I may later argue that trails are more wonderful than the road. But for now, let me write about my love for the road trips. Formerly regarded as dredged tiresome part of travel, became my favorite part of travel off late. Or since I met Harsha. One of my first trips with him was a time when he showed up at my apartment and asked if I wanted to go to the grocery store with him to pick up some snacks. He then suggested a drive since it was a beautiful night. We ended up in San Diego for the weekend, called in sick on Monday to stay another day and has been on the top of my most memorable trip list.
Journey is the destination ?
Dan Eldon famously coined this phrase. “There is little difference between being, being lost and exploring. Create. Avoid easting nasty food when the taste can easily be improved by sauces. It is foolish and hazardous not to dance in Africa.“, he wrote in his journal. His manifesto echoes with lots of aspects of the way he lived his life. The process is more important than if and when we got there, he argues. I can identify with him, a lot. The journey to Yellowstone was as beautiful as the forest, I argue. We spent time with each other and daydreamed to glory.
What’s outside the window ?
Some say this is a contributing factor. Is the drive beautiful ? Are only the beautiful drives worth the time ? I met an 60 year old retired Indian Army general whose wisdom was eye opening. “Even if there is nothing, even the rugged dry lands are part of the place and need to be understood to really travel the land“, he argued. What a wonderful thought. Negative spaces are as important.
Harsha and me once drove to Mexico all the while talking about AC and DC current. And about Testla Vs Edison. Great conversations transcend every other need. Next on my list is great music. “Did you discover any new Zimmers?”, he asked when I started making a playlist. We are ardent lovers of Hans Zimmer‘s music. His tune ‘time‘ matches every mood of life on the road – the good, the bad and the ugly. Podcasts are a recent addition to our trips. We listen to a lot of Dan Carlin’s History episodes. He is a master storyteller and can make 3 hours fly by while talking about world wars and human emotions.
Snacks are important. We try to procure sugary or fatty foods like string cheese, chocolate and brownies that we don’t eat in our everyday lives. Trader Joe’s ginger beer ( non alcoholic) is another favourite. We are big meal eaters and don’t get to try snacks or junk food. We actually take these opportunities to try new finger foods.
“Harsha, can you pull over?”
We are usually in a hurry to get to the destination in the time promised by the Apple/Google maps. But since there is so much to see and do along the way, I am always asking for breaks. Being a hobbyist photographer, makes me force him to pull over multiple times to make some pictures and I do end up sulking when he does not.
What are bad road trips ?
Company. That’s the deal breaker for me. Do not travel with people you don’t love, said some wise man…… I have been miserable in beautiful places when in the wrong company. I make it a point to avoid travelling with the high maintenance people who “need” everything to be a certain way and won’t bend. Harsha is more forgiving and adjusting. Riding pillion with Harsha is my favorite way to get to places …. I was once told even the bad trips become better when you think of them as time goes by. I have a cousin who once got mugged and beaten up. He claims it just made it harder for him, and that it was a good trip in the end. The weather is a more beatable factor. There is clothing to help with the cold and ways to endure heat.
Day Vs Night
Ofcourse its a factor! I believe driving in the night is meditative. The lack of lighting makes me put down my camera and relax. There is not much that is visible outside forcing you to concentrate on other things. The weather is usually easier on you. We have separate music playlists for day and night. More romantic tunes play in our car in the night.
What makes a road trip for you ? Opinions on travel is weath ! I would love to hear your thoughts.