Beachcomber

Pierce on the BoardwalkWhen my mother was nine years old, her father bought a pop-up camper. His wife thought that the idea of camping for fun was insane, but she and the rest of the family decided to give it a try. One of the places the family took the camper that summer was a campground in New Jersey near the ocean shore called Beachcomber. It was that summer which began a family tradition that has lasted decades. I have gone to Beachcomber every summer since the year I was born, and so has every member of my family. Last week we took our annual ride down to the southern tip of New Jersey to meet my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins and spend a week enjoying ourselves and making memories.

Beachcomber has a number of attractions in and around the campground. The most popular place to be is the lake, which is surrounded by sand, giving it the feel of a beach. People can swim and fish in the lake or rent canoes and paddle-boats. Next to the lake is a pavilion in which dances, bingo, and other events are held. I go to the pavilion because it is the only place in the campground with free wifi. Situated in the sand are a playground, volleyball net, basketball court, and set of pegs for horseshoe games. My brother and I spend much of our time on the basketball court, and my entire family likes to gather and play a few rounds of volleyball. My uncle and I are the reigning champions of horseshoes; we went four and one this year. Near the arcade and campground store is a place to play shuffleboard, which is a surprisingly fun game. My nine-year-old brother is a shuffleboard prodigy. There are many days when no one leaves the campground because there are so many entertaining activities.

On days when we do venture out of the campground, we like to go to the beach and the boardwalk. The waves at the beach are just strong enough to be thrilling without being dangerous. We boogie-board and build sand-castles with the younger children to keep them entertained. Attractions on the boardwalk include a variety of stores, food vendors, games, and rides. Thankfully, neither the beach nor the boardwalk was damaged by hurricane Sandy. There is also a bike trail and a marina which we like to use. The bike trail is two-and-a-half miles long and makes for a smooth, flat, straight ride. At the marina we can rent a small boat and go crabbing. There are more than enough things to do around the campground to keep us entertained for the week.

More than anything, Beachcomber is the venue for a yearly family reunion. For some of us, that one week is the only time we get to see each other. A few family members even fly in so as not to miss the occasion. Now that I am older and have more responsibilities it has become more difficult to clear my schedule for a week at Beachcomber, but I find a way to get there every year. I hope to continue the streak and make the camping trip at Beachcomber for years to come.

Underneath it All: What it Really Means to have Christian Character

In Pennsylvania, August brings hot, humid weather. All over the country, August brings the close of summer time, and for college students, the end of summer means the beginning of goodbyes. For me, I have recently grown to sincerely appreciate my 2 best friends from home which has made these goodbyes a little harder than expected.

image_6I have known my friend Abby for many years, and we’ve been through a lot together. Even though we went to different schools growing up, we went to the same church and were both regulars in youth group. As Abby and I have grown closer, I’ve found her to be someone I can be completely crazy with, and completely honest and broken down with. What’s most impressive about Abby is her caring and loving heart. She really loves Jesus and takes his command to love His children very seriously. We’ve had so many deep talks, and our conversations always have the perfect balance of listening, comfort, and real, honest advice.

15762_1313199390498_417948_nMy other best friend from home is Tyler. We have known each other since kindergarten, and went to the same school for a long time. Tyler is extremely musical (he’s actually in a band), and we love to arrange and play music together. It is also second-nature for us to get into deep conversations about somewhat controversial topics especially about God and the church. I feel like Tyler genuinely lives out God’s calling in his life; he’s an example to me of what it looks like to make your faith your own.

The lesson God is teaching me through these friends is the importance of letting your faith get extremely deep. I have seen both these people go through tough times, and I have witnessed very honest sides of each of them. When push comes to shove, both of my best friends still have Jesus at the center of everything. Even though they might complain, get angry, or feel hopeless, their Christian character is extremely evident.

CTA button for Blog UGI admire my friends, because their faith is so ingrained into every part of their lives that their most honest, and real selves are people who are sold out for Jesus. Christian character isn’t just setting a good example for peers, or putting on a good face for non Christians. It’s really about getting tight with Jesus to the point where you realize you could never be tight enough– where your faith becomes a part of you that grows and grows no matter how old you get. Because if Christianity is just a “face” you put on, it’ll fall right off when when things get rough. A verse that comes to mind when I think about the difference between surface faith and deep faith is Proverbs 1:32-33:
“The simple are killed by their turning away and the complacency of fools destroys them. But, whoever listens to me will dwell secure and be at ease without dread of disaster.”

 

Fear Not

Two and a half months ago, when I started my summer away at camp I was presented with the opportunity to ride a horse. I had never rode one before, and had no desire to, but my boss took our team on a three hour drive to go ride these horses so saying no was not an option.

 

That entire ride I spent nervously awaiting and freaking out over having to ride this horse. I was scared I was going to die and fall off or maybe I was just scared of having to trust this horse with my life. Looking back now I was definitely being over-dramatic and letting fear get the best of me and my thoughts. I was expecting a little 5 minute trot in a fenced in and flat CTA button for Blog UGpiece of land. But, in fact we spent the next hour on a nature path going up and down hills and surrounded by brush in the woods. I could tell you that it was this magically experience where I fell in love with horses and learned not to fear, but to trust. However it was more like I can now check that off my bucket list and never have to see another horse again in my life.

I found that this summer and even life in general can be a lot like this experience I had riding a horse, but often with differing results. There have been a lot of times this summer when fear has crept into my mind. Fears that I would disappoint people or be looked down upon or even doubts of whether I should even be here this summer.

 

I think that anxiety can keep us from doing a lot of great and amazing thing in life. Listening to insecurities can scare us away from performing the work God has planned for us. If there is one thing I have learned this summer it is to live outside your comfort zone, despite your fears, and let God use you in that place. Even at this moment as I sit here writing this I’m fighting the insecurities in my own head as I prepare myself to get campers tomorrow. I have been leading activities all summer so this will be my first chance to ever actually counsel. I am beyond excited and feel really blessed for this amazing opportunity. I am trusting that God will use me as I step out of my comfort zone in an effort to reach little, precious souls for his kingdom. So stoked!

Taken to “Shores of Grace” and ended up floating in an ocean of endless love…

worship-sunday I put this picture first, because this was a defining moment for me. It was during this time of worship on the Sunday night of my trip, at a conference at ” Living Waters” Church in the favela of Olinda, that God challenged me to leave the comfortable for the unknown. To trust Him, when He calls me into the scary things that make NO sense. And to truly say “YES” to Him, with all of me. A lesson I’ve been learning since I started at the Alliance Theological Seminary.
worship with betania

Worship with the “Shores of Grace” staff and Betania girls who were rescued off of the streets of Recife. There is nothing like being in a room filled with children and people who are broken and longing for the love of God. It moves God’s heart and He truly does respond to the praises of His people.

foot washer ” He [Jesus] had been given all things, all authority and what did He do? He took off his garments of a rabbi and he put on the garments of a servant. He got to the lowest place in the room and washed the feet of his disciples… No, you don’t need a microphone, if you’ve been given that much authority, you need a towel and a basin of water. This is what we do with the authority we have been given. We position ourselves to the lowest place so that we could lift others up to their proper place… we bring our best to the lowest places and we wash the feet of the people who serve us or of our enemies or of the people who are so broken that they need the cleansing of the Father…” – Nic Billman, Shores of Grace. ( photograph taken by Adam LiVecchi of We See Jesus Ministries)

love through hugs Sometimes a simple hug is all it takes to set a captive free… ( photograph taken by Adam LiVecchi of We See Jesus Ministries).

brokem by God's love Or a heartfelt gift and that truly shows how much someone is really worth… This young woman was taken off of the streets and now lives in the Bethany House. During our worship night, she cried and cried as I held her hand and she perhaps for the first time learned how much God loves her and how deeply he desires to make all things new in her life… street church

Street Church: This was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. We were worshiping and praying and serving those men, women and children, while most of them got high off glue, had condoms falling out of their pockets and laid on dirty, naked mattresses. And yet God was in the midst, pouring out His love, because He LONGS for the least of these… ( photograph taken by Adam LiVecchi of We See Jesus Ministries).

getting high on glue during the service Young man getting high off glue… ( photograph taken by Adam LiVecchi of We See Jesus Ministries).

off of the streets

And that night in the midst of all that was going on, this little boy and 3 others, were rescued off of the streets and placed in homes. That night hope was restored! ( photograph taken by Adam LiVecchi of We See Jesus Ministries).

 

bringing love and pizza to the prostitutes Bringing Pizza and presence to the prostitutes on the streets of Recife. Most of these women, wanted out, and if they only fully understood that freedom is found in Christ! ( photograph taken by Adam LiVecchi of We See Jesus Ministries).

aaron no shoes My dear friend Aaron, gave his shoes away to an older woman whose home we visited. She had no shoes she could fit into and rather than pray and wish her well, he took his shoes off and walked around the dirty and muddy streets of Favela the rest of the day. Because LOVE is an ACTION.

beach!! And then we had a day at the beach and it was AMAZING.

A feast

 

We had a FEAST on the beach. Kinda like fathers table, the food kept coming out, there was plenty to eat and drink and we could take as much as we want!

yep!

 

 

 

And I did zipline into the ocean and it also was AMAZING. zip line into ocean

 

 

 

We were all too happy to spend a day of rest at the beach. ( Pictured below: Back left to right: Aaron, Evan, Marcia, Eliana, me and Sarah).road trip to the beach!

 

 

 

 

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The convoy! Now that’s riding in style hahaha! Pictured below:Left to right: Marcia, Eliana, Aaron, Caleb, Adam.the cool kids

this is how you bbq

 

 

And so in Brazil this is the way to BBQ! Outside, in a fire pit, with a fireplace, and the food taste AMAZING. This was at the “Shores of Grace” base.

we made memories

We made memories, we laughed, we cried, we became a family and I will forever be marked by every single one of them, and the rest of the amazing people I met in Brazil. Mishpat was had in Brazil, I think my ATS buddies would be more than happy to know this. (Pictured from left to right: Caleb, Eliana, Ricardo, Aaron, Evan, me and Marcia).

 

team worship time

The team got together for worship on Tuesday Morning. And the presence and love of God in our midst was truly overwhelming. I realized that truly choosing the road that leads me to know the more of God is the best decision I could ever make. And any other choice would truly be a loss… And I will never be the same again…  ( photograph taken by Adam LiVecchi of We See Jesus Ministries).

Overbooked

OverbookedSo far, this summer has been the busiest summer of my life. I work two jobs (one of which is forty-five minutes away), volunteer at church, help out around the house, spend time with my family and girlfriend, and on top of all that I still try to find time for myself to do the things that I enjoy. In summers past it was easy to find time every day to sit down and read a book or watch T.V., but this summer it has become a rare occurrence. Sleep is in short supply and leisure times are few and far between. I placed higher priority on other things and other people than on myself and my own well-being. It would be easy for me to blame my dilemma on other people or on circumstance, but the truth is that it is no one’s fault but mine that I am overbooked.

Now that I have more things to pay for; such as car payments, gas, food and dates; I have begun to want as many hours at work as I can obtain. After all, the more I work, the bigger the check, and the bigger the check, the happier and more at ease I will be…or so I thought. Taking on two jobs and more hours than I could comfortably handle ended up being stressful, and the bigger checks did not make it any easier. I am blessed with enough to sustain me without needing to work more than one job, but over-ambitiousness caused me to go beyond what I needed to do and stress myself out. I need to be thankful and trust God that what I have will continue to be enough.

I have never been one to let other people maliciously keep me from progressing and advancing, but I am in the bad habit of helping others to the point of neglecting myself. It is easy for me to say no to someone who is doing or saying something intentionally to keep me down, but it is very difficult for me to deny the request of a loved one who genuinely needs my help, even when it inconveniences me. To a degree, this is a good quality to have, but it can quickly get to the point where I place the needs of others over my own needs and damaging myself just as much as I am helping the other person. This summer more than ever I have come to realize that I am doing others a disservice when I do not tend to my own needs before tending to theirs. I need to be at my best in order to give my all to people that need my help.

There is only so much time in a day, week, or month, and there are only so many things that can fit into that time. It takes foresight and experience to properly allot your time to accomplish what needs to be done and still salvage some time for yourself. Be careful when making commitments, because filling you schedule with too many of them can be detrimental.

Don’t Search for Cool, Search for Jesus.

photo (3)The past three months of my life have been spent working in a church. One of the most interesting things about this experience has been seeing how the church operates during the week– what makes Sunday morning happen. I have also found that, in most cases, churches are trying to attract new people, and unfortunately, struggling to keep a hold of current attendants. Most church workers will tell you that each week is a constant battle of planning, formatting, and details that constantly have to be done and re-done in an effort to please everybody.
In my ‘church shopping’ while at college, I have found that most churches are either trying to be too hip, or too traditional. Many churches, whether their members realize it or not, struggle to find a happy medium that will attract new members while keeping a hold of current ones.

An article I read recently called How to Keep Millennials in the Church? Let’s Keep Church un-cool. (linked here), conjured up a lot of thoughts in my mind of what I want from the church. Now, I’m not saying I agree with all the points in this article, but there are a lot of good ones. Above all, I believe that the church can bend and change with culture– it has to in order to stay relatable. BUT, I also believe that the gospel never changes, and though it is always relatable, it is also a bit uncomfortable.

I think there is a problem with college students today concerning church. Many people my age stop attending church claiming they just can’t find a church they like. We look for a “cool” church, not a “deep” one. We look for a church with a young pastor and a cafe, rather than one that teaches the word of God in a real and authentic way.

My boss always says he wants his sermons to make the audience “squirm in their seats”. Bottom line: he wants them to be uncomfortable. Not because of the word pictures he uses or because he gets carried away on stage, but because the Holy Spirit spoke through him and convicted the hearts of the people listening.

I think people, especially college students, need to look for “real” not “cool”. Here’s why: Churches run by people 60+ aren’t “cool” and aren’t ever going to be unless 20 somethings get involved and bring a fresh perspective to the never-changing gospel message. I believe a church should welcome people in and make visitors feel comfortable, but that’s where the comfort stops. The worship and message should be so deep, and real that the presence of the all-perfect God becomes blinding in the midst of our tragically imperfect selves.

Don’t look for cool, look for Jesus.

 

 

Bye Bye Bye to Summer

Something I have had to become privy to is the reality of saying goodbye and hello to people all the time. I spend eight months of the year at school, three months at camp, and a month or so at home. I am constantly meeting new people and getting to know the most interesting friends from all over the world. But there comes a time in all those relationships where I must say goodbye and hope that I get to see them soon in another season of life. I am learning to embrace this confusing emotion in realizing that God has a plan and at last resort I know I will be spending eternity with these people.

 
Honestly this topic is hitting me intensely right now as the summer comes to an end and much of our staff is leaving and moving on to school and other things. It has truly been the greatest summer of my life, but not just because it was fun and crazy. There were surely many hard things that our staff faced this summer, but we responded to every one of them with prayer. I felt like my job this summer was made specifically for me as I was challenged to grow and learned many new things in the process.

 

God spoke to me in exciting ways this summer and helped me form many life-long relationships with some of the greatest people I have ever had the opportunity of meeting. Even though much of my team has left there are still three more weeks of camp that I am excited to be a part of. I will be doing some different jobs, but am looking forward to serving with some new people. I cannot wait to see how God moves in these last few weeks of camp even as it is coming to an end and we are all homeward bound.

 
All in all an epic summer and one to be remembered for the friendships that were made, the laughs we shared, and God continuing to show himself faithful. Goodbyes can be tough when you have gone through so much with these people, but God has the power and grace to make your paths cross again in the future he sees fit. I am praying blessing over all of the wonderful staff this summer as they head out and that we are not merely saying goodbye, but can trust that we will see each other again shortly.

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My Family Vacation in Review

SeaWorldMy family and I just returned from a week-long vacation in Orlando, Florida. We visited theme parks, enjoyed the gorgeous weather, and made good use of the resort’s recreational attractions. I was almost unable to join my family on this trip because of my limited vacation days at work, but thankfully I was able to make arrangements with my jobs and take the days off. My family vacation turned out to be the refreshing experience I needed to finish the summer off strong.

My family drove to Orlando, which was a surprisingly stress-less experience. More than twenty hours of driving would cause most people to be irritable and unpleasant, but our group was incredibly flexible and cooperative, and no one complained when things did not go his or her way. This cooperative attitude continued throughout the vacation. The adults took turns looking after the younger children, and everyone was able to do every activity they wanted at the resort.

The resort had a number of recreational facilities and activities, but a few of them held our attention for most of the vacation. My family spent the majority of its leisure time at one of the many pools. The pools had music, activities, small waterfalls, and large crowds of people. I, my mom, my dad, and my middle brother played a few sets of tennis when we wanted to escape the crowded pools. None of us are very good at tennis, so our matches are more comical than graceful. My brother and I also made frequent use of the basketball courts. Playing basketball helped to counteract the negative effects of all the food we ate! The worst of our overeating took place at the theme parks we visited.

Our villa was less than twenty minutes away from Disney Land. We went to Magic Kingdom and SeaWorld; the focus of these excursions was giving my youngest brother and cousin the Disney experience that all of the older children received when they were younger. It was wonderful to see the kids’ eyes light up as they viewed the fireworks behind the castle at Magic Kingdom and watched the dolphins do flips and spins at SeaWorld. I enjoyed the attractions as well; the Space Mountain ride at Magic Kingdom is one of the highlights of my childhood, and it was just as exciting to ride it again as an adult. In spite of my own personal enjoyment, being a part of the children’s Disney experience remained central.

The sun, the enjoyment, and the freedom from everyday responsibilities were very nice for a while. But, by the  end of the week I began to miss home. The routine that I wanted to escape became the thing I missed the most. One of the best parts of a vacation is returning home refreshed and excited to resume your routine.

 

The Six Flags of Youth Ministry

photo 4My youth group’s trip to 6 Flags Great Adventure had been scheduled for months, and all the senior high students anxiously awaited the opportunity to be free from their parents and spend the entire day with friends riding roller coasters and eating overpriced junk food. Upon the arrival of said day, however, my boss (the church’s youth pastor) was unable to lead the trip because of an injury. That left yours truly, the youth intern, to bear the responsibility of 21 students, their money, park tickets, and their safety.
Long story short, it ended up being a great day. Among all the rides and junk food, I got to put to test all the things I’ve been learning in the past few months about youth ministry:

1) It’s not about you. All other points fit under this capstone. The second  you begin to focus on yourself, you lose sight of your students and it is no longer about what’s best for them, but rather what’s best for you. Even though you would rather not attend an all-nighter, or sing a stupid song on stage, your willingness to be selfless might give CTA button for Blog UGway to good talks with a student, or evidence of a transparency they need to know you have.

photo 22) Leader first, friend second. Believe it or not, you can make the most difference in a students life when you first establish yourself as their leader, not their peer. In no way should you not be their friend, but it is necessary to first establish respect because then they know that you can answer their tough questions and and you’re trustworthy, setting you apart from their teenage friends.

3) Comfort zones don’t exist. As a youth leader, that kid who no one talks to is now your responsibility. Sure, you wish your students would put aside their egos to approach him, but most of the time, that’s not the case and it’s up to you to be a good example.

4) Flexibility is key. It might be a kid who calls late at night to talk when you have to be up early in the morning, a fellow leader who drops out of an event last minute, or a sound system glitch. You name a problem, and it can happen in youth ministry. The important thing is to remain level-headed because that is not only the best way to handle the situation, but it also sets a good example for your students.

photo 35) Listen. Even when the play-by-play of their softball game seems dull, or their favorite music drives you crazy, listen. Listen to their stories, experiences, and questions; you might be the only person who does.

6) There are no days off. Every hour of every day, you are their mentor, friend, and example. This line of work takes commitment, confidence, selflessness, and most of all the humility to ask God for help because you can’t do it without him.

Flexibility and Learning with God and Friends

Flexibility. That’s the name of the game. If you have forgotten or are just tuning in I’m two months into a summer away at camp. It has been an amazing journey thus far and wow have I learned a lot. It has been fun, and crazy, and emotional, but totally worth every minute of it. I have certainly learned a ton about leadership as well as seen God show up every day as he works in the lives of our staff and the campers. I have also come to realize the value in being flexible when it comes to camp or really any type of ministry.
CTA button for Blog UGIn this summer I have learned more about being open to change and to try and flow with the ups and downs that you are sure to encounter while sharing the gospel. There will be days when your alarm doesn’t go off or the rain keeps you locked inside with 150 campers all day. There are days when the microphones won’t work or you don’t get any sleep at all. But then there are days full of laughter, salvation, and the time when you get to help baptize one of your best friends. God stretches us and we have to be relaxed and moldable, but in the end God knows what he is doing and will show up in incredible ways.
So that is a small glimpse of what I have been learning as of recently this summer, but there are so many other great things happening as well. This week marks the end of the summer for a lot of staff members as it is the final week of Beulah on the Road. It will be very sad to see some people heading back to their homes and colleges spread all across the United States. However, I know and trust that these are solid friendships that I will keep throughout the years as we all think back to that crazy summer we spent together at Beulah Beach.
I am not really sure how to end this entry except for to honestly and a little cheesily thank the people who have come into my life this summer. You have truly changed my life in ways you may never even know or realize. God used each one of us to teach something to another. I will always remember this summer as one when I laughed a lot, made a ton of new friends, and saw God work every single day.
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The Harlot

brazil flagAs many of you might or might not know, this Thursday I am leaving to Recife, Brazil. I am going with a ministry called ” We See Jesus Ministries”(http://www.weseejesusministries.com) . Our team is joining with Shores of Grace ministries (http://www.shoresofgrace.com) in Recife and our plan is to work with the women and children that flood the streets through the sex trafficking industry.  We are going to bring the love and light of the Father into some of the darkest corners of the earth. A light and love that I, myself need, all of the time.

I sit here thinking about the adventure I will be embarking on, about the lives I will be able to touch and the women, the women who are being abused, mistreated, judged, labeled, abandoned, rejected, devalued. And I recognize that I have been just as broken as they. And though my pain, my sufferings, could never truly be compared to theirs, we are no different. Humanly speaking, we have the same hopes, dreams, desires and longing to be loved, accepted, welcomed, forgiven, and embrace. We long for the ones who would give us a 2nd, a 3rd, or a 4th chance. In the sight of God we are identical, we are His children, whom He longs to embrace in His grace for all eternity.

Yet I find myself in a very distinct place and I wonder. I wonder, why is it that I, who have encountered the grace and love of God sell myself short for other passions, other lovers, time and time again. Why do I find myself like Paul, embracing the things I hate, while shunning the things my heart actually desires? Why is it that God has to, time and time again buy me from another? When He already paid the ultimate price for me.

I realize I am no better than an adulterous woman, I am no better than a prostitute forced to sell herself to live, I am no better than a harlot. I too needed to be rescued, I too needed a holy man to enter into the dark, unholy corners of my life and set me free. And I too have a price, sometimes, way too low for my worth, with which I sell myself to any seemingly promising lover.

I am no different from the worst and chief of all sinners and broken persons, and neither are you. While the gravity of our mistakes and failures and shortcomings varies, truth is, to 1 degree or another we are all messed up and in desperate need of grace.

And yet when the God of the universe looks at you and me, He sees a beautiful, spotless bride He longs to marry. He sees a dream come true. He is filled with unshakable desire and passion. He sees someone who’s worth exceeds the finest of diamonds and whose price would empty the bank account of the universe to pay.

 So as I go to Brazil, I go with my sin, covered by the blood of Christ ever before me.  I have been the harlot, but today I am the Bride of Christ.  I go with a new perspective. One that recognizes that the most important thing one could ever offer/receive is the love of God. Because only a true a encounter with the love of the Father could set the captive free. Only His love can heal the sick, only His love can save a lost and dead soul. It is only by HIS love.

 “And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.  I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.”– Hosea 2: 19-20

Road Trip!

Road TripMy family and I recently drove all the way from New York to Florida for the second time in my life. Our main reason for taking this trip is so that my younger brother and cousin are able to experience things like Disney Land and Sea World during their childhood, but the adults on the trip are appreciative of this vacation as an opportunity to escape from work and enjoy a nice resort with family. My family chose to drive down because it is cheaper, but we also believe in the value of experiencing a long road trip, especially in the summer weather. Through the full bladders and cramped legs, we were able to make it to our destination and enjoy ourselves during the ride.

There is not that much that I remember about my family’s first road trip to Florida since I was ten years old at the time, but I remember a few blatant differences between my first and most recent drives. First was how much less room there was in the car this time. Last time we took two cars, but this time we shoved seven people and their luggage into an eight-seat car. The most amazing thing is that my mom was able to maneuver  and situate so many people and so many belongings without compromising anyone’s comfort. Even with enough leg room, it was difficult to stay comfortable and restful for nearly a full 24 hour drive. Towards the end everyone, myself included, began to become restless and agitated, but thankfully we were able to contain ourselves for the rest of the ride.

CTA button for Blog UGThe second difference between the two that I saw was how much more of the drive I payed attention to and enjoyed as opposed to the first trip. At ten years old, I was not very capable of focusing my attention on what was right in front of me. I had the bad habit of looking forward to the exciting things of the future while disregarding the situation at hand. Now that I am older and more mature, I can be attentive toward what is going on directly in front me, such as what routes we take to get you to Florida, and how much money gets spent on gas.

The third and biggest difference between the first trip and this trip is my turn driving. Obviously, I did not get this opportunity ten years ago. We split the driving between the five licensed drivers, each having a shift of three hours. I had the fourth shift, which caused me to be driving through Virginia and North Carolina. Throughout the trip, but especially while I was driving, I noticed how much cheaper gas is in every state. Only a few places in Virginia had gas pricing similar to New York’s. I also enjoyed the scenery and conversations while I was driving.

If you have the option between driving and flying, then I would suggest driving. When in a large enough group, driving is much more cost efficient, and it is definitely more fun. It may be stressful or uncomfortable at times, but the overall outcome of a road trip is a good time.

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