bought a bottle of soda to celebrate before getting back on the road. 

We had just about one hour left of our trip when we started to look for a place to stay overnight. All of the hotels were extremely expensive, and there weren't a lot of cheaper motels around. We found one about 20 minutes away from the town of Salem, and we decided to give it a try. The two of us walked into the motel at 3:38am, exhausted and ready to sleep. Upon entering, however, we found out that cash was not accepted and we had to be 21 years or older to rent from them. Drat. 

Eventually, we found another place for a pretty affordable price. We checked in, changed our clothes and fell asleep immediately. 

The next day, we drove into the town of Salem. I'm still not sure what I was expecting, but Salem surprised me and met my expectations at the same time. There were areas where the road and sidewalks were all red brick. The buildings were old fashioned style, yet in great quality. The scenery was lovely. Salem was just beautiful. 

We went to the Salem Witch Museum, somewhere both of us had always wanted to visit. We learned a lot about the history of Salem, the witches and trials and some different events through time. We walked through a park in the afternoon sun, had lunch at a Mediterranean Cafe, popped in and out of several different stores and visited a little local coffee shop. 

I was very nervous at the beginning of this trip. I had never gone on a trip anywhere without making plans first. However, I tried all sorts of new things, like a Mediterranean lunch, experienced a not-so-great Motel, which was better than I expected and got to explore a new location in a state I am unfamiliar with. The spontaneity of the trip definitely helped me achieve a balance in my busy, scheduled life. I did not have to make plans or communicate with anyone specific. I did what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted without having to worry about it affecting anyone else (except for my friend, but they were fully on board with it). I can safely say that taking a spontaneous trip to an undecided location definitely helped my mental state and was a very fun adventure. It is now my personal goal to try to do something like this once a month.