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.

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Tom Kuegler

Tom Kuegler

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