The Freedom and Adventure of Taking to the Road in YA


“All I wanted was to go somewheres; all I wanted was a change.”

~The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


Travel has always been a popular theme in YA fiction.  There’s something about that opportunity for change, freedom and adventure that can be so exciting.

I love road trips and remember them being especially enticing when I was a teenager (way back when I didn’t give much thought to flat tires, tired motels and greasy food).

It’s all about the fun and possibility.

YA adventure food travel _opt


Foreign food is part of the adventure too.


That’s my daughter creating her own YA adventures 6,000 miles from home.  She is meeting new people, learning a new language, eating different food and enjoying a journey that is more than just a trip from home.


 Because just like in real life, a great fictional trip is not just about the geography.


Heart connections in the Caribbean.


A road trip and the mystery of emotional distance.


Self-discovery in Italy via undersea archaeology


What YA journeys have you loved (real or fiction)?


26 thoughts on “The Freedom and Adventure of Taking to the Road in YA

  1. I don’t read much YA, but I did enjoy lots of adventures when I was one. 😉 One of my favorites was a road trip from Minnesota to Texas for a music fest. Great post, Coleen! Hope your daughter is having a big time blast.


  2. As a YA myself, I traveled all over the east coast with my horse, up to my ears in three-day eventing. I had an absolutely wonderful time, sharing the camaraderie of all my like-minded friends and riding in pretty intense competitions – three-day is not for the faint of heart 🙂 As for books, I am so hooked by YA dystopian right now – I love pretty much everything I read in that genre and their travels and adventures are quite disparate and far-flung!


  3. I’m currently reading Paper Towns, did you like it. I read another of his recently it was awesome!


  4. I was lucky enough to get to go to France for spring break my senior year of high school. No crazy partying though – it was with a school group. I always wanted to go back, and this summer, I finally will – with my daughter! It’s going to be great.

    But another trip I took a year later probably stuck with me just as much if not more: driving to Yellowstone. My mom and brother don’t like to travel, so it was me, my dad, and my grandparents. Some fantastic sights to be sure, but spending all that time with them is a memory I’ll always treasure.


  5. I’m a reader and writer of YA. Road trips can be magical. I’m planning a road trip YA book.
    I’ve just finished “An Abundance of Katherines” by John Green. He is a master. I’ve attended one of his nerdfighters shows for the release of “The Fault in Our Stars”. The passage he read was stunning.


  6. Life As We Knew It was great! Also, a non-YA that was a great traveling tale: The Stand. There’s something about that dystopian world that is so intriguing. I guess it is a “What would you do?” kind of thing–and seeing how a person changes when everything around them is suddenly taken away. Good stuff!


  7. Hi Coleen!

    Oh I do hope that your daughter is having the time of her life! How much fun is that? Road trips as a YA? Hmm. I never did travel alone. I traveled with my parents when I lived at home and then got married right out of high school and traveled with my husband. But I’ve been to a lot of far away places and have a lot of fond memories in which I plan to incorporate in my writing. I like Susie hope that your daughter does write about it someday! 🙂


  8. How fun!!! I’m so jealous of your daughter. I loved traveling as a teen, although I still love it -(except for the extra stress and responsibility, of course!) I can’t think of any really big journey books I’ve read lately though. Pathetic of me – I know! I’d like to check out some of the ones you’ve mentioned though. They look good!


  9. What a great time for your daughter! Getting to travel (especially without the parents around) is an amazing gift for teens. My daughter went to Italy when she was 15 and came home knowing how to pair wines with meals. Okay, not exactly what I thought she’d get out of the trip, but hey, I don’t drink wine so she gets to be my sommelier. Your daughter is going to come home enriched in so many ways (not just knowing how to pair wines, hopefully). I guess I never grew out of that teen love of exploring because I will travel at the drop of a hat. It’s always an adventure. Hmm, makes me want to go somewhere right now!


  10. I didn’t do much of anything as a YA that was fun. I certainly didn’t travel, unless you call taking the Greyhound with my grandparents to visit some distant relatives. Hope your daughter has a great time.


  11. ZigZag by Ellen Wittlinger! It’s a road trip through the cattle ranch parts of America.

    I never traveled with any school trip or anything, but I did love vacations with my parents. The first time I was allowed to push the room service button in the middle of the night was like becoming P. Diddy, before P. Diddy even thought up that persona.


  12. Love both YA books and road trips (both when I was a YA and now!). That sense of adventure and the thrill doesn’t dissipate with age. I think that’s why I like YA books so much – they are filled with that sense of hope and promise that life has to offer when it is still all stretched out before you. Recent ones I’ve liked are the Hunger Games series (of course), Anna and the French Kiss and Perfect Chemistry.


  13. I used to love road trips when I was a teenager. When I got my license, I was gone! The sense of freedom and having new adventures was intoxicating. I can see why travel is a popular idea in YA books.


  14. I’m not even sure what YA is. In middle school I read a lot of VC Andrews. Is that YA? By high school I had moved on to adult books, and now when I have tried to go back and read YA I just couldn’t do it! But I can see the movies. I bet if I was a midddle school girl I would love the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books. Friendship and travel are fun to read about. And I will always love adventure. I hope your daughter knows how happy she will be that she took the opportunity to have adventure when it was there. I definitely regret trips not taken in high school and college. I wish I would have studied abroad. But hindsight is 20/20, right?


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