The Friends Who Road Trip Together, Stay Together

by Blair Thill

My group of friends is that of sitcom legend. I know EVERYONE thinks that, but trust me, we genuinely could have our own show.

We have more inside jokes than we know what to do with, and we have told our favorite group stories so many times our significant others are tired of hearing them.

A good 65% of those stories are from the road trip we took through California two years ago. We flew from New York to San Francisco, spent a few days in that beautiful city, and then road tripped down Route 1 to a resort in Newport Beach.

The road trip itself took a total of two days, and along the way we stopped in Carmel, a random pig farm, Big Sur National Park, a faux-Norwegian town called Solvang, and the best Mexican restaurant ever in Santa Barbara.

It was an amazing two days, but it was also an emotional rollercoaster as windy as Route 1 itself.

Road tripping with eight people – four people per two cars – is NOT easy. We lost each other in the lack of cell service, causing stress as to how we would coordinate our stops.

Some of my friends have teeny-tiny bladders, and the lack of bathroom access on Route 1 really tried their souls.

We saw the most incredible things, but man did we need that free drink in our hotel after the first day.

But we got through it, and once we got to Newport Beach, the only thing we wanted to do was sit by the pool with some tropical drinks melting in our hands. We EARNED it.

And after an epic trip such as that, I can truly attest to this simple fact: the friends that road trip together, stay together.

Problem-solving is the ultimate bonding tool.

There is inevitably going to be a problem on your road trip. Google Maps will stop working. The restaurant you’ve been planning to hit is closed for renovations.

There’s no cell reception to stream your curated playlist. And these are the easy issues.

The beauty of road tripping with your friends, though, is that you won’t be alone in solving these problems. You can figure out how to read (gasp!) a REAL map.

You can try a completely new eatery off the beaten path. You can have your own 90s sing-along. Together, you can tackle any conundrum you face, head on, and doing so will only bring you closer.

You come to understand each other on a deeper level.

When you’re road tripping on vacation with your friends, not only are you spending ALL of your time together, but you’re in an enclosed space most of the time.

As a result, you get to REALLY know each other. Strengths and weaknesses, the good, bad and ugly: you see it all.

When you’re with someone 24 hours a day, you see what makes them tick and what makes them go berserk. You see who can go with the flow and who needs to be in control.

You walk away from a road trip with a fuller picture of exactly who your friends are.

Driving inspires deep conversations about life.

There aren’t many things to do while driving in a car except talk, listen to music and play eye-spy games.

The latter activities only take up so much time, so what you’re left with are lengthy, meandering conversations.

These long conversations are deeper than anything you have in your regular lives. You tell stories that your buddies have never heard before.

You talk about your futures and where you’ll be in your lives and friendships in 40 years.

These types of conversations are the DNA of close friendships.

Driving also teaches you to embrace the moments of silence.

After you’ve had your deep conversations, sometimes you need a break from speaking. When you’re on a road trip, you learn how to embrace those moments of silence with your friends.

You’ve grown close enough, at this point, that you understand silence doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to talk about. It means you can just BE with each other.

Road trips bring some spontaneity to your friendship.

When you’re going through your daily lives, it gets easy to fall into the same habits. Your group goes to the same bars, orders the same takeout, and has a collective routine.

A road trip allows you to live spontaneously together.

As you follow your planned path, you’ll come across things you couldn’t have found in your pre-trip research that you’ll want to stop and see. In the case of my friends and I, we came across a beach full of seals on Route 1 we could never have planned for. Who could think to plan for seals?

Having a car allows you to go off the beaten path at any given moment. And the spontaneous moments are what you’ll remember long after the planned ones.

You drive away with inside jokes and lasting memories.

Yes, the people who didn’t go on your road trip will get tired of hearing the same stories over and over again. But you won’t care. The memories and inside jokes that you’ll gain from your road trip will be enough comfort to deal with the haters.

My friends and I constantly reminisce about our time in Cali – the time we met an old hippie in Haight-Ashbury, the time one of my friends literally peed his pants on the Golden Gate Bridge because he was so scared.

They’re little morsels we can go back and visit anytime we need a pick me up.

In the first 20 or so years of our lives, our memories primarily revolve around our families. But in our 20s, our friends are the focus of our memories.

Going on an adventure with those friends is one of the experiences you’ll treasure for the rest of your life when you look back at that decade.

So what are you waiting for? Rent a car, pick your destination and grab your best friends.

Compensation for this post was provided by Discover it® via Elite Daily. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Discover it® or Elite Daily.

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