the open road.

You see windmills in the distance, spinning, not giving a single damn about anything or anyone around them. In other words, they are unbothered. Driving through Oklahoma the other day, I saw about 45 to 50 windmills spread throughout grassy fields.

I got tired of counting because they became smaller and more distant as I rode down the highway. The sight was mesmerizing, and it made me reflect on how many road trips I've been on in my life; I can not even count. Road trips are essential for five different reasons.They build character, show you who your real friends are, and give you a time to disconnect and reflect. They also expose you to new music and memorable moments in life.

After moving to Texas, the 11-hour road trips home became a piece of cake almost twice a semester, until it was time to move literally EVERYTHING in my closet to another state. It seems like I caught the wave of Kansas Citians moving to Houston because I could name about 12 people who I could carpool home with on any given day. The trips home were the best time to engage in deep conversations with my friends about whatever we were going through. I've had deep talks with friends about our futures, relationship problems, and general struggles that we tend to avoid talking about in day-to-day conversations from pregnancy scares to failing classes.

While you're in a car, going about 90 miles per hour, you have to trust that the person behind the wheel can stay focused while you are dozed off in the backseat before it's time to switch drivers. Furthermore, you have to trust someone a lot for them to drive your car, or whoever's car yo are in. So

metimes, its best for someone to just be a passenger with the responsibility to fill up the tank when it's their turn, or pick the music... rather than to drive the car full of people.

On another note, whoever has the aux cord is responsible for keeping the vibe with good music. If your music selection is crappy, then you pass the aux cord to the next person. On my most recent road trip, I was exposed to country music and podcasts. I have been listening to KidFury's The Read podcast series for an entire week now, Im addicted. Other times, my go to albums are: Drake's Take Care album, Sy Ari Da Kid's B4 the Heartbreak, Bryson Tiller's Trapsoul, or Erykah Badu's album with 13 songs about cell phones.

Although memories can be good or bad, you will definitely remember them from a good road trip. During undergrad, I remember having to sit under a highway bridge for 20 minutes during a severe thunderstorm in Oklahoma with the hazard lights on because it got that real. Another time, a friend and I had shitty service at a Waffle House outside of Dallas, so we walked out on our ticket. The adrenaline rush was amazing, like Bonnie and Clyde or something. Up to this day, I have not ate Waffle House, and refuse to... I'm more of an IHOP guy. You'll come across plenty of different food places that you should try. If you've never been to Texas, Whataburger and In-N-Out are two of those places! (Or my family's favorite in Oklahoma - Golden Chick with the spicy powder on the side)

Being open minded during road trips make them more memorable, and I encourage all of my friends to take a road trip as often as they can. I can not even think of how many times my parents called me in undergrad and I was in a different city. I randomly decided to pop up in Florida for Spring Break twice, and other cities such as Austin, Texas, Grambling, Louisiana, and even Cincinnati, Ohio. It literally takes less than $30 to fill a tank, so if you have a few friends who can pack a small duffle bag for a weekend, hop in the car and find a random place to end up. Take pictures and make memories, because the road trip is definitely worth it!