In my first two years of college, I have had the opportunity to take two road trips on opposite sides of the country.
My first came during spring break of 2016 when I got to travel along the West Coast. We began in Phoenix, made our way to Las Vegas, San Francisco and then south to Los Angeles.
While this included more than 20 hours of driving altogether, it was worth every minute.
I had the opportunity to see the Hoover Dam, Las Vegas Strip, Golden Gate Bridge, Pacific Coast Highway One and the area surrounding Los Angeles.
That road trip gave me a new perspective on what it meant to live in the United States, and it taught me more about life than any class I could take or sport I could play would. It exposed me to different cultures and the United States’ diversity.
This year, I also had the opportunity to take a road trip, except this time it was across the Eastern seaboard.
This trip took us to visit Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Charlottesville, Virginia; Philadelphia; Providence, Rhode Island; Hartford, Connecticut; and Boston. We saw the beauty of the Ivy League schools and even spent St. Patrick’s Day in Boston.
During this road trip, however, I reinforced my desire to live in the southeastern U.S., as once again, I realized the United States is diverse within itself, but that nothing is more spectacular than the Southern lifestyle.
Whether it is cruising down the coast of California or surviving a “Nor’easter” at Yale, road trips provide an experience of a lifetime that could not be found elsewhere.
And, while spring break in Destin, Florida, or going up the river is fun, it’s always nice to do something different that allows you to experience a new perspective of our country.
You see, through both of these experiences, I can truly say that I have experienced the United States, almost to its fullest. And I encourage every one of you to do the same.
If you have the opportunity to road trip with friends, fraternity brothers or sorority sisters, there is nothing like it.
Another perk of doing it at our young age is that it can be done on a small budget. The real question is whether or not you’re willing to put in the time.
If so, I highly encourage it because there won’t be another point in your life where you’ll be able to say you traveled across 13 states in seven days.
Whether it is a long drive to South Padre Island, Texas; Rocky Point, Mexico; or the valley of Jackson Hole, Wyoming; road tripping is an experience that everyone should have the ability to try at least once.
Nestor Delgado is a sophomore public policy leadership major from Pascagoula.