Two years ago, five Newman friends made the decision to room together in the Beata Residence Hall. Little did they know their friendship would take them on a five-day adventure to explore Washington and Oregon.
Planning the getaway
Hannah Abney, a criminal justice and psychology double-major, was set to graduate in May, so she and her four Beata roommates organized a trip to share in one last college experience.
“We decided on Oregon and Washington because of personal connections,” Julia Myers, a business data analytics major, said. “Hannah is from the Portland area, so she was able to drive us around and pick us up from the airport. My Aunt Diane also has vacation homes that she rents out on an island near Seattle.”
These elements made the vacation more feasible for the friends but the beauty of both locations was also a determining factor, Myers said.
Four out of the five friends — Myers, Alondra Torres, Marlie Wagner and Maddy Conrad — boarded a plane and flew to Abney’s home turf, where they began their memorable excursion.
Over 1,500 miles away
Conrad, a biochemistry major with a minor in Spanish, said arriving in the Pacific Northwest allowed her to “finally understand” what Abney had been talking about for the past three years.
“Hannah and I were on the bowling team together, and she always talked about how she missed the trees,” Conrad said. “ I never quite understood until I saw it for myself. It was awesome being able to explore that part of the country!”
The crew loaded up into Abney’s car and drove from one tree-filled destination to the next, all while jamming out to their favorite tunes.
In Oregon, they visited the breathtaking Multnomah Falls waterfall and Silver Falls Lake State Park. The journey also involved traveling north to Washington, where they stayed for a day, stopped by the Space Needle and took in all of Seattle’s lovely views.
“I really enjoyed our ability to just enjoy every moment of the trip, including the crazy unexpected parts,” Wagner, a nursing student, said. “We had to get towed when our car broke down, sprint across blocks of Seattle to make it to our ferry on time, and walk in the pouring rain for hours on one of our hikes.”
“Looking back, it’s a pretty funny memory,” Myers added.
Through each “ridiculously unprecedented moment,” the group laughed together and panicked together, Wagner said.
“Our shared experiences have given me lifelong memories and friends,” Wagner added.
Myers said she and her roommates thrive when “spending time together, being adventurous and silly.”
Two of the five, Wagner and Torres, befriended one another way back in their kindergarten days. Myers, Conrad and Abney’s paths all collided at Newman, and for the past two years, the five friends have been inseparable.
Conrad said she would have never imagined that her roommates would turn into her best friends.
“I don’t know about the other girls, but I was nervous about going to live with them,” Conrad said. “I’d always heard that it could be trouble to live with friends so I wasn’t sure how things were going to work out with us. It’s amazing that in two years there was never a major conflict, and I can’t believe how close we all became in such a short amount of time!”
Wagner agreed with Conrad’s sentiments and said she felt “incredibly blessed” to have the roommates she wound up with.
“We had fun times, serious times, adventurous moments, and through everything these girls were there to support me,” Wagner said. “I hope and plan, and I know the others do as well, to keep in touch and visit each other as our lives continue to move forward.”
In reminiscing on the trip, Myers encourages other roommates or friends to make time for similar opportunities.
“If you wanna travel with friends you should do it,” she said. “You will make memories that will last forever!”
Watch the video recap of the friends’ trip, created by Julia Myers.