I just got home from a three week long road trip. I’ve done a bit of traveling in my day but it’s been quite a while since I’ve been on a trip this long. There are some things that are different about traveling for a few days as opposed to a few weeks or months.
Here are some things that I’ve learned or was reminded of on my adventure:
1) ALWAYS stop and turn around if you feel the need: Whether it’s a road side attraction, to pick up hitch hikers, check out that thing on the road, take a picture or whatever, there is an experience waiting to be had at that turn around and if you don’t do it, it’s gone forever! …Forever!
2) Hitch hikers are just people looking for a ride: I used to hitch hike and at that time many of my friends were also hitch hikers. Yes, a lot of them are dirty and smelly, sometimes wet and often with dogs. I will admit, some of my friends were serious assholes but when it came to getting a free ride, they were not. They wouldn’t hurt, rob or put the life of the driver in danger…ever. The thing about picking up hitch hikers is to BE SMART! If your gut says “no” then don’t pick them up. It’s really not fair to make assumptions about someone just because they’re standing on the side of the freeway. Who knows, that hitch hiker may turn into a friend or at the very least, you’ll get some company while helping someone out.
3) Two (or three) pairs of underwear is enough: The same goes for socks.
4) Hand washing your clothes is awesome: There is something about only having a few items of clothing and washing them by hand that is really centering and calming.
5) An amazing landscape becomes indescribably epic with the right soundtrack: The music that works best is entirely up to the individual. As long as it’s something you love and that stirs your guts, it will work, I promise!
6) You can quickly learn to sleep well, almost anywhere: With ear plugs, a pillow (a luxury thats well worth it when I have the space), a familiar sleeping bag and a good sleep mat, I’m pretty much at home wherever my head lands.
7) You will likely end up sleeping in your clothes so wear something comfortable: This also is nice when you’re sitting in them for hours on end in the same position in the car.
8) Sitting in a car for hours can be exhausting.
9) Sometimes you just have to pull over and let your eyes close: You may not actually really need to sleep but just allowing your body to do it’s thing and doze off for 5 – 20 minutes can mean the difference between life and death…literally. Actually arriving to your destination is more important than getting there in the time you hope to get there in.
10) You must be adaptable or it’s going to suck: Car trouble, food options, other people’s schedules, weather, plans, time frames and more. All of these can vary greatly by the town, by the hour, by the minute and if you can’t go with the flow, you’re going to be disappointed at some point.
11) Take time to visit people that you know along the way: Most people enjoy housing traveling guests for a night or two and having familiar faces (and hugs) is a wonderful thing on the road. Plus you’re giving your host the gift of being a part of your adventure. People love that!
12) It really is about the journey, because when you’re traveling, the journey is what you are doing.