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About six years ago, I was living as a freelance writer in Los Angeles. My life flipped upside down when I accepted a position with Car and Driver and agreed to move to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for the job. Some people might sell their cars or ship them in this type of circumstance, but that’s not how I operate. On the contrary, I was thrilled about an excuse to drive across the country.

  • Car: 2003 Acura RSX 5SPD
  • Location: Utah near Canyonlands
  • Photog: Tony Markovich (Instagram + Twitter: @T_Marko)
  • Camera: iPhone 6 S Plus

I’ve never driven from LA to New York or vice versa, but I have completed at least a few three-quarter drives, and they are unquestionably some of my favorite life memories. The trip was made all the more special because my relationship with my girlfriend was still in its early stages and she came along for the ride. My car didn’t even have Bluetooth yet, so we used CDs and played music on a portable speaker when those got old. I didn’t even have enough money to pay for hotels the entire way, so we camped and lived on premade salads and food we could cook on an open fire. Yet, with her by my side and the open road in front of me, the plan-as-we-go trip was peaceful, fun, and exciting, not stressful.

Okay, so it was kind of stressful when we didn’t know where we were staying and the sun was nearly down a couple of those nights, but during the drive, it was just us and our gorgeous surroundings. These particular shots were taken in Utah, where we briefly saw the outskirts of the Canyonlands and at least one of the natural stone-formed arches.

Cross-country trips might seem daunting, but if you lean in and explore on the way, they can be some of the most clear-headed and fulfilling adventures of your life.

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