Recently, I took a road trip of a lifetime with one of my best friends. Together, we learned how to cooperate and what it truly takes to keep a friendship alive. We learned a few other lessons along the way.
1. Just because you have a plan, doesn't mean it will go as planned.
Much in life, especially road trips, the occasional detour, speed bump, or other likely affiliated cliche, will hold true. Even planning months ahead for a roundtrip experience of excitement, relaxation, and bonding, could still result in missed opportunities or loss of valuable time and money. If you're both lenient and understanding of given circumstances, things will go much smoother. Keep an open mind and have patience.
So, we couldn't take the hot air balloon ride due to inclement weather, but we did hit up three different wineries en route, earning a free etched wine glass as a souvenir. Plus, free wine!
2. You'll earn a better understanding of yourself and each other.
Of course, each passing day can bring a fluctuation of emotion and prompt another side of a person to show. No matter how long you've known one another, spending several days with one person in a cramped car, followed by sharing a hotel room, can get a bit claustrophobic. You'll learn how each of you can handle stress and frustration. You'll learn the routines of what makes each other operate and think as they do. You'll learn that breakfast and sleep are the two most important enjoyments of every day. You'll also learn how the two of you can cooperate (or not). You'll reach each other on a deeper level than just meeting for the occasional lunch or drinks to catch up whenever your schedules align.
3. You'll be reminded why you're friends in the first place.
Traveling with someone can be tedious, especially if each person resides on opposite ends of the high/low maintenance spectrum. But, there's something really unique about being with someone with whom you just click, someone you can laugh and cry with, play pranks without consequence, and sing loudly (and poorly) every note of every song on the Pitch Perfect soundtrack for hours and miles on end. Together, you'll learn to see life through the other's eyes, and really understand the truth of their heart.
4. You'll create so many memories.
Of course, memory cards have been filled, storage space is far from empty, and social media has been updated of your excursions, but this simply is not enough. You'll document moments, places, and people, but you can't truly capture feeling and emotion as it was in present time. You'll probably forget fighting the traffic towards the beach, but you'll always remember how the sea breeze felt against your skin once you finally arrived. This trip was her first experience on the beach, standing with her toes in the sand, looking out onto a horizon of never-ending blue and white as the waves peaked and curled to fall, almost in rhythm. Together, we stood, in awe of our adventure and the vast Earth that we had not only explored, but all that is still left to discover for our own.
5. A tradition may be born.
This year's trip marked the second annual vacation in celebration of not only my birthday, but also the reconnection of two friends. Now, I know calling someone your Best Friend is a heavy term and usually isn't used with someone whom you only see once out of a year, but a Best Friend is someone much greater than any other human you communicate with every day. This person understands your soul, your heart, your being. They are encouragement through failure, and acknowledgement through success. Without judgement, they know your deepest, most personal secrets, and you, likewise. Together, you laugh, you cry, you cherish. A Best Friend is the biggest fan of your life (other than your mother) and will not step away when they're needed most. A Best Friend is someone you can drive over 900 miles with and still miss when the trip comes to a close.