People always say it’s not about destination but about the journey.
I think I realized that the Summer of 2012, aka the summer of awesomeness.
Let’s talk about the moment I fell in love with sleeping in my car. Okay, not with sleeping in my car but the journeys that happened because of it.
Kalee and I were determined to make Summer 2012 the best summer ever, and that started with a trip to Lake Michigan. We left behind the ol’ dirt roads for the beach life. It was the summer after our first year of college and after living in separate cities for a year we were back on the same turf, which was awesome for us and dangerous for everyone else. It all started with an in car selfie posted to Facebook that read “ROAD TRIP, BATCHES” in which someone commented “Batches of Cookies?”…not quite. But we felt it was only fitting to kick off what we expected to be the best summer ever with the most typical girl picture in the world.
So we were off, driving through middle of nowhere back roads thanks to Siri sucking at her job. At one point we even passed a giant devil head on the side of the road….like taller and wider than my car giant. We arrived expecting to stay on a power boat but instead found ourselves in a parking lot with no boat to crash on. To get us through the night without spending extra money on a hotel we had a couple sleeping bags in my trunk, some puffy sweatshirts and a pair of camo sweatpants that should have been left at home.
Lord help us.
I told you this was the most typical girl picture. ^
So that was that, we decided to sleep in the car. Luckily we had access to the boat showers which of course were totally sanitary. Once we had some free time and had established our sleeping arrangements we decided it was time for some fun. Hello beach pier! We headed to the beach, camera in hand and dunked our feet into the fresh Lake Michigan water. Waiting for the sunset we walked the pier and decided to take the most dramatic pictures ever because why the hell not? We love taking goofy pictures because there’s no better way to remember those silly teenage days. And then we found ourselves sitting in my car after the sunset. Cue the grouchy moods. There was no where to go and it’s two over dramatic girls in a compact car. Sounds like a ball of fun right?
Well we were crabby and hangry (hungry + angry) so we headed into the small town of Ludington to find some grub…aka the only open bar. Hello cheese pizza.
I think we ate the entire thing in approximately 17.4 seconds.
Pizza gone and no other souls on the street we figured the entire beach town goes to bed by 10. That being said there went slacking on our return any longer. We headed on back to our luxury parking lot and parked our moving room for the night. Kalee put on her camo pants, we settled into the sleeping bags and cracked the windows for the fresh air. Well no sooner then settling in we were sweating, arguing and debating whether we should ditch to sleep on the beach.
“But Shalee what if we are sleeping in the dunes and the only homeless person in Ludington finds us and robs us or the police find us and we get arrested or the sand dune spiders crawl on us.”
I think you can tell who is the worrier in this situation.
So we stayed in the car, sleeping on and off and constantly rolling over and drooling on the leather car seats. I even woke up around 3am to have a conversation with the sleeping-talking Kalee.
Kalee: “I’M SO HOT”
Me: “Take your sweatshirt off!”
Grunt. Moan. Roll Over.
Well finally dawn broke. I woke up having a heat stroke and hearing a car door slam. I sit up to find cars of fishermen on all sides, unpacking their trunks and laughing at the two girls crammed in a car. We looked like absolute hell. On the bright side at least the layer of camo pants had been traded for a pair of shorts during the night.
Well now that I’ve described the hell side of the night, I’ll tell why I loved it.
1) The amount of laughs shared in that car that night were uncountable
2) We saved so much money from not getting a hotel we could do it again
3) Nothing beats a night where you can hear the waves
4) We entertained a lot of fishermen that morning
5) It introduced me to a whole new kind of travel
You see, after we survived that night we started realizing we could actually start doing this on other adventures where we were better prepared to sleep in the car and save a ton of money. I mean the biggest cost of a trip is normally wasting it on hotel rooms. However this kind of thing only works in safe places. I’m not going to park my car in downtown Detroit without expecting to never return. But it’s kind of like camping, uncomfortable but cheap. I mean if I could camp all the time I would, but that’s not always an option.
That next morning we were complete and total beach bums. We spent the morning enjoying an eggcellent breakfast and then headed to the coast. We spent the day dreaming of what else we planned to do that summer and that although we worked completely different work schedules we would find a way to make it work. I mean who wants September to roll around and realize you did nothing to make your summer worth remembering? Also, did I mention how incredibly tan we got that day?!
That one night we got stuck sleeping in my car was the night we learned a lot about travel. We took it and turned it into the best summer of road trips and beach bumming and brought it into the next summer of expanding road trips. We learned that it’s not about where you lay your head at night but how much fun you have getting to that pillow. Whether it be an actual pillow or rolled up T-shirt. That’s why every time we are on the road we roll down the windows, blast some tunes and stop for whatever looks fun. We have no time limit getting to the destination–except when racing the GPS to catch a sunset.