Holiday Roadtrip Extravaganza

I’ve been on many a long trip with my family – we would drive from the very tip of Maine (Presque Isle, to be exact) down to Blowing Rock, North Carolina once a year growing up. I’ve made many long trips with choirs over the years in middle school and college bringing me all the way down to Florida and back. I’ve driven myself from here in New Hampshire down to Blowing Rock and back more recently and it was a blast. But I’ve never really done what I would consider a “roadtrip” – stopping at a bunch of different places over a decent span of time with someone else around during the long and short drives… I’ve always wanted to, but never found the time or places to go or someone to go with. But that’s about to change!

This Friday, my wonderful boyfriend Derek and I will start a two week, nearly 4,000 mile roadtrip for the holidays, stopping to see friends and family along the way! The trip idea first came to my head at the end of the summer and when I brought the idea up to Derek, he agreed (probably not really knowing all that he was getting himself into :P). So, the planning began and we began mapping out our route which gradually expanded and shifted and changed to what it is today. The whole trip seemed so far away as I began making preparations, but now there are just three days left until we leave! I’m so excited!

Before I tell you about the specifics of our trip and all that is planned, I first need to say that God has had His hand all over this trip. He has really been preparing me for some amazing things that are going to happen for me, Derek and me & Derek as well as everyone we will be spending time with and new people that we will meet. With all the changes that have gone on in our lives over the past year, it would be easy to stress about all that has to be done before we go and all that has to be taken care of while we are gone and what things will be like when we each return to our separate apartments, but I’m not! God has kept telling me to “leave it all at the door” when we leave on Friday and to get into my trusty Subaru Forester and be free on this trip. God is going to speak to us so much through this and there are going to be so many awesome memories made (even those in the longer car rides will be awesome).

Map of Roadtrip

The map of our roadtrip from start to finish!

So, without further ado, I give you our wonderful roadtrip itinerary:

DAY ONE (12/21): Travel Day – Nashua, NH to Newtown, CT to Brooklyn, NY (4.5 hours)

Whilst trying to beat whatever traffic we can, we will begin our trip with a very important stop in Newtown, CT. After the tragedy that took place a week ago on the 21st, God really put it on my heart to go and pray over the school property and the town. My heart is aching to bring whatever healing, hope, restoration, grace, comfort and love that God can pour out through my words and spirit while we are there. I am not sure just yet when we plan to be there, but for those of you following me on Facebook, I will be posting when we will be onsite if you wish to join with us as we pray.

After our stop in Newtown, we will continue to Brooklyn where we will visit with our friend Krissy and rest up for our second longest drive time of the trip after just completing our shortest drive of the trip. We haven’t seen Krissy in quite some time, so we are pretty excited about being able to catch up, hang out and fellowship together even if it is just for the one night. : )

DAY TWO (12/22): Travel Day – Brooklyn, NY to Bishopville, SC (11.5 hours)

This will be our second longest drive of the whole trip as we make our way to my parents’ place. We have both been talking about music for the trip for a while, so we’ve been compiling combinations of our current favorites, standard roadtrip tunes and even some new music we’ve found on Noisetrade. But, we won’t have another trip that’s longer than 8 hours until after the New Year.

DAYS THREE-SEVEN (12/23-27): Christmastime in Bishopville

My parents and younger sister have only been living in SC for about a year and a half, so there are still places I haven’t seen or been to and some new places I discovered on my last visit that I fell in love with, so it will be wonderful to take Derek to some of those places as well as see some new things. My younger sister is actually moving into a new place with her best friend, so I’m hoping we will be able to check out her new home while we are there. There will of course also be the traditional Gallagher family Christmas traditions galore with the new southern twist that I am still adjusting to (at least this year it has snowed here in NH before I leave – not having a white Christmas really DOES take some adjusting to). We might even make a trip to Charleston while we are there.

DAY EIGHT (12/28): Travel Day – Bishopville, SC to Palm Bay, FL (8 hours)

So, my childhood best friend Krista and I have managed to keep in touch throughout all of our moves around the east coast – me staying mostly northern and her staying mostly southern. A couple of years ago, I drove to the Outer Banks to meet her boyfriend who turned into her fiance not long after. A year after that, I flew down to Virginia Beach for their wedding and just this past April/May, I flew down to Florida to spend a few days with them and check out Harry Potter World (yep – we’re awesome adults). When I told Krista about the trip, she said I should just continue driving since I would be so close by to spend some time with them – I told her she was pretty much a genius. Krista and her husband have never met Derek though they have heard of him quite often and have actually talked with him on the phone and via Skype, haha. So now for the first time ever and in their new house we will all be together after this short-ish drive! :D!

DAYS NINE-ELEVEN (12/29-31): New Years Celebrations in Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach & Miami

Weird confessions of a 25 year old: I have never really done anything big to celebrate New Years, even though I have always wanted to. Sure, I’ve been to a First Night or two in Wolfeboro, NH in high school, but it wasn’t anything spectacular and I didn’t stay the whole time. I’ve never really been to a New Years party and the one time I was with Derek and we tried to stay up, I ended up getting really sick and it was an all around awful night for both of us… This year, I will not only be with my love, but I will be with my best friend and her husband in warmer temperatures! Not quite sure of what we’ve got planned, but it will be something – that’s for sure. : )

While we are in Florida, Derek and I plan to visit a couple other friends/family as well. A friend of ours, Aaron, moved down to Florida after hearing a calling from God to face some of his fears in a major way. Without having much of a plan except to drop everything and follow God, Aaron made his way down to the Cocoa Beach area and began learning how to surf. The stories of blessing and provision that we read from his updates are amazing and he has gotten pretty decent at surfing – he competes whenever he can amidst work and all! It will be really neat to catch up with him. And Derek’s sister, brother-in-law and nephew live in Miami, so we will definitely be meeting up with them at some point. Derek’s sister is expecting another little one in a while here as well, so it will be awesome to see their little family this last time before they grow to become four!

DAY TWELVE (1/1): Travel Day – Palm Bay to Orlando to Live Oak, FL (4 hours)

We’ll pack up our bags and start making our way towards Live Oak with a stop in Orlando – there’s this amazing blacklight tunnel in the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Emporium that I fell in love with when Krista, Lee and I went back in April/May and I really want to go in it again myself and for Derek to experience it. You step into this tunnel and all of the sudden your equilibrium goes crazy and you feel like you are spinning even though you are not moving… I loved it!

Our driving for the day will end at my Grandmother’s in Live Oak where I will also be stopping by my grandfather’s grave. He died when I was about 10 years old so it’s not like it was yesterday, but this is still a very important stop of the trip to me.

DAY THIRTEEN (1/2): Travel Day – Live Oak, FL to Bishopville, SC (6.5 hours)

We will keep right up with the traveling to get back north by making a one-night, quick stop at my parents again before the longest drive of our entire trip.

DAY FOURTEEN (1/3): Travel Day – Bishopville, SC to Long Island, NY (12/5 hours)

This is the drive that I am expecting will be the hardest on the two of us. Not only will it be the longest, but we will also have driven a decent amount on the previous day as well and we will have been away from home traveling for almost two weeks by this day. Not to mention leaving the warmer weather. But, I feel like we will also be just about ready for home at this point, too. Long Island will bring us to my college best friend & post-college roommate Rita’s new home with her husband, David. Rita and I lived together before she and David got married and the two of them were still living here in New Hampshire until earlier this month when they made the move to Long Island. I can’t speak for Derek, but I’m pretty excited to see their new house and to see them again even if I just saw them a couple of weeks ago. : )

DAY FIFTEEN (1/4): Day in NYC

I’ve been to NYC that I can remember: once in middle school when we were supposed to go up in the Twin Towers but it was too foggy so we saw Beauty and the Beast on Broadway instead and then again in college when we performed in Carnegie Hall, though in both, I don’t remember much of seeing the actual city… During the college trip, we spent almost all of our time indoors rehearsing, so there wasn’t much time to “enjoy the city”, though we did get to walk around a small section of Central Park while fully dressed in our choir outfits (the guys in full tuxes and us ladies in what resembled a modified nun’s dress) and right before our performance, two girls and I took a quick spin around the block on a bike tour. 😛 Derek has also never been to the city, so we are going to take in whatever we can while we can. If Krissy is around, we may spend some time with her in the city 😛 And then we’ll come “home” to Rita & David after their done with work.

DAY SIXTEEN (1/5): Travel Day – Long Island, NY to Nashua, NH (5 hours)

We are currently planning to make our return to our respective homes on January 5th at a time yet to be determined. 😀 And that will conclude our trip!

For those of you who are interested in following along to our trip, I will be posting little updates here and there on Facebook and Twitter (@HilaryColleen). Keep us, my car, our travels, our families, our friends and everyone we meet in your prayers! May God bless you and yours with a wonderfully Merry Christmas and a hopeful and joyous New Year!

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