This summer, I worked as a camp counselor at the Lynch Van Otterloo YMCA, but I had one thing in the back of my mind. All my hard work and saved money was leading up to one thing: The Roadie. Late last spring, I was sitting in the Coffee Closet with my friend and fellow blogger Mark McPhillips when our friend Samuel walked in and asked us to go on a walk through the Arboretum. We walked to the dock, sat down, and one way or another road tripping came up in our conversation. The universal teen American dream of a summer road trip is something that my hometown friends and I have talked about before without any real intention of following through. Just the idea of leaving for a couple weeks and hitting the pavement without any obligations was enough of a thrill to sustain our imaginations. Mark, Samuel and I all decided that we would put our money (literally) where our mouths were. We planned out a road trip for the end of the summer. We each picked a state or city we have always wanted to travel to and mapped out our route from there. Mark picked Wichita, Kansas. Samuel picked Nashville, Tennessee, and I picked New Orleans, Louisiana. My choice came from my interest in Haitian culture and its integral function in Louisiana. The history of witchcraft in Louisiana reminds me of Salem, Massachusetts, which borders my hometown. After we established a driving route, starting from the Jersey Shore, we drafted a budget and worked throughout the summer saving up to fund our trip.
On August 7, I woke up at 5 a.m. to board an Amtrak train bound for New Jersey, the start of my journey, as Samuel simultaneously started his trip from Virginia in the Honda CR-V that we will call home for the next 13 days. We packed the car with a generous pile of snacks provided by Mark’s mom, our clothes, and our coffee and set off on our path through Pennsylvania to our first destination, Columbus, Ohio. I am currently writing while Mark sings "Superman (It's Not Easy)" by Five for Fighting, and Samuel dozes off in the back seat. We still have another six hours of driving today before we reach our first hotel. Mark and I will be writing a series of blogs about everything that we experience as we try to survive a couple more weeks away from Conn.