The crazy parts of your brain come out to play after twelve hours in a car. Sarah and I spent over a hundred hours in the car over the course of just a few short weeks. If we’re experts at anything, it’s how to be in a car with one other person. Over that time, I learned so much from her about how to appreciate (and become) an awesome co-pilot. Here are a few tips for how to love your trip (and each other):
Love your trip (by keeping yourself entertained):
Concoct fun adventures
I love collecting things, but during a road trip you don’t have space to collect clutter. Along the way, I collected stickers for my Nalgene at every state, national park, and brewery we found. I also took a business card from every restaurant, bar, and coffee shop along the way. Sarah collected patches for her backpacking pack. Find something to keep you engaged at every spot.
Bring a token
“Let’s stop and take a picture of that sign!” isn’t as fun as saying, “Let’s stop and climb onto that giant piece of cheese and take a picture of Kathleen in one of the holes!” Kathleen the Succulent became such a character in our narrative, and prompted so many fun stops along our trip. (To follow her road trip adventures and see the cheese picture, check out #kathleensuccs on Instagram)
Download podcasts AND music
Despite the perfect 40-hour Spotify playlist, eventually you get sick of listening to music. Listening to podcasts is a great way to fill time (you can find some of our favorites here!). We listened to the entire first season of Serial in a day, which we then debriefed for hours.
Come bearing gifts
We stayed with friends and new friends all along the way, and gifts are a good way to start. Wine is usually good. Coffee is an excellent alternative. We brought huckleberry wine to South Dakota. We brought cheese and beer from Deschutes Brewery to Madison. Be generous and nice and expect nothing.
Engage other people
Ask questions. Ask for advice. Ask for directions (even if you don’t think you need them). People might be your most important, most fond memory of your trip.
Love each other (by not being a jerk):
Look out for each other
Road trips are hard sometimes, and your co-pilot has to be your first priority. Are they looking droopy? Drive a couple extra hours that day. Always buy two coffees (always). By a few days in, Sarah and I were nearly married. Always mentally check in your the other person, and always look out.
This is the most important rule of all. Things are going to go wrong. You are going to accidentally book all of your Airbnbs for a day earlier than you wanted, which means a 14-hour driving day. You are going to forget to book a campsite for the first night which means driving around Boise at 10pm looking for a place to camp.
Spend time with other people
Sarah and I adore each others’ company. Even so, we have to get other people in the mix. One of the best ways to meet other people along the way is through Airbnb. In South Dakota, we stayed in a garden shed on a mule ranch with an adorable retired couple. In Madison, we stayed with a family who shared their home and their stories and their beer with us.
Generally, here’s the deal: keep expectation and planning to a minimum, and keep your heart and mind open and easy for adventure. Say yes to things (within reason). Be tourists if you want to be, go to bed early if you want to, and love the crap out of your co-pilot because no one wants to be in a steel box with a grumpy selfish person for a hundred hours.
Naturally, this means I think I know everything there is to know on the subject and feel the need to share all of my newly discovered wisdom on the topic.
Unfortunately, all I can do is share our experiences. Let’s start with preparation. To be honest, we didn’t do a lot of it, but I think that was for the better. We scheduled a couple of Airbnbs throughout the trip, scheduled the basic outline of our days, but didn’t plan much in the way of activities or meals. Here’s what we DID prepare: (more…)
Hi, friends! It’s been a while since Thursday Tidbits showed their face. It’s high time for some important things and some completely not important things.
Wes Anderson designed a cafe and it’s just about the most delightful thing ever. So many pastels.
I saw Mad Max a week or so ago and, since then, I’ve been telling everyone to see it. I think action movies are usually entertaining but ultimately forgettable. Fury Road finally combined explosions with incredible female characters and I’m really excited about it. Here’s a review on the Roger Ebert site that I think does it justice.
Day one of the cross-country road trip brought us to Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the United States. It’s a collapsed volcano that filled with snow and rainwater until the basin was full of clear, fresh, beautiful water. This made for some completely beautiful photo ops. (more…)
Sarah and I have driven between Portland and Eugene a couple of times in the past week. While the state is beautiful regardless of where you drive, we were looking for a change of pace. So we headed out to the coast. (more…)
This weekend I saw three beautiful places, two incredible waterfalls, and fell deeply, deeply in love with Seattle in a matter of a couple of hours. I don’t watch Twin Peaks, but if I did, I would be jazzed about staying in the town where it’s filmed (we ate cherry pie at the diner and I think that’s an important element or something). We built fires and hiked and explored for days. (more…)
Like when you’re so wrapped up in a story that the pages are turning themselves and finally you’re staring at the few final lingering sentences, then space. Space to think and imagine, and space to finally have space.
It’s already May, and I’m feeling so nostalgic for this year already. It’s been so good, and some of it so messy, and some of it so outrageously surprising. Things have worked out when they shouldn’t have and people have come through in the best ways.
I spent an hour this week down the rabbit hole of Minimalism School posts from Heroine Training. Xandra is a delight and I’m always so inspired by her posts and videos. If you’re interested in lightening your load and keeping your life magical and clear of clutter, she’s your lady.