If you know me, you know I love nothing more than traveling, spontaneity, and a good concert. So when my mom brought up the conversation of road tripping to the east coast to visit my brother who lives near DC, I was more than down. The longest road trip I’ve ever done was about 10 hours one way, so driving from Minnesota to Bethesda, Maryland seemed like an adventure I was ready to tackle.
My brother lives 1,100 miles from us. It was 20 hours in the car one way (with stops). My mom and I split the driving and spent two full days in the car with my two siblings. We listened to so many podcasts and a whole bunch of music. There were times we were laughing so hard I wasn’t sure we would make it, but we did. Shoutout to Coldplay for an entire discography of bops that kept me sane.
The initial conversation of the trip came up on a Sunday, and before I knew it, we were leaving that following weekend. I told my mom if we were going to drive all the way out there, we HAD to go to New York City. It’s only four hours from DC and when you’re already spending so much time on the road, what’s a little more? I lived in Manhattan for a semester of college and had been dying to get back ever since. My younger brother is also my city buddy and had never been there, so it was on my summer travel list to experience it with him. When we started talking about the trip, I began looking for events happening in NY. Which is when the concert excitement began.
If you know anything else about me, you also know I love LANY. They’re my absolute favorite and I’ve literally never connected to a band so much in my entire life (if you’re not listening to them you need to look them up right now). I’ve seen them a few times this summer and it just so happened that the day after we discussed the trip, they were announced to play a free show at the US Open in Queens, NY. The timing was impeccable — we were going to the east coast. Another LANY show for summer ’19? Count me in.
We left Saturday, August 17 and arrived in Bethesda Sunday night. We spent Monday with my brother, then drove to NYC Tuesday morning. We spent two nights, three days in Manhattan and it was definitely a highlight of my entire summer. I love that city with everything in me. My brother had to work a few days so the mini trip to NYC couldn’t have worked out more perfect.
Driving an SUV through Times Square will change you. I honestly can’t believe I live to tell about it. I probably aged 10 years in those few days. It’s like driving through downtown Chicago, but x1000. I barely trust a taxicab driver to get me through that city, so driving it myself was kinda crazy. I think I’m still living off the adrenaline. I can literally tackle anything after that.
We did all the classic touristy things — we walked through Times Square, went to the Statue of Liberty, explored the Brooklyn Bridge, ate New York pizza, shopped in Soho, and took in city views from the top of the Empire State Building. We also ventured down to Lower Manhattan near Wall Street where I lived and attended The King’s College for a journalism program. It was so surreal to walk my favorite streets again and navigate the city. Once you learn a bit of the New York way, it never leaves you.
My favorite day in New York was Wednesday, August 21. We spent the day exploring the city and then took a train to Queens in the evening to the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the LANY concert. I had just seen them perform a few weeks prior in LA, so getting to see them in NY was surreal — the very two cities they’re named after and inspired by. It was their 101 show of the year and they had just finished their world tour a few days prior. Getting to see them again was kind of like a little goodbye before they take a “break” to work on their third album.
The band’s energy was infectious. I have never seen them all so happy and excited to be on stage. It was one of their best shows I’ve experienced (and I got to see them play the Greek and the Shrine this summer, two hometown shows). LANY played 13 at the US Open, and I’m basically still crying. I also got to meet some of my friends from twitter, which made the experience even more exciting.
After New York we went back down to Bethesda and DC for the rest of our trip. We spent time with my brother and my dad also flew in for the weekend. We saw the monuments, took a tour of my brother’s work, hung out and explored his neighborhood and town, rode scooters late at night around the city, and so much more. It’s always something adventurous when we have the whole family together.
We spent about 50 hours in the car and crossed at least 10 state lines twice. It was one of craziest summer adventures I’ve ever been on and I’m so blessed to have a family that loves to travel as much as I do. We had the best time, and I miss it already. Here’s to the next time we’re all together again.