I love road trips. I grew up with a mother who was and, at almost ninety years of age, still is a strong proponent of the Sunday Drive. This weekly foray out into the not-so-wilds surrounding our home, whetted my appetite for not only these one to two hour jaunts, but car travel in general. I was happy to give my younger sibling the front seat so I could rattle around alone in the spacious, pre-seatbelt area of the rear seat.
I learned early on that road trips do not have to be lengthy or exotic to be thrilling for an observant child. I did note that besides having a car that could get you there and back again ( wherever ‘there’ was) and enough money for gas and a few treats along the way, WHO you traveled with was of the utmost importance. Many years have passed since those long ago days of weekly Sunday drives with my mom, but I still believe that choosing the right company for a road trip can be the boom or bust deal in all travel.
I have observed that if you really want to get to know someone, take a long trip with them. Seriously. I think there are very few things that are more revealing of character than travel, particularly if you will be in close proximity to the other or others 24/7 for multiple days. The speed of character revelations can be revved up exponentially by choosing a destination that leaves all familiar compass points behind; things like your native language, currency you recognize and understand, time tables for public transportation that are easy to cipher, and radically different customs. Even a change in what is our normal climate can make a difference. I know this last one well, as heat and humidity are not always my friends and they can make me a grumpy gal faster than I would care to admit.
Travel builds character. Happily, my husband and I raised three competent and adventuresome travelers. I think that traveling with our children to destinations both near and far was one of the best gifts we gave as parents. Travel with potential mates or pals can quickly shine a light on areas of convivial bliss or uncomfortable discord. I have often thought that it might be a good thing if we sent people off together on a journey prior to pledging their troth to one another; a kind of Travel 101 Survivor deal. Traveling together gets you to the REAL stuff quickly.
I am fortunate in that I have logged literally thousands of travel miles with my favorite travel buddies–planes, trains, automobiles and ships. Lots of them. Over time, seasoned travel partners tend to choose to be responsible for those parts of the journey that make use of their skills and are the things they actually enjoy doing. My friends will tell you that you do not want me in charge of directions; while I can read a map, I can get myself and others lost in a flash. My forte is in the planning.
Another plus is knowing those things that each traveler loves as well as those that are miserably tortuous to them. Concessions and adjustments can and should be made along the way in the name of equity; there are also certain things that are best discussed BEFORE you head out on the Great American Road Trip. These pre-launch chats will doubtless insure smooth(er) sailing, whether on land or by sea, and allow those longtime friendships to continue after you get back home again and that is a happy thing.
Waving your way with a loves-to-wander wave from my neck of the woods to yours.
P.S. Don’t forget to Spring those clocks ahead one hour this Sunday night.