posted on September 29th, 2016

Barbie C., aka the JourneylingArtistis always on the move. When she was 12, she and her mom moved from a small town in the Chicago suburbs to Michigan, and since that first big change, Barbie’s been eager to pack up her backpack and explore.

So when she came across Turo in her Instagram feed, she knew it was exactly her speed. One summer Barbie took a camp job in the woods of Wisconsin, and she frequently wished she had access to a car for jaunts into civilization. Now, Barbie lives in Boston and works at an after-school program that supports low-income high school students. She’s still an adventurer and is always finding ways to both stretch her dollar and her experience of a place. “It’s empowering when people have mobility,” she says.

Barbie took her first trip with Turo this past August. She was helping her friend Yoli, who lives in New York, plan a trip to California. “Yoli was a first-time adventurer and I was giving her suggestions, and then I just decided to invite myself along,” Barbie says with a laugh.

At first they made grand plans to road trip from Los Angeles up to Oakland and back, but eventually scaled back to LA and San Diego. “I was like, ‘Oh, Turo is perfect for this trip,’” Barbie tells me. The idea was to stay in hostels, relax on the beach, and cruise around in a convertible — “It had to be a convertible,” Barbie adds.

So Barbie signed up on Turo, was quickly approved, and started browsing cars. “I wanted a car with free delivery that included unlimited mileage for us to really trek around, and also keep it under $50 a day.” Eldor’s Chrysler 200 convertible fit the bill, so she booked it. “I’m the one in my friend group who is always using a new travel app — and this was almost too easy, so we were both a little skeptical at first,” Barbie admits.

To their great relief, Barbie and Yoli had a very simple key exchange at their hostel in Santa Monica. In LA, they stayed in Santa Monica and Boyle Heights, and made sure to hit up Barbie’s favorite beach, El Matador — just past Malibu — before heading down to San Diego. They Facetimed with Eldor at a few points, once to get further instructions on the convertible top and another to change their drop-off time, and Barbie was pleased with Eldor’s attentive responses.

“It was the perfect car for the trip,” Barbie says. “I even had a moment when I teared up. Yoli is from New York and never really wants to travel — she had never gone into the water at the beach before this trip. Now here she is sitting in a convertible taking in all of these new elements and experiences. Not everyone, on their own, just develops that rush to travel.”

Barbie and Yoli took the scenic route along Pacific Coast Highway back to LA — which Barbie says, “was a little slow going for me, but Yoli was the passenger so she loved it.” In the end, the trip left a mark on both of them — quite literally. “We had the top down most of the time and we weren’t wearing sunscreen in the car,” Barbie exclaims. “You know you had a good time when you go home with a sunburn and a seat belt tan.”

Kamala Puligandla is a writer and an editorial assistant at Turo. She is always on the hunt for a strange story, a great snack, and the perfect outdoor spot to consume them.