Assuming you lead a life of leisure and desperately wish to fill up your time with something, anything, but have no interest in starting a family or following the typical path of normal people, you probably will want to take notes throughout this article. And I promise that first sentence will be my longest sentence in here. I just couldn’t stop.
Hey, may I suggest to you that you take a road trip and take one soon? Traveling out of the country, no matter what country you are living in, is pretty nice. It is a good learning experience. But seeing the closer-world, by car, has its own perks. Big perks that I advocate.
Have you ever road-tripped? Does it sound too anxiety-inducing? Well, it might be if you go into it with THAT attitude, so instead take this attitude that I recommend: RELAX. CALM DOWN! It’s all right. It’s always all right. Just get out there and go. You’ll feel better by the end.
Pick Your Destination
Plenty of people like to do day trips. It cuts out the need for hotel stays and is the cheapest method, by a long shot. If you live out in the middle of nowhere, you will feel like you haven’t gone far enough, but be patient. Baby step your way to a larger journey.
Some of you may instead decide to pack nine days with 2400 miles. You can see so much, every day, but you are racked with the regret of not seeing more. So much must be passed over. This of course means that you can just take the same route numerous times over the years with completely different sights! And such sights! And unplanned roadside attraction stops! You gotta save time for those.
Get you some of that natural splendor. Or go to museums. Go to battlefields, or famous homes, or Studio City, USA, I don’t care where you go because anywhere is great, also it is highly subjective. Even if your destination is just one city, you can find a seemingly endless amount of things to do when you’re there, even if it is to “live as though you were a local,” seeing how seamlessly you can blend in. They always sniff you out right away.
Once you have selected your dream road trip, it is time to make your dream soundtrack(s). Music is everything, and because you obviously only have friends who share your musical tastes, you don’t have to worry about COMPLAINERS. Burn as many CDs as you can. They will scratch easily and become unplayable by the end of the trip, but at least it will feel AUTHENTIC. If your computer doesn’t have a CD Burner because so many of them don’t these days, then I guess you can just make playlists with MP3s or on Spotify or whatever you use. Whatever people do who aren’t from the Past like I am.
I recommend that you theme them. Don’t just shuffle all 12,000 tracks you have saved! Make lists for each possible time of day and setting. Do you anticipate that you will be driving through acres, miles of sunflower fields? Then you absolutely have to make a playlist of music that makes you think of yellow, sunlight, flowers, glorious, gorgeous splendor. Night time city driving? Wordless, smooth electronic sounds. And be sure to make an excessive amount of CDs specifically for all of the slow or stopped traffic jams you’ll find yourself in, even in the actual middle of nowhere! Where are all these people going?? Oh well, they can watch you and your friend(s) have a dance party. Do it. Have fun. Make an impression. Use your time on earth for something important like this for a change!
Do you need to plan ahead? Does anyone, really? Well, normally no, but sometimes you might want to rent a choice cabin on a mountain or a house on a remote beach somewhere. That does require hours and hours and hours of searching and comparing, delicious charts and lists. Then, when you arrive, you will truly feel that you have arrove.
Other times, though, I am fully in support of the liberating feeling of just going off where you want, in a vague direction with vague plans. Dangerously tired and can’t find a hotel with any vacancies? It’s part of the experience. If you have to sleep in the car for twenty minutes behind a shuttered warehouse that probably contains dead victims, then you’ll have a minor story to tell later. Perfect.
Obtain a Driver and a Car
After you decide on all of those things, it is time to con a friend who can drive and is old enough to rent a car, or own one that is in good repair. You will have done so much of the work already, all you have to do is rev up your meticulously cobbled together PowerPoint presentation that emphasizes all of the memories you will make, all of the good, and anything bad, just wave it away as being “statistically insignificant.” People love and trust hearing that phrase.
In my experience as a non-driver, I find that merely begging doesn’t work. And pointing out that you have done a whole lot of research doesn’t ALWAYS help. Even explaining that you know how to bring a comfortable silence AS WELL AS possessing marvelous conversational skills doesn’t always work, if they’ve grown used to you and take you for granted. But if you say that you will pay for all of the gas, and most if not all of the food or shelter — that’ll get ’em on board. Often, since they ARE friends after all, they will offer to pay half of food and board. But if they don’t that’s fair, too. Driving looks awful. They’ve earned this otherwise free trip. Where will you get the money? Just figure that out later.
Speaking of food, you will be eating a lot of fast food, if you are going for days on end. Some gas stations offer mildly healthy options, vitamin water and granola bar type things, but let’s be real. Everything you eat will be high in sugars, sodium, and FAT. Welcome to your new body!
Personally, I hate eating or drinking while traveling because I can feel it micro-jiggling within my innards and if I focus on that, I get miserable and car sick. Also, that means more stops in public restrooms of ALL sorts, and that is a real game of Russian Roulette. No! European Roulette. Get it? Get it?? Do you get my terrible joke!?
Bring a cooler filled with celeries, apples, and sammiches. It’s like a time capsule for when you unload the car after you have returned, and discover the cooler buried under pillows, emergency blankets, and fast food wrappers. l o l
Psychologically Prepare Yourself for Being Hopelessly Lost
It is nice to travel in these modern times, because you don’t have to rely on gigantic state maps that you have folded poorly for ages and crammed in the glove box. Back in MY day, we just had to follow the road signs that appear every hundred miles or so that say “[major city] [hundreds of miles away still].” When we got lost, we would have to pull over on the side of the road, study the stars, watch for migrating birds. Old people would unhelpfully tell us how to get out of there by only speaking of landmarks that blew away or caved in forty years ago. But, and I want you to take solace in this — WE’RE STILL ALIVE.
Now, we all have GPS and map apps. They really are useful. They reroute for you the SECOND you miss your dozenth turn or exit. Still, every trip, we become astonishingly lost. And remarkably, not every inch of this great united nation is covered with data signals. Is there anything equal to the cold dread of finding yourself lost in Southern USA back roads, teetering on the edge, staring into chasms and valleys below, with the map saying “waiting for signal”? With a screen of what should be at least one road instead just being a blank grey? For hours. Hours and hours? But that sort of mortal terror is a friend-building bonding experience. And we are all stronger for surviving it.
Just don’t start crying on the outside.