Zoey Needham.jpg

Zoey Needham
Miami, Florida
Expat Society Georgetown

A few weeks after I got my driver’s license, I made an 11 hour drive from Miami, Florida to North Carolina. Imagine that, a tiny Fiat soaring through the interstate next to 18 wheelers. I held my own on the open road, and it was all for a great reason. That reason being self-discovery.

I wouldn’t call myself a thrill seeker, but I am proud to be fearless. Proud to be and do anything I set my mind to just because life is too short not to! Being an academic is something I cherish, but being a student of the world is a passion that I can never let go of. Thus, that 11+ hour car ride taught me an immeasurable amount about myself. It gave me an even greater appreciation for Music, which happens to be one of my 3 majors.

I learned that music helps me in more ways than one; during the drive, it enabled more than just the lapse of time. It provided storytelling, companionship, and reverie. Even though I can remember listening to channel ORANGE when it first came out in 2012, it was not until this summer’s ride through Georgia when I finally understood and appreciated the orchestral resolution in “Sierra Leone”, the chord progression in “Bad Religion”, and the necessity of “White” for the overall completion of the album. Most would deem the drive unbearable after hour 2, but my fun was just getting started.

Until this trip, I never realized how music ultimately affected the people I surround myself with as well. When I (finally) reached North Carolina, my friends and I spent every night competing, sharing new tracks from artists unknown to the other. Needless to say, we analyzed the intricacies found in Frank Ocean’s first album, as well as classics from Kimbra, Hiatus Kaiyote, and Anderson .Paak. But newer artists like NAO, H.E.R., Jacob Collier, and Masego also found their way onto our playlist by the end of each night.

Each day spent in North Carolina was a dream. I trained with circus people who taught me how to hang from silk ropes and I hiked up my very first trail in Gastonia, just to name a few of the random activities I got roped into. But each night spent in North Carolina was even better. Temporarily blocking out all of my worries was a skill that I acquired during those timeless NC nights. I thank music, my friends, and that 11 hour car ride for teaching me how to find the beauty in life’s simplicity.