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Take a road trip

| Thursday, March 23, 2017

This spring break I got the opportunity to do something that was once an integral part of Americana.

I went on a road trip.

Specifically, I, along with two other members of The Observer made the 14-hour round-trip drive to Buffalo, New York, to cover the men’s basketball team in the NCAA tournament.

Despite the snowstorm warnings on the drive up, and the rain all the way back, the drive itself was maybe the best part of the trip for me.

For some people, being stuck in a car for long period of time with other humans is their personal definition of hell. For others, like me, getting time to just relax and chill out with other people while zipping by the great American countryside is a positive experience.

It’s nice to get away from the daily routines and regular places of our everyday lives and set off for somewhere a few states over. Maybe it’s just me, but I like watching the different houses go by and imaging what their residents’ lives are like. And if you’re lucky enough to have a guide like former Assistant Managing Editor Alex Carson, you can actually learn a lot about speed traps, road paving techniques and normal traffic conditions along the Ohio Turnpike.

And then there’s the music. The tunes, the jams, the funky bass — whatever you want to call it.

The traditional, correct road-trip music is classic rock and that’s where I’m in my element. Tom Petty, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Foreigner, Journey; anything in that vein of upbeat, driving classic rock is acceptable.

If classic rock isn’t your thing, some Iggy or Eminem or anything you can blast and sing along to works just fine, as well.

And one of the most underrated part of road trips is the length of time you have to listen to all your jams. Do you like Pink Floyd, but never have time to finish their concept albums? Do all your friend like “Hamilton,” and you’ve been meaning to find some time to sit down and really digest it? Turn it on for the drive and take it all in.

Unfortunately, with so many flights available and increased television coverage of major events, road trips are falling out of vogue. Why watch your favorite team play live when you can watch it on high-definition TV?

However, this is the wrong mindset to have. Driving is often cheaper and really isn’t that much slower than you think when you consider that you spend about two hours before each flight going through security. And that’s not to mention delays and cancellations. Weather can’t cancel a road trip as long as you’ve got guts.

But really, the most important and enjoyable part of the drive is building relationships. It makes existing friendships stronger and potential friendships emerge. Heck, road trips can be a great way to tell if your romantic partner and you are compatible. My mom, in fact, took a road trip with one of her former boyfriends and found out that he, while a great guy, just wasn’t quite what she wanted in a relationship.

So don’t underestimate the power of the road. It can be a fun experience and one that is sadly falling out of fashion. Whether you’re a collegiate newspaper trying to cut costs, a group of friends going to Las Vegas or a couple taking a romantic getaway, top off your tank and hit the road.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Marek Mazurek

Marek is a senior history major and is a former resident of Carroll Hall. He has lived in Mishawaka or South Bend for all 21 years of his life and covers Notre Dame football and men's basketball. He has loads of hand-eye coordination but lacks the height to be any good. Marek is also a proud esports supporter.

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