Comfy sweatshirt, no shoes, an aux cord, and a hair elastic. Destination or no destination, there is something refreshing about sitting in the car for longer than a trip to the grocery store. I’m learning that one of the best places to think and observe and talk about everything you can think of is inside the four doors of a car.

Some of my favorite family memories are in a car, driving from state to state, wondering why my parents wouldn’t just let us fly to Colorado or New Mexico or Texas. Now I’m thankful for all of the things that I have seen between these states, things that you wouldn’t have seen if you took the short route. I’m thankful for all the many conversations and questions and memories that were shared driving for miles looking at the same open space.

In high school, it was a trademark pastime. Boring nights in our small town could always be spent in a car. One of my favorite views in the world is the skyline of Boston as you drive into the city. I found a little loop that took me into the city and then out. I took that loop almost every night this summer, with company or without, music or no music. The sound of the city is loud and the lights are bright. And for some reason, I think that was when I could hear myself the most. I did a lot of processing in the car this year. I thought about a lot of things. I made a lot of phone calls in the car. I picked up a lot of friends and dragged them on this loop with me. Being confined in a car obviously limits the amount of things you can be doing, which increases your ability to notice things. To notice the stoplights and the intersections and the people in the crosswalks. There’s something about a city drive.

Now I’m not driving into the city, but along seemingly never ending straight roads. Roads that lead to small towns with old buildings and new cities with new people and crosswalks and intersections.

That was one thing I knew I would miss when I moved. I knew I would miss the people who have driven with me. Who have screamed the lyrics of our favorite songs with the windows down. Who have discovered shortcuts and stop signs and the best winding roads and the most random diners and restaurants and coffee shops, but I’ve found some new people. And some new songs. And some new winding roads.

So get in a car. Go on a drive. Drive to a new city for something as simple as a new cup of coffee. Leave in the middle of the night and drive where there is no traffic. Put your music on shuffle. Pick up a friend. There is so much to be talked about. So many stories to be told. I find that one of the best places to do this is in the car. I think friendships can be built when you’re sitting just a little too close to each other, spilling your drink on the person next to you, passing around a bag of candy. Take a road trip even if it’s just to drive. You never know what you’ll find or what you’ll learn or what you’ll remember or what you’ll hear.