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The Enduring Roadtrip Best Friend Birthday Gift Ideas

by David Wittes
(Cincinnati, Ohio, USA)

Best Friend Birthday Gift Ideas: The Enduring Roadtrip

For the Yankees out there in search of a lasting gift, why not try hitting the road? Few institutions endure like the great American roadtrip–and for good reason! The memories formed are timeless, and the experience forges a bond.

But I'm a bit biased. I spent the summer of my twenty-fifth year hitchhiking with friends cross-country. We were celebrating both my quarter-century and the lifetime yet to come. The route took us several thousand miles, starting in Cincinnati and taking us across Lake Erie to Canada. We returned back down through the Adirondacks. The trail we blazed was a diverse one, stretching all the way to French-speaking Canada and bringing us there by way of farmland. But there were cities too: a weekend spent in Detroit, an eight-day tour of Toronto, and an overnight Office-inspired sightseeing detour through Scranton, PA!

"Memories is What Make The Enduring Roadtrip an Ideal Best Friends Birthday Gift Idea"

But the roads and the mileage wasn't the source of our memories. The company we kept was. There were five of us. My best friend Julien and I were the francophones (also, the more conservative side of the group, ironically). And then there were Sara, Rosalyn and Thom, the American-born bread-and-butter of the group ideologically leaning left.

It was the trio's idea we take the trip. I was reluctant at first, my inner-Englishman telling me "no." (I'm a British expat, truth be told. We don't hitch rides; we buy train tickets to daytrip in the bourgeoise South.) But a little nudging, and I warmed to the idea. And in the end, it was the proposal that we end our journey in Montreal that sold me. It'd been years since I could practice mon français!

Julien wasn't French–not strictly so. Both his parents were, raised in Marseilles. But we'd met when we were youngins, attending primary school in Leeds. In fact, his French wasn't much better than mine. His family decided to raise him in English when they moved. And English he was, as much as I.

The company you keep can make or break the roadtrip

Julien and I were boon companions. When he'd been given a scholarship in the states, I pursued the same. When he decided to stay there, so did I. And yet, we'd been separated by the work we each ended up taking. I relocated to Cincinnati area, pushing paper for the IRS at their Covington, Kentucky regional headquarters. And he ended up in Motor City, working tirelessly in preparing the city to deal with a bankrupt GM.

But by sharing our common experience, we grew back together. Perhaps it was the two weeks surrounded by hippies (with all their various, ahem, vices.) But I think it owed more to the openness of the road. There's something about the American spirit that's channelled by the road. And there's something about friendship that's nurtured by it.

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