Tag Archives: Road trip

#OutrageousOctober: Let It Go

14 Oct

Hi, my name is Elena and I am a control freak.

This is not a recent realization in my life, and it doesn’t come out in every aspect of my life but it is always inside of me. My need (yes it is a need) to be in control REALLY comes out when I travel. One of my favorite things to do is to travel and that is why I get so interested in the details of a trip.

When I go somewhere, I don’t need or want every moment of every day to be planned but I want to know what’s going on. If I am not able to help plan, I need an itinerary of what to expect.

I know you’re thinking “this girl is too much,” and you may be right, but that is just how I am!

So I tried something new, I decided to let it go. I went on a trip that  I had no part in planning, besides the city we were going to and one activity we would attend, I knew nothing about the trip. The whole week leading up to my departure day I kept being asked, “where are you staying,” “what are you going to do,” and “who are you going with.” My response was “umm, I don’t really know.” Yes, I didn’t even know everyone who was going,  in fact, I only knew one other person.

The time leading up to the trip was very uncomfortable for me.  I didn’t plan anything, I didn’t know anything, and I felt like I couldn’t talk about it with my friends because I had no information about my trip.

I went on the trip and I had a good time, but I know more structure could have made it so much better. On our free day, we wandered around the city with no idea what to do or what the city even offered. I found it to be frustrating because I felt like we didn’t utilize the short time we had. That being said, I don’t want to harp on the parts I didn’t enjoy because that’s not the point.

The point is, although there easily could have been improvements, I am happy I had this experience. It forced me to let it all go and live in the moment not in a plan.

The moments that were by far my favorite were because there was no schedule.

We stopped by a Starbucks that was next to the world’s largest Kokopelli.


My parents moved since the last time I saw them, so we stopped by their house and I got to see my puppy!

Neither one of us had ever stopped to see the Hoover Dam before, so we thought why not. However it was not as successful as we would have hoped! So close, and yet so far.

hover dam

The best part about the whole thing is I got to spend the weekend with one of my best friends!


From this trip I learned that things might not go as smoothly as you would hope, but the stops along the way make it all worth it!



The World Begins at UA!

6 Jun

Join me on my cross-country road trip …

I just re-counted, and, as of today, I have been to 26 states across the USA!  How many states have you been to?  Do you have aspirations to travel to more places in the USA?  The world?  Well, it is never too early to get up and go!  You can really learn a lot by traveling and experiencing the world, and sometimes that “world” begins in your own backyard (or on your own campus).

Flashing images out of car window.

Recently, I graduated from the University of Arizona with my Master’s Degree, so my partner and I embarked on a cross-country road trip to move to Washington, DC.  During our 6-days of traveling, I observed many things that related to or reminded me of what I had learned as a college student.  Some of these connections may seem kind of “deep,” but remember, I was trapped in a car for over 37 hours with nothing to do but reflect and play road trip games (FYI – we also saw 39 different state license plates).

The Alamo (San Antonio, TX) – Do you know the story of the Alamo?  Click here to learn more. I am originally from Western New York, and I think the history of the South and the Southwest is so fascinating! When I was a student at UA, I made sure to attend seminars and view galleries that would help me engage with the history and culture of Tucson. I attended the Dia de los Muertos procession.  I visited the Arizona State Museum.  I went to Old Tucson Studios, and I went to a few presentations about border security and immigration issues. If you are originally from the Southwest and you think you know it all, I recommend seeking out different cultures and different histories to learn more about.  Try it!  This semester, attend one seminar or presentation for fun. Bring a friend or go alone. You might discover a new interest or a new perspective.

New Orleans, LA – Hurricane Katrina devastated this city nearly a decade ago, and people in this region are still rebuilding.  This city reminded me how important community actually is.  Everyone I interacted with in this city, however, was so proud of where they lived.  Do you remember the emotion behind all of the New Orleans Saints’ football games after Hurricane Katrina? I do because that happened during my freshman year of college (2005!).  This pride in where we are from is the reason we say you are a Wildcat For Life!  If you’ve never felt this community, I recommend throwing on your favorite UA gear and attend a sporting event.  Cheer for the Wildcats, and you’ll understand the community I am writing about.    

UA Logo on bead necklace.

Atlanta, GA – For people who watch “The Walking Dead” on AMC, you know why I was always looking over my shoulder in this particular city!  Feeling safe on campus is very important.  If you don’t feel safe, you can’t learn.  UAlert and UAPD are just two resources that (may) protect you during a zombie apocalypse; however, it is also important that you always pay attention to your surroundings and always go out with friends you can trust.

Charlotte, NC – My sister lives in Charlotte, and she recently had a baby.  This road trip was the first time I got to meet my nephew, Caleb, and this stop really made me reflect and think about what I value the most in my life.  School is important, and sometimes you will need to spend extra time on homework, exams, and projects, but don’t ever lose sight on what is most important to you.  Your friends and family, for example, deserve your attention too.  Some friends may get upset if you don’t call them every week, but you have to do what you have to do to find the perfect balance that works for you (I swear I did not borrow the last part of that sentence from Dr. Seuss).

 Cutest baby ever.

Washington, DC – Finally, I am now in our nation’s capital!  This city reminds me of how important it is to research and advocate for what you believe in.  You don’t have to move to DC to stand up for a cause that means something to you.  College is a great time to learn and to question what you think is right or wrong and just or unjust.  Be critical of what is happening around you, and never accept something “just because.”  This semester, stop at some of the tables out on the UA Mall and ask the students why they are advocating for certain causes.

Daniel and Tyler in front of American University sign.

So that’s is the end of my road trip!  I had so much fun traveling across the country, and, hopefully, one day our paths will cross! Bear Down!