Best Friends and Road Trips

14463190_10103800155544792_2269369244002508259_nToday is National Best Friend Day. I don’t like to limit myself to one best friend. I realize it’s a contradiction, because inherently “best” implies “one.” The best, the ultimate. And as children, it’s always a fight for the title. But as an adult, you realize the value of having multiple best friends. You need them, and they need you, for lots of different reasons.

Some are good for the deep belly laughs that get you through a bad day. Some for the good long cry when life gets really hard. Some give the best advice. Some offer an escape through shopping or traveling, coffee dates or therapy-by-pedicure. Some send encouraging texts at just the right time. Some share their talents with you in the most meaningful ways. Some remind you of your past when you need a reality check. Some champion your future when it feels bleak.

I’ve found that my best friends come from several areas and stages of life, several intertwine (which I love), and I continue to find more, even when I think that’s not possible.

Hometown, college, work, family, church, book club, friends of friends. They come from all walks of life. They all have different quirks and personalities that make them so very different, but equally loveable in their own rights.

Below, I give you an example of some of the best types of friends, in the form of a road trip.

The planner.

“We’re leaving at 8 a.m. exactly. Everyone in the car, bags loaded, pulling out of the driveway by 8 a.m. so we can reach our destination by precisely 7 p.m. and start making memories!” (Prior to said road trip: Packing done three to five days in advance, calendar is meticulous, checklists are made and checked, every possible car/hotel/rest stop scenario has been considered and planned for, trash bags and water bottles are in the trunk in case of emergencies.)

(This friend will never forget a birthday, anniversary, trip to the doctor or interview you’ve got lined up. She’s the best at celebrating all the things.)

The eternal optimist.

“I’ll be ready to leave by 8 a.m. for sure.” (Prior to: Has no clothes picked out, let alone started packing for the weekend, gas tank is empty, still has to run to the store, has a two-hour drive ahead, and it’s already 6 a.m. Arrives only to realize she left half of her stuff back home, but it’s okay because the rest of us have everything she might need.)

(This friend will forget every birthday, anniversary, trip to the doctor… but when she does remember, she’ll make a big damn deal out of them. With cards and gifts and thoughtful words. Because her strength may not be in the details, but she cares in a BIG way, and that’s all that really matters.)

The musical one.

“Most importantly, I prepared several Spotify playlists– ‘songs from when we were in high school,’ ‘songs from when we were in college,’ ‘songs from our last road trip when we made lots of bad decisions and hilarious memories,’ and ‘songs that are popular right now that we’ll use for a future road trip to reminisce about our current road trip.’” (Also has snacks, because snacks and music are the road trip essentials.)

(The creative one who likes to get everyone together for any excuse. Give her a reason and she’ll plan a gathering. This friend is going to help you celebrate all things big and small.)

The documentarian.

“Smile for Snapchat! Sharing this on my Insta story! Posting this to Facebook.” (Because if there aren’t pictures, quotes and videos, it didn’t happen. And how could we #tbt in 10 years? Some crossover here with “The Planner” because “memories are everything!”)

(This is all of us, because, let’s face it, we love social media.)

The bathroom breaker.

“I have to pee again.” (Some crossover with the musical one, because snacks and drinks also go hand-in-hand. She would drive The Planner crazy, but The Planner has already accounted for an extra 45 minutes on the drive time for all her bathroom breaks, so it’s fine.)

(This is the friend you want to party with. Always up for a good time – knows all the best restaurants, trendiest bars and will make you laugh until you cry.)

The realist.

“I have the tire gauge, the phone chargers and the MapQuest (throwback!) printouts in case everything goes awry. Also, some cash and my pillow.”

(This is the friend you go to for advice. Sometimes the advice you know you need but you don’t want to hear. She keeps you grounded and doesn’t sugar coat things. And she’ll stick by you no matter what.)

The adventurer.

“If we just drive an hour and a half out of our way, we could stop to see (insert weird roadside attraction here*…)!”

(The nomad. The dream chaser. The sporadic and quirky one you can always count on to bring the ruckus.)

In the end, you make it to your destination (one way or another), you make a million little memories that you’ll carry with you forever, (and laugh about for years to come), and then you head back home. And as cliché as it sounds, you’ll remember the time on the road better than the tourist attractions. Because spending time with your people is what life is truly all about, after all. Showing up when you need each other. Finding the yin to your yang. The people who make your heart sing. The ones who make it hard to say goodbye to.

My best friends are simply the best. Regardless of the different paths our lives may take or how much time passes between getting together, they continue to make my life better all the time. We all balance each other out. We just make sense. And when one of us texts that her dog has gone missing, the rest of us hop in our cars and start driving the surrounding neighborhoods looking for him. And when one of us takes in foster kids, the rest of us rally to gather food and toys and baby clothes and diapers. And when of us has a crisis at work or a fallout with a crazy family member, the rest of us jump on board the complaining train. We celebrate each other’s wins. We pick each other up after the losses. We show up. We roll out. That’s what best friends are all about.

Happy National Best Friend Day!

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*Side note – for a list of hilariously weird roadside attractions, check out this list from Thrillist:

I see you, Blue Whale in Catoosa!

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