A Desert, A Tiny Car, and Some Complete Strangers - My Family Travels

The ONLY reason I’m going is to visit my best friend at college, I told myself. Why else would I spend my senior year spring break sitting in a car for 12 hours with people I don’t even know? I don’t even have to socialize with my best friend’s mom, little brother, grandmother, and mom’s Australian friend and his son. I had thought isolation would be the best way to stay sane while being dragged across the state with this group of people I hardly knew.  I thought the trip would be all I’d have to endure in order to see my friend at her University of Utah dorm, but to my dismay, they decided to take a detour through Las Vegas first. Vegas would be fun, but I didn’t know what to expect when feeling like a complete stranger to these people.

                What I did expect was the rather unbearable car ride: 12 hours, few stops, squished next to a 10-year-old with ADHD. The Aussie boy (who was my age) was exceptionally quiet, and my only source of sanity was my iPod which I refused to tune out of. It wasn’t until we got stranded in the middle of Utah with no gas when I actually took my headphones off. In midst of our turmoil, Kobe (the little brother with ADHD), Tommy (the Aussie boy), and I wandered to a small canyon and started tossing a ball around. I think this was the first time I heard Tommy talk. In fact, we talked for a long time until the grown-ups got the gas settled. It was then when things finally took a turn for the better.

                The rest of the car ride was actually… fun. I didn’t expect that. When we got to Vegas, of course, the adults began gambling almost immediately. Aside from a mind-blowing Copperfield show, we kids were forced to entertain ourselves. Those two days were filled with plenty of Adam Sandler movies, prank-calling, and Truth-or-Dare. Those two days were some of the most fun days of my life.

                It was another 8 hours to get to Salt Lake City to see my best friend. My expectations for my two nights there were this: late night outings, fraternity boys, ramen noodles, and maybe even a college party or two. Reality: late night gossip sessions, a tour of the Mormon Temple, intense games of air hockey (I beat the super-competitive Tommy!), and hilarious board games with the “family.” And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

                Spending almost an entire week in a confined space with a group of near-strangers has a way of making them seem like a dysfunctional family; my own dysfunctional family. I spent the car ride home headphones-free and instead chose to actually socialize. Funny, before this trip, I had imagined my ideal spring break vacation to consist of a beach, an airplane, and only my closest friends; so basically the opposite of what had really happened. I must say however, after bonding with these people and having some rather unconventional fun, I can’t think of any other trip where I enjoyed myself so much. Maybe it was the lack of external entertainment (with the exception Vegas, what were we supposed to do while in the middle of nowhere?) that forced us to create our own kind of fun, and enjoy ourselves and each other rather than participate in tourist activities that are shoved down our throats, the way it often is when I go on a family vacation to places like Hawaii or New York. This road trip was unusual (for me at least), but it gave me one of my best memories ever.

Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.

Comment on this article

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.