I was cold and nervous when I walked up to the Union-Hefley bus stop at 4 a.m. on Saturday. A Cline Tours bus was parked, idling, with the bus driver sitting calmly in its warmth. I was excited, nervous and tired as I climbed the steps into the bus. I had been chosen to be one of the 50 students to go on this trip.
Ole Miss Student Housing sponsors Destination Unknown. You get on a bus, and that bus could take you to any city within a certain distance. The only catch? You do not know where you are going until you get there.
Slowly, more students arrived and climbed into the bus, still bleary-eyed and needing sleep. At 4:30 a.m., there were barely 30 people on the bus. This surprised me. A free trip. These people had been chosen to go on a free trip, and they didn’t even show up? I shrugged it off, it was no matter to me, I got a seat all to myself.
The bus driver shut the door, and we were off. Caitlyn Bolduc, the Community Coordinator for Deaton Hall, stood up and quickly addressed the group.
“As you can see, we are on Union Drive, that’s about the only clue you got. To your right is the lovely Deaton Hall; that’s my building. Everybody wave, good morning! Please don’t break anything while I’m gone.” She lowers her voice slightly, “You have to tell them that sometimes because last time I left, they broke something.”
Laughter erupts on the bus at the reference to the flood in Deaton Hall earlier this semester. She finishes her speech, letting everyone know that they can take a nap on the way there, and then sits back down.
The bus was silent as everyone attempted to get a bit more rest. Four hours later, we had arrived at our destination city. We disembarked the bus at 8:30 a.m. with only the instructions of: “Welcome to Nashville, Tennessee! Stay with at least one other person from the group and meet back here at 8 p.m. Have fun!”
The group I was with was just me and two other girls. We began our adventure by finding a Panera Bread to get breakfast and some coffee. As we ate, we did a quick Googling session in order to find out all the best places to go in Nashville. We decided to start with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum because Nashville is well-known for being the home of country music.
After that, we walked to a section of town called The Gulch and did a bit of light shopping. As we were walking around, I saw some people waiting in a very long line. I was confused by this until we walked by a mural. People were standing in line to take pictures with a mural painted on the side of a building.
Our group decided to take a Lyft to another part of town to find a specific mural and a famous ice cream shop. After taking pictures, we walked into Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. I decided that my lunch would be their ice cream, the flavor named “The Darkest Chocolate.” It was delicious. Next, we took an Uber to the Nashville Parthenon. A replica of the Parthenon in Greece, the museum is huge and houses a statue of Athena, which is 42 feet tall.
After our awe-inspiring tour of the Parthenon, we decided to do something that is an absolute necessity when in Nashville: get some authentic Nashville hot chicken. We waited in line for an hour and a half, quite glad that the weather was so nice. Finally, we were able to order our hot chicken. I enjoyed my meal as did my two other group members.
As the sun began to set, we made our way back to the Music City Center where we would be picked up by the bus.
The ride home was a bit of an adventure, with a wreck happening right in front of us on the highway, hitting some debris, and having to stop twice to make sure that the bus was okay. I was beginning to think that Destination Unknown was becoming Destination Arrival Time Home Unknown, but we made it back to Oxford safely and happy with the way our trip had turned out.
There is one Destination Unknown trip each semester, so if you didn’t apply or get selected for this trip, apply for the spring semester trip. You never know where you could end up.