Ah, the sweet open road.
Not much sounds better to me, honestly. Did you know that there are over 4 million miles of roads in the US alone? How many of them have you traveled? Let me know in the comments down below, I’m curious. Another fun fact- did you know that the average US citizen has only visited 12 states? That’s crazy to me!
We live in such a literal wide-open space, yet (for so many reasons; socio-economic, accessibility, work, I get it) we can’t seem to travel to more than a few. I remember in college, so many of my friends and classmates would talk about planning their school breaks to fun locations in Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, and more. But how come we overlook the unappreciated gems in our own country? I get that we live in a generation full of beach-bummin’, bikini clad and selfie obsessed picture-takers, but c’mon!! There’s natural beauty all around us that trust me, you don’t need to spend a fortune on (looking at you- dream vaca in Bali!) and will still make your Instagram complete ~fire~.
I know my most recent trip to Montana isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Having visited a town with a population of only about 300, hardly any healthy vegetarian food options, and the worst cell service I’ve ever experienced, it doesn’t afford many luxuries that people like to gravitate towards when they think of vacation and relaxing. It was about 20 minutes drive to the nearest city of Missoula (Go Grizzlies!) and depending on the road conditions, you’d have to be super careful driving. Buuuuttt….speed limits there varied from 70-85 mph on major highways (I say “major” and really mean “only” *insert laugh emoji*) and the speed racer in me was thriving. Something about having to share the road with little to no other cars and constantly having a scenic vista to look out at made my heart melt with joy.
But the beauty of a road trip is that you don’t need to confine yourself to any one place! Most interstates have portions where you can pull off to a “Scenic Area” or “Scenic Bypass” sign, indicating that there may be a statue, monument, or another interesting attraction coming up along the road. RoadsideAmerica is your guide to offbeat tourist attractions- it’s a website dedicated to showing the quirky, weird, and eclectic attractions by US state, so you can plan ahead if there’s something that catches your eye. Also, here’s a link to Thrillist magazine’s most scenic drives in every state which I highly suggest you check out to plan your next trip!
When I was younger, my family couldn’t afford to buy plane tickets for our whole family of four, so we drove everywhere. We drove from Massachusetts to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (a 17-ish hour drive) SO. MANY. TIMES. It was hard for me to sit still and appreciate it for what it was when I was younger- but you get to see so much of the country on that drive!! And that was back in the day when my parents used a road atlas and written driving instructions or MapQuest to get us from Point A to Point B… retro, right?
Now if you’re not used to road trippin’ you might be wondering, okay yeah, looking at pretty things in nature is fun, but how the hell do you fight the boredom?
LET ME TELL YOU SIS.
There’s a little game called Yellow Car Point… ring any bells? The most iconic and super addicting/competitive of all car ride games. If you don’t know, I’ll give you the run down of how my family and I have learned to play it, but bear in mind these are by no means “official” rules, these are just things we’ve discovered along the way to keep it fun and interesting. If you’re more type-A, I actually found a website linked here where you can check out the supposed “Official” rules.
- The game starts when everyone is buckled up (safety first) in the car and the car is in motion. That means you can’t call cars when you’re parked/getting gas/etc! This also means the game resets every time you stop + begin your journey again, perfect for ending a losing streak 😉
- You call out “Yellow Car Point!” when you see a yellow car at any point in your journey. You typically gesture towards it too because I guarantee if it wasn’t obvious, the other players in the car are gunna wanna see some proof!
- If you and another player (or multiple players) call to the same yellow car, whoever punches the roof of your vehicle the fastest gets the point.
- You get +1 point for every yellow car, +2 points if the yellow car is a “punch buggie” AKA a Volkswagen Beetle Bug, and +10 if you see a pink car. Don’t ask me how or why that’s a thing, we just roll with it.
- You get -1 point for every “Yellow Car Point!” called when the vehicle turns out to be commercial, not yellow, or already called by someone else.
And that’s the game! It can get super competitive with my family and trust me, the trash-talker WILL come out of you and the other players, guaranteed.
I also like to travel solo- I’ve discovered more about myself, my purpose, my values, and my thoughts on literally life itself when I’ve traveled on my own. So when I do go solo, I usually fight boredom first off by having some killer music playlists ready to go and a backup battery in hand, and second off by downloading some podcast episodes that I’m interested in. I usually listen to podcasts surrounding current events, language-learning, spirituality, and social media/women’s empowerment. Some of my favorites so far have been: Coffee Break German, Up First, The Daily, Goal Digger, and The Influencer Podcast. I listen to all of these through the Apple Podcast app but I’ve linked their web addresses as well for your enjoyment. 🙂
I personally love road trips in the US because I feel so much more comfortable than if I were say, taking a trip to a country where I didn’t know the language or have easy access to the currency, to name some of the basics. I remember so many of my co-workers from my job in college who were from NYC, and they RARELY left the city for pleasure- and when they did it would be to go to other large US cities like Miami or the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and other places in the Caribbean. I understand this was mostly because of family but there’s so much to be explored state-side, and on the cheap too!
And lastly, I want to take a second to recognize my privileges in traveling as much as I have and as much as I plan to in my future. Being a white American woman, I don’t typically turn heads when I say I want to travel somewhere new and “find myself”. Probably just an eye-roll or two. But I understand that there’s more than just financial reasons why someone chooses to or not to travel somewhere. I get it, we live in a scary country with a whole lot of injustices going on so you gotta do what’s best and safest for you. Also, because of the pandemic on our hands I definitely don’t condone traveling until your home state and place of interest are deemed safe to visit!
I just want to share my experiences and give tips on things that I’ve gone through, things that I love, and maybe influence you to consider a new type of vacation in the future! #Roadtrippin