Friends can make traveling even better

Kara Toay

I am a quiet and shy person and don’t really go on many trips or try new things, but I have been trying to change that. It is important that everyone experience new things. I always stick with what I know I’ll like and is comfortable to me, but this spring break I went to Panama City Beach with my sister and three of my friends, Zina, Rhonda and Ryan.

When my sister first approached me saying that Rhonda wanted to go somewhere warm and they were thinking of taking a trip to Panama City, that once was a huge spring break destination until an alcohol ban was put in place for the month of March. I was a little skeptical and nervous about going. 

I have never been on a road trip with anyone outside of my family or band program so going with just a group of friends was an experience in itself.

The friends I went with got me to try new things and we had a lot of great adventures together, like going to the zoo. One of my friends had never been to the zoo; we found Zooworld nearby and she was able to go for her first time and see giraffes and even pet a baby goat that was the newest addition.

Another experience I will never forget is the cheap hotel we stayed at the first night on our drive down. It was a Howard Johnson in downtown Nashville, Tennessee right next to a biker bar, although we couldn’t see it because of the fence. The door didn’t lock very well except with the deadbolt and there were people yelling and threatening each other over money outside our door at midnight. This was something none of us had experienced or want to again. We all kept saying it was like something that would be in a movie.

This trip was also important to me because my friend Rhonda is transferring to another university. This trip was memorable because all of us grew closer throughout the week and learned to look at hotel ratings before we booked them.

On our last night in the city we got some small bottles that had Panama City Beach written on them and went to watch the sunset and put sand in them. This was one of the first sunsets I had gotten to see at the beach and being able to see it with them, especially my friend Rhonda, who had been wanting to go see a sunset all week, is something I will always have with me.

Even if you aren’t able to afford to go anywhere expensive, doing small things to make memories and experiences is a great thing to do. There are many places to go that won’t cost a fortune where memories can be made and you can become closer with friends, even if it is just hanging out and talking or something as simple as going to the zoo.

As for me, I already want to experience more things and  I am really glad that I went on this trip with friends. I know that life will not always be like this, with fun and exciting new encounters, but I will always be thankful for this opportunity I have been given.