As a 22 year old college student with roughly four years of loans under my belt, the idea of a vacation hurts the very essence of my soul. To me, a trip to Florida seems about as likely as me hiring a private cruise liner to ferry me across the seas to some strange lands beyond the horizon. In other words, it’s just not going to happen right now. Because of that, it’s time to start up a grassroots movement.

Bring back the road trip.

Alright, so maybe my car doesn’t exactly get the best gas mileage. Maybe the gas gauge goes down seemingly every time I blink. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t affordable options in the Midwest that I can reach in one or two tanks of gas, and that’s a heck of a lot cheaper than flying somewhere.

We are lucky to live in an area where entertainment has popped up in the most unlikely of places. I once visited a vacuum cleaner museum, and it wasn’t even just an attempt to be “different” or “ironic” because “counterculture” is “cool”. It was actually a neat way to spend the day with some of my good friends, and I will always remember that small trip. Little places like this are common all over the Midwest, and all you have to do is take that upcoming highway exit to discover something new.

We are also lucky that the Midwest is hot. Wait, before I lose you, let me explain my train of thought. I know that sometimes it gets so hot that we act as if we are afraid of the sun, much like vampires. Not modern sparkly vampires, the old fashioned “blow up in a cloud of ash” vampires. Thankfully, we aren’t vampires. Also, the Midwest is home to the best uses of chlorinated water in the United States: waterparks.

There is no better way to spend a hot summer day than floating around a lazy river and occasionally hopping on a water slide more complex than the college calculus class I took as a freshman. It truly is fun for all ages, and this was how I spent many summers as a child, and even as a teenager.

Finally, there is a beauty to the open road. Roll down the windows, throw on your favorite pair of sunglasses, and cruise down the highway while blasting your favorite playlist (in my case, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” on repeat). Enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the great outdoors, and you’ll find that the journey is truly as memorable as the destination. Pick your favorite destination this summer, pack your bags, and remember one thing: you can’t roll the windows down on an airplane. At least, I wouldn’t advise it.