The days are getting warmer and it’s time to do something daring. Something you’ll tell your grandkids about decades from now, after they serve the Jell-O at the nursing home. Spring is here and summer is just waiting in the wing. Now is the time to do like Jack Kerouac, Hunter S. Thompson and countless other– now is the time to take to the open road and find some perspective in all those miles of farmland and the call of vast metropolises. Life, like time on the road is not about the destination, it’s about the glory of the journey. Whether you have a weekend or a month, take the time to get out of Dodge.
Here are a few modest thoughts for those planning to put miles between you and everything you call “normal.”
1) Stop and Look Around – Whether you are driving two towns over or headed straight to the heart of New York City, take the time to stop along the way. There are wonders on quiet rural roads and hiding in highway rest stops; go seek them out.
2) Own the Strangeness – If you’re looking for tranquil norms, basic cable has you covered. While on your journey, seek out the bizarre. Be it a reading with a psychic or an existential conversation with a bored bartender, these are the colors that paint meaning and value in between all those stars and stripes. Hate reggae? I suggest at least three hours of it. Just let go and ride, be anyone but you. Or at least the you you’re used to.
3) Make Friends – Everyone has a story, and usually it is an awe-inspiring tale. All you need to do is ask. A real road trip is not merely the chance to take the wheel and careen to the outlands of depth and feeling, it’s a chance to look beyond perception. A good story from an absolute stranger is a gift worth treasuring.
4) Take Very Little – This is a spasm; an emotional geyser tearing through a dam of monotony. When a man escapes from prison, he doesn’t make sure he has his tooth brush. This is a sprint, not a casual stroll. You don’t need to pack a suitcase, you need to go. They have clothes in Austin and Boulder, in Chicago and San Francisco.
5) Document the Wonder – In an age of Instagram and Twitter, we are well-versed at capturing those moments when the candles are burning on the cake or when the balloons fall at the stroke of twelve, so this shouldn’t be too big a challenge. Capture everything you can on your journey to absolution, big and small. If you’re going as a gang, record your conversations. When you have that first beer after hours on the road, take video of the kitschy atmosphere. When you bed down in the motel or finally douse the fire and climb into the tent, snap one last photo of the dying embers. Why? Because in the months and years to come you’ll want to remember. You’ll need to remember.