Time to Hit the Road and Explore!

We all do it – finals week of spring quarter approaches and we begin to make plans to visit our out-of-town Anteater friends over the summer.

These aren’t substantial plans though, but merely fantastical notions that we toss around to get us through our last exams and ten-page papers.

Before we know it, September is nearing and we’ve done nothing more than tell our Northern California friends we miss them on a pathetic Facebook “wall comment” and mope around our Irvine doldrums.

When one of my roommates told me that I, along with others in our Life Group (a Christian small group through RockHarbor at UCI), should visit her in San Jose this summer, my “Yeah!” quickly morphed into a “Yeah, right.”

I felt like it’d be far too complicated to get a group together. With summer classes, money issues and part-time jobs, a road trip seemed out of the question.
A week or so after school ended, I received a call from the one hopeful girl among us who was trying to plan potential road trip dates.

It was hard to find a weekend that pleased more than a handful of our friends, but she planned the trip anyway.

People hopped on board and bailed as schedules shifted and the group wasn’t finalized until the last minute.

It wasn’t until my alarm woke me up at the ungodly hour of 3 a.m. that I realized the trip might actually happen.

Miraculously enough, I ended up on the road in a car full of my friends just past five o’clock that morning.

And the trip was incredible.

I got to know people from my Life Group that I didn’t talk to as frequently as well as deepen the great connections I already had with others.

I was able to see where a couple of my friends live, visit new places, try new things and laugh a lot, and all because we had the guts to get in a car and make it happen.

Wondering if the stress and time it takes to plan is worth it? If watching “California’s Gold” with Huell Howser isn’t sufficient inspiration to explore our state, here are some other things to consider:

Do you long for the opportunity to watch a friend eat a scorpion lollipop that was purchased near Fisherman’s Wharf?

Want to visit a bakery that far surpasses Sprinkles Cupcakes and Albertson’s chocolate chip cookies?

Care to bark at strangers from the car?

Do you wish to battle your friends with fake weapons and play with random gadgets in Chinatown?

Want to play outside as long as you want without pesky Irvine cops?

Want to cheer on break-dancers with your friends before eating at the original Boudin in San Francisco?

Want to visit random fruit stands off the freeway and befriend a litter of stray kittens?

Want to spend 45 minutes in a funky hat store in Los Gatos taking silly pictures?

Do you long to go somewhere where you can actually wish on shooting stars instead of airplanes?

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, then definitely hit the road. We still have more than two months of summer left!

I realized from my trip that going somewhere else, even if it isn’t terribly far, opens your eyes to a wide range of possibilities.

Many of the activities we did up north we could also do in Irvine, but we don’t typically take the time we should to get to know each other better.

On my trip, I saw the power of a close-knit community and just how much fun can be had if we set aside time for adventures, whether big or small, on Campus Drive or Rodeo Drive.

There are unimaginable benefits to putting others before our monotonous to-do lists. Don’t believe me? I’ll bet you one of those scorpion lollipops.