For winter break my sophomore year in college, I went to the New Orleans home of my friend, Rachel. Like all college kids, we put off packing until the last second and didn’t even manage to leave town before it started getting dark. I-10 in Louisiana is a series of long, straight bridges over marshy waters. In the moonlight, the trees stretch spindly silhouettes up toward the sky; haunting, otherworldly.  She took over and popped in a CD. Better than Ezra. You like them? The lyrics were meaningfully angsty to a couple of teenage girls trying to figure out how to make their lives happen.

Two years later you’re a star
Who’d have thought we’d get this far?
But I’d give it all away if I
Could see you on that day again
When you quit work
And threw that coffee
At the manager jerk

You said, “Close your eyes
I’ve got a surprise
A house in the hills
And a car that drives by.”

That’s all we wanted then. A house in the hills and a car that drives by.

Fast forward eight years.

My husband, M, and I are leaving Houston. We sold our house (in the hills) and our car(s that drove by). I tossed back three cappuccinos for courage, then marched up to my manager jerk and quit. M, the master at packing the car, fits four suitcases, all of our camping equipment, a cooler, and our two dogs in our Jeep, and we head off on a three week road trip. He gets behind the wheel, and puts in a CD.

Closer than this life
Falling through again
Giving more than anything
That you could hope to win

And he knows his life is changing
It’s never easy letting go
For the first time you are mortal
As the child before you grows

I heft my growing belly into the passenger seat, and we set off on a new adventure.


Jenn’s Must – Have Road Trip Foods

– Andy Capp’s hot fries. My staple for years! A bag of these and a cup of gas station joe will keep you awake for hours.

–  Wispride. Oh yes. And ritz crackers. If you wanna get fancy, a log of Genoa salami. The perfect road trip breakfast. (You will keep these handy in your backseat cooler).

– Jerky. Preferably the Chinese stuff.

– Fruit. Gotta hold off the scurvy, ya know? Arrrr! Cherry tomatoes count.