ST. LOUIS — This year has forced all of us to adjust to a new normal and for Maryville University brothers, Bailey and Logan Roehr, that new normal meant breaking the mold.
The brothers did something extraordinary. They took their fall semester studies on the road trip of a lifetime.
Logan, 20, and his 24-year-old brother Bailey have always been the adventurous type. They're boy scouts who grew up camping with their parents, and they can cross skydiving off their bucket list.
But during their fall semesters at Maryville University, these brothers took their physical and mental limits to new heights.
“I heard that classes were going to be remote and I was so frustrated because school is so expensive. It just didn't make sense for me to spend like $20,000 to sit on my computer,” said Logan.
Logan is in his sophomore year of college and Bailey will graduate next year.
“I honestly kind of just threw my hands up in the air and was like, I wish I could just drop all this and travel around,” Logan said.
So, Logan mapped out his plan and pitched it to his brother Bailey.
“Logan had sent me this trip and I was like, dude, that's a great idea!” laughed Bailey.
They got the OK from Maryville's president, lined up their online courses, packed up their SUV and hit the road.
They left on September 4 and hit 13 national parks together. More than a month on the open road driving some 9,000 miles.
“I was a little nervous at first, like how will I manage school with so much going on? But it's not that hard to be honest. We downloaded all of our assignments in advance, so we didn't need WIFI,” Logan said.
Once they made it to their destination, they'd set up camp, crank out their schoolwork and then take off exploring the great outdoors! Doing homework, didn't feel like work with the Grand Canyon as a backdrop.
“It didn't feel like it was all that hard because we were just surrounded by so much beautiful nature,” explained Bailey.
There were moments that tested their fears. They hiked the challenging Half Dome at Yosemite and a cold stormy night in Montana forced them out of their tents and into their car.
“Come nighttime there's like 20-mile an hour winds and we're like, shivering cold and this night my air mattress stopped working,” Logan said.
Once Logan escaped to the safety of their SUV, Bailey was left alone in his tent worried all those warning about bears could be in his future.
“I was on my back and the side of my tent was just like, slapping me in the face because of the wind,” laughed Bailey.
The brothers now have stories to share for the rest of their lives and may have started a new trend in remote learning.
“It's no secret there's a lot more fear going on in the world right now and you can sit in that fear or you can just grab hold of it and kind of run with and push the limits. At the end of the day, we're both really grateful that we just took this opportunity and ran with it,” said Bailey.
Maryville's president Dr. Mark Lombardi fully supports the brothers travel. He sent 5 On Your Side a statement that says in part:
"The digital revolution that Maryville leads means our top-quality education lives, moves and thrives wherever life takes our students now and throughout their entire career."