During the summer of my 19th year, I spent a lot of time alone in my downtown Portland, Oregon apartment. It was hot, and I was generally bored. I remember watching a lot of Criminal Minds and going on the occasional walk around the city. Things were starting to get stagnant until I got a text from my best friend, Connor.
Hey, do you want to help me pick up my stuff from my dad’s house with me? I can come to get you in an hour.
I needed a break from my life’s monotony at the time, so I replied: Sure, where’s your dad’s house?
I was looking for my keys when my phone dinged as he replied: San Francisco.
San Francisco, for those unfamiliar with the west coast geography of the United States, is roughly ten hours away from Portland by road. I had only been once before, but I was excited to go – the concept of an impulsive road trip was so alluring, and I still chase that sense of excitement and absolute excitement I felt.
If you’re considering a road trip, it’s probably a good idea to plan a little more than we did. Road trips are fun; and if you’re not sure if you should travel that way, here are some reasons I think you should give it a try!
The journey is part of the fun.
While you might have some incredible things to look forward to at your destination, the experience you can have along the way can be equally as memorable.
You can stop whenever you feel like it.
One of the best things about road trips is the opportunity to stop and explore the weird and wonderful things you might come across as you drive. Do you see an antique store in the middle of nowhere? You can browse for as long as you want. Do you want to stop at that go-kart track and race your friends? Go for it. What about if you want to take a last-minute detour to Reno, Nevada? You can do that too.
You get a chance to experience some incredibly scenic drives.
Taking a flight is fun in its own way, but the actual journey can get pretty boring. Clouds are pretty, but clouds for hours straight? Not as much. When you drive, you get to see incredible majestic mountains, stunning landscapes, and sparkling blue rivers and lakes. You get a chance to really see what the country is like; you can even have an opportunity to explore the outdoors as well by hiking or simply taking a break from the driving at one of the National Parks or a scenic overlook you find along the way!
The chance to slow down and breathe is rare.
Most of us could use more time away from work and other stressors. I know I’m guilty of not taking enough time for myself. Road trips are great opportunities to slow down and talk to your friends, listen to a podcast, or blast your favorite songs.
It’s also a cost effective way to travel.
Many people travel by car because it tends to be one of the cheapest transportation methods, especially for those traveling in a group. Being able to split the cost of gas and take turns driving can help you avoid spending on unnecessary things.
Everyone could use a little adventure.
I think that taking the time away from your everyday life can help you evaluate what’s important to you. Getting out of your normal and challenging yourself can have enormous mental and physical health benefits. Letting yourself have an adventure can be fun, fulfilling, and exciting! You can create memories, try new things, and see more of the world – and that’s all before you reach your destination!