Random Road Trips #1: Rochester, NY

    One thing you should know about me: I love going on road trips with friends. Unfortunately, my anxiety sometimes keeps me from experiencing them. One of my main anxiety triggers recently has been staying overnight places. I know, it sounds like an issue common for an 8 year old, not a 19 year old. But I’ve been really working at it over the past few months, through meditation and other forms of anxiety control, and am pretty much done letting it effect me. But my mom and I recently determined that what I should be working on most is driving. I got in a car accident in September of 2013 that pretty much steered my life in an entirely new direction, and I haven’t driven on the highway since. It’s not something I’m proud of, and lately I’ve been really feeling like it’s what's holding me back. That’s why this weekend, when my close friend Mike suggested a (day) trip to Rochester, NY, I took a deep breath and agreed without a second thought. He suggested that I drive part of the way to there to visit one of our friends, an exercise that would both get me back on the road and result in fun adventures in a cool city. 

    I was apprehensive to say the least, as I had not been on the highway in over a year and a half. But ultimately, my desire to explore a new city and see my friends won out over my fear of the road. We departed at around 11 am on Sunday the 18th of January, with OK Go’s new album Hungry Ghosts and Taylor Swift’s 1989 serving as the soundtracks to our road trip. Armed with my camera and a strong desire to make things and explore, we arrived in Rochester at around 12:30. I felt so triumphant when we arrived, because I had finally driven on the highway for the first time in what felt like forever. And I hadn't just driven for a few minutes, I drove almost the entire way! When we reached our destination, I felt like Jack Dawson in Titanic. You know, when he stands on the bow of the boat and screams "I'm the king of the world!" In hindsight, I'm really surprised that I didn't scream that upon arrival. (Note to self: watch that movie later.)

   We then met up with our friend Cole, and drove around town to see the sights. We got great sandwiches for lunch, hit up a pretty cool record store, and then went to a comics/gaming store in search of some Killer Bunnies booster decks. But I'm not going to lie, the excitement and nervousness of the drive combined with a very socially packed day resulted in a very tired Fran by about 6:00. I just got to the point where I couldn't socialize anymore. Luckily, my friends were pretty understanding, and had no problem with me finding a secluded spot and reading Scott Pilgrim vs. The World for the better part of an hour. After I recharged my batteries, we went to Schaller's Brighton, where I had a pretty awesome cheeseburger and chocolate milkshake. We then recorded some music for my short film, which was an incredibly cool experience, and called it a night. 

  On the drive home, my road trip friend Mike and I discussed the importance of Taylor Swift, and how many of my issues might be solved if I were able to have a good heart to heart with her about my life. My favorite moment of the day happened on the drive there: we were a few tracks into 1989 when Mike suddenly asked, "Can I turn it up a little bit?" Proving that he is, in fact, a true bro. Looking back on this little adventure, I'm just so thankful that I have these amazing friends who continue to challenge me, make me laugh, and inspire me to be the best version of myself. Only a month into 2015, and I've already accomplished so much more than I could've ever imagined possible. Here's hoping that the next 11 months follow suit. 

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