Bloggers Mark McPhillips, ‘20 and Daniella Maney, ‘20 embarked on a road trip this summer with their friend Samuel Piller, ‘20 before coming back to Conn. We will publish a series of posts about what they experienced along the way.... (Read Post 1)

I currently live in Neptune City, New Jersey, at the Jersey Shore—but I’m not a Jersey native.

I was born in Columbus, Ohio, and lived there for the first two years of my life. Before today, I had not actually seen what my very first home looked like. When we pulled up to 870 South Fifth Street in Columbus, I was not even sure whether it was the right house. I snapped a photo of my original home to send to my mom before we departed. It was rather shocking to see a house I had only heard stories about, a house that was the first place I called home. As part of our road trip this summer, each of us selected a number of destinations we would like to see. Columbus happened to be on two of our lists, both mine and Samuel's. Right near my old neighborhood was a quaint little place called “German Village” which boasts tourist attractions, bratwurst restaurants, and German-themed gift shops. Samuel had actually visited this very same district with his family some years ago and was able to show us around my hometown better than I could. 

Our time in Columbus was a bit truncated as we still had to stop in Indianapolis and make it to our final destination for that day: Chicago. When we arrived in Indianapolis we took a stroll through the White River State Park.

The park was serene. A few people walked across the bridge, birds chirped and there were benches entrenched in vines. We wanted to stay longer than a mere hour but we still had a huge chunk of driving to get done. If we had planned the day a little better, we would have most likely found a cafe or cool restaurant in downtown Indianapolis.

We hopped back in Samuel’s CR-V and started the journey to Chicago. On our ride, we encountered several long stretches of nothing on the Indiana highway system. The first patch of land we came across was Gary, Indiana, notable because we never intended to stop there. We were changing highways when Samuel, who was on GPS duty, uttered a misdirection causing us to drive through the desolate and deserted hometown of Michael Jackson. There was not a single person in sight across the long stretch of empty bottles and broken store signs in the desert-like landscape.

We were not in Gary long before we decided to get back on our original route. About an hour later, we arrived at my friend Sophie’s apartment in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. My friend, who I’ve known since the first year of high school, greeted us with a home-cooked meal. We were definitely grateful for the break from fast food and the meal was delicious. 

The rest of our night was spent chatting and playing card games. Before we knew it, we succumbed to our travel exhaustion and tucked in early.