Day 23 / by Hannah Harley

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May 28th, 2015 I woke up early to eat breakfast with Uncle John. He made us all omelettes with Hamburger, veggies, and cheese. Like I’d sleep through that! It was very early, but there was coffee. Is it ever too early if you have a cup of coffee in your hand? He went to work, and I waited for Karen and Haley to get up. After all, it was only a 6 hour day of driving.

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Once they got up, we piled into the car one more time. We packed up Roxanne, filling her and stuffing her again. We drove to Columbus to eat lunch with my sister, and we spent an hour with her. We then finished our journey, completing our final leg to Pittsburgh.

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I dropped Karen and Haley off at Haley’s parents’ house. We said hastened goodbyes, all exhausted and ready to put our feet up on a comfortable couch.

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It was still a 30 minute drive into Pittsburgh after that, and it was such a surreal experience. How did we do 10,000 miles in just 23 days? How did we manage so many states? How did we do all of this -- without a single speeding ticket or traffic violation? But in all seriousness… How did we manage all of this?

We entered into this journey without a plan and without even much of an itinerary. We just took our bags, piled into a MINI Cooper, and brought our cameras along for the trip.

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I remember when I was preparing for the trip (and by preparing, I mean that I was telling people that I was going on it), and my friends and family said that I would learn more about Karen and Haley than I would ever want to learn. But in reality, I learned more about myself. I got to experience myself in new ways, and I got to test who I am. I was constantly being challenged, whether it be in how long I could drive or how much Taylor Swift I could handle or how much beauty I could withstand. I had to face a lot of harsh realities about myself during this trip, too. I am certainly not as patient as I wish to be, and I am a savage when it comes to food. I am easily socially exhausted, and I am not as good at keeping a diary as I thought. The amount that I learned was astronomical and quite exhausting. Of course, there is too much to share here… But how wonderful is it to explore the world and end up seeing yourself.

Perhaps I am getting too philosophical now as I am want to do. But I think that when you travel, you end up exploring yourself.

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We all got in the car because we’re more than just wandering around the country. We’re wanderers at heart, lost in ourselves, needing to explore. And for me, this was my attempt at finding out a little bit more about my internal existence.

Until the next trip, the next adventure, and the next wandering…

I’ll see you there. Thanks for riding along with us.