Quintessential Kenyon: Student Life, Uncut

On The Road Again

Jake Fishbein
March 20, 2013

There is something seductive about the open road. Something about it tempts me and raises my heart beat. I want to drive, to wander, to search, to have a true adventure! I’ve dreamed of driving to Alaska with no plan. I’ve imagined wandering across the United States searching for what it truly means to be American through discussions and tantalizing cuisines. I’ve contemplated a journey across the country touching down at every baseball stadium along the way for no other reason than my love of baseball.

(Somewhere in Kansas the flatness of the open road called to me. It spoke and urged me to fly along its back in search of wonder and discovery.)

I have yet to turn these dreams into realities. I have yet to take to the roads in a purely aimless spirit in search of nothing more than my own identity. Maybe it will happen someday, who knows. What I do know is that at this very moment the wheels of my mind are spinning as Jackson, Andrew, and I plan one final hurrah:

A cross-country adventure that will surely see us eat magnificent food, taste ambrosia-like beer, experience the serenity of America’s back-country, and of course find two-million dollars’ worth of buried treasure in Santa Fe before making our way to Los Angeles.

(Forrest Fenn's buried treasure. I will find it!)

And no, we are not running…but maybe Jackson will run in every state this time around.

You see, this is not the first time the three of us will take to the open road in search of fun times and a utilitarian way to return my car to the purple mountains of New Mexico. In 2011 we began a similar trip. A trip surrounded by the premonitions of Jackson’s tornado ridden dreams and the promise of every Man vs. Food restaurant along our adventurous route. And what a trip it was. Suffice to say, we did a lot of driving, a lot of eating, a lot of fearing Mother Nature, and not much finding buried treasure.

(Me at Pappy's Smokehouse in St. Louis, MO. Best Barbecue Ever! And yes Kat, I did need to shave.)

I remember the feeling of driving up Kenyon Road towards Mt. Vernon and our first important stop: The Walmart, for the supplies we had been unable to acquire from Pierce’s dessert station or the track banquet earlier that week. I felt free. It was as if the weight of the school year was gone, lifted from my shoulders, and replaced by a serene excitement for the escapades ahead.

(Jackson sure is excited. But maybe it's just about having the opportunity to grow out a goatee. This was just hours before Zeus decided to storm down from the thunderclouds and send a blackened tempest up from the south to chase us all the way to Chicago. Luckily we witnessed no tornadoes.)

But I knew I was to return. Indeed, I envisioned the moment when my car would drive up Gambier Road and I would return to the green covered campus. This time, as my best friends and I put together an itinerary of certainty, I cannot imagine a triumphant return as I do not know the next moment when I will set foot on Kenyon’s green grass.

Instead the world is open and everything is possible. I may dream of a formless adventure along the highways of North America but what I have before me is an equally amorphous future of my choosing, a future that will shape who I am. And I embrace that. Now is the time to learn, now is the time to face failure and rise from it, now is the time to look at the pending and unknown future with a frightened excitement. For what lies before me is as much the adventure I have yearned for as jumping into my waiting car, turning the keys, and pulling onto a road with no plan at all.