Posted: Sunday, November 4, 2012 7:52:31 PM
“On the Road” made me want to travel. Not just travel. It made me want to run full-force into the future, arms open, and embrace the wonderful world we live in. It opened my eyes to the possibilities available to me, and what I was missing out on by just sitting at home, on the couch doing nothing. “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac made me realize my dreams, and made me want to dive head first into my future.
I read the book the summer going into my junior year of High School. I was worried: I knew the upcoming year would be stressful. SATs, ACTs, college applications and life decisions are a lot to put on a sixteen year old kid, not to mention the sports requirements and jobs and regular schoolwork. To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to junior year. I wasn’t even excited for college! I didn’t know what I wanted to be (still don’t), and everyone made it seem like I should. I saw the summer before junior year as the last summer of my childhood, before I had to go on college visits and work every day just to put gas in my car. That is, until I read “On the Road”.
“On the Road” follows Jack Kerouac for about five or six years as he hitch-hikes across post World War II America with his slick, fast-talking friend Neal Cassady at the center of all his adventures. At first, Kerouac leaves his mother’s house so he could take his mind off his father’s death and help generate new material for his novel. He meets countless new people as he travels, gaining new experiences and finds a whole new meaning to life.
I will forever owe “On the Road” for awakening me and making me realize that there is so much more to life than a boring future that high school counselors try so hard to sound exciting. It made me realize that I don’t have to go to college right away. I didn’t have to settle down immediately. I could, I should explore all possibilities. How could I possibly know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life if I’d never been off the East coast, let alone out of the country? When Kerouac had to clear his mind and start fresh, he explored every nook and cranny of America. So why shouldn’t I? If I don’t explore all possibilities, I could be missing out on some important life lessons and experiences that I can’t learn anywhere else.
So I’ll travel. I’ll save up for a road trip, since I obviously can’t hitch-hike as it is now illegal (to be honest, it kind of makes me sad that I can’t). I’ll meet new people, and, to be cliché, live life to the fullest. And as I race across the worn roads towards the rest of my life, “On the Road” will forever be in the passenger seat.