I Drove 1,517 Miles Straight Just To See My Parents

It was the perfect end to a 4-month road trip. A final all out sprint to the East Coast from Colorado.

I decided on doing it a few days before — I didn’t want to give myself too much time to think about it.

After driving damn near 12,000 miles across the United States this summer already, I thought this wouldn’t be so bad. It would be like running a marathon after banging out 10-mile runs twice a week.

The truth is I was supposed to go somewhere else.

I was supposed to go to Orlando from Colorado and stop in at places like Kansas City, Nashville, and Atlanta.

But I missed my parents.

After endless days of seeing the country rush by my windshield, I decided it was time to go back to the place I was escaping from.

More importantly, it was about seeing my parents again.

Here’s the catch, and the reason I did 1,517 miles in (literally) one sitting: it was a surprise.

My parents had no freaking clue what was coming. So, on a late October morning at 8 A.M., I packed my stuff up, hugged my cousin goodbye, and took off for Maryland.

I had quite the itinerary for the drive back. I had places like Kansas City, Indianapolis, St. Louis, and even Pittsburgh on the to-do list.

I didn’t start getting tired until about midnight. I called all my friends. I drank a bunch of Frappuccinos. I listened to “Try Everything” by Shakira about 3,000 times.

I also got the sick idea to snapchat the hell out of my drive back and make a sick collage video. You can find that below.

What was it like, though? How did I pass all the time? Did I ever really stop?

I mean, the drive was fun. I ran on adrenaline. I think the fact that I was actually attempting an extremely challenging thing kind of kept me going. I had my Spotify and I was set.

I stopped at little diners along the road for food. I was so excited I drove right through certain cities without stopping once — except for St. Louis. I had to see the Arch.

I daydreamed about my parents reactions. I thought about my trip. I put everything into this amazing perspective. I started asking myself questions like, “Did I really do all of that?” and “What’s next?” and “When will I see all of my friends again?”

Most importantly, I was wondering if I would ever do it again as an older man. Turns out I’m about to do another one this summer.

The miles ticked by, and I never lost any of the excitement.

At about three in the morning somewhere near Columbus, Ohio, I packed up for a good three to four hours in my car. I swear I shut my eyes and two seconds later I opened them to the beginning of a sunrise.

I drove through Columbus on a Monday morning, strutting my Maryland license plate all the way through.

By noon I reached Pittsburgh — one of my favorite cities in the country. I had to take a picture at the top of the hill overlooking the river. What an incredible view.

From there it was a solid four hours back home, and oddly enough these hours were the hardest. You would’ve thought as I got closer to home the miles would’ve gotten easier.

Despite these tough hours, it got exciting again when I got off the “Bel Air” exit. It couldn’t have been more beautiful, either.

With the windows down and Shakira blaring, I made it home, parked my car a few houses away, and finally glimpsed my house — the same one I was 3,000 miles away from for the better part of the summer.

Then I saw my parents, and it was nothing short of emotional for me.

I realized a lot of things on my trip that came into focus on my drive home. I realized that we’re nothing without our friends. I realized life doesn’t have to be a traditional 9–5 every weekday. And I realized that an adventure is waiting for us if we have the courage to jump for it in the first place.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Tom Kuegler

Tom Kuegler


Travel blogger. 29 years old. Currently in Mexico. Get my free 5-day Medium course via email → https://bit.ly/35yyIIu