Summer is for Road Trips

by Greg Nicholson | 7/1/96 5:00am

The perils of a road trip are many, but the advantages of a road trip far outweigh the dangers. This is especially true if one's road begins and ends in Hanover. This past weekend I experienced once again the truism of these statements as I traveled to Providence and New York.

For clarity's sake, I will define a road trip as any round trip travel by car that takes at least two hours each direction and includes at least one overnight stay. Road trips often occur with a group, though they do not have to, and the best kind are primarily for pleasure's sake.

The perils of a road trip are self evident: automobile accidents and/or mechanical malfunction, exorbitant expenses, feuding friends, and even skipped study time. These are all serious deterrents, but they rarely all occur on one trip. However, the advantages to a road trip are inherent in its definition.

Traveling two hours away from one's departure point is bound to result in one's seeing something vaguely unfamiliar, if not entirely new. Overnight stays often involve meeting and interacting with new people who have had different life experiences. Traveling in a group often leads to a strengthening of the bonds of friendship through shared adventures, and finally, traveling for one's own indulgence is usually pleasurable.

My trip this weekend can illustrate most of these points. Though I have made the trip before, both Providence and New York are less familiar to me than Hanover, and therefore offer novelty and diversity of experience that my routine here often lacks.

You may ask, why Providence, of all places? The answer is simple: Free lodging. While staying in a friends' house that was simultaneously sheltering three other road-trip groups, I met several peculiar breeds -- a roommate who was not sober the whole weekend (not too different from here), a proponent of the "Rhode Island is a separate country" school of thought, a man who argued for the supremacy of apes, and a woman whose leg was made of iron. (Since the key to many road trips is the destination, for sheer strangeness the Rhode Island School of Design is obviously a good choice.)

New Yorkers all seem to possess the great skill of pretending the 12 million people surrounding them don't really exist. However, even though I didn't actually meet anyone as a result, after any extended stay in Hanover it is often reassuring to me to go to a large city like New York -- just to make sure that there is still a world out there comprised of an amalgam of different people.

However, the most truly wonderful thing about road trips is not where you go. It's their individuality. For those of you worn down by the stresses of Hanover's cultural and social whirlwind, there is always northern New Hampshire and Vermont to escape to. The point is this, no matter what you desire, a road trip is capable of suiting your needs. I know that it is traditional to expound on the benefits of Hanover's summer term, and there are real benefits to be enjoyed, but I would advise everyone, if only once, to get out of town.

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