After finishing a 30+ hour road trip today, I realized that there are seven stages of road trips that a weary traveler will face. Whether you’re a roadtrip veteran or you’re getting ready for your first ride, here are the seven stages that you have either been through or will experience during a roadtrip.
Stage 1: You have high hopes.
Stage 2: You start to get restless.
This usually occurs around the four to five hour mark. You’ve been a real champ! You’ve been staying hydrated with all those water bottles you packed, and you’re stuffed on the trail mix and chips you brought to help curb the hunger. The ride hasn’t been that long, and you’re still feeling good about the trip.
However, you’re also starting to get the urge to get up and stretch for a few minutes to give you an extra boost. On the bright side, those you’re riding with are still in a relatively good mood: Everyone is getting along and no one has complained about the music.
Stage 3: OK. Now you are *officially* restless.
You have now been on the trip for about six to 10 hours. You’ve depleted your snack supply, but on the bright side, you still have water! Unfortunately, now it seems that every 20 minutes, someone else has the urge to use the bathroom because of all of the water you’ve all pounded down. You’re starting to feel cramped and confined, and it’s starting to smell funny due to the amount of bodies crammed in the car. You’re trying to stay positive, but the ride is starting to take its toll on everyone.
Stage 4: You’re ready to rumble.
Around the 11 to 20 hour mark, you’re ready to fight. Whether you’re ready to take down the minivan that just cut you off in your lane, the choice of music being played, the person who keeps kicking the back of your seat or the fact that someone ate all the cookies you were saving for yourself, you just want to take out the pent-up energy on something.
Everything outside of the car is calling you like a siren. Even the flat, lifeless farmfield looks like heaven, as long as you can stretch your legs and breathe in some fresh air that hasn’t already been shared with those you’re traveling with.
Stage 5: You’re in denial.
Twenty-one plus hours down, and you’re picturing your life ending in this car from boredom (or the smell). At this point, you may be wishing you had bought a plane ticket for the destination. To make it worse, the amount of gas station food and fast food everyone has consumed is causing some issues. Even you know that you didn’t need that second large order of McDonald’s French fries (I know, it seemed like a good idea at the time), but your body isn’t forgiving you. At this point, all you’re craving is a shower for yourself and for everyone else in the car. On the bright side you’re a lot closer to your destination than you were to begin with!
Stage 6: You can finally celebrate!
When you finally reach your destination, your heart skips a beat as you step out of the car. You feel free knowing you won’t have to go back the car after another five-minute bathroom break. You have never appreciated the act of walking as much as you do right at that moment. Your brain is blocking out the whole trip, because you’re so relieved it’s over.
You and your travel partners are once again on good terms. All of the arguments over food, music, leg space and loud snoring are all forgotten. Nothing can bring you guys down, because the drive is over!
Stage 7: The dreaded realization.
This doesn’t happen until the day you're heading home. This is when you realize that you’re about to go through the whole trip all over again, except now you’re just headed home.
Whether you're a veteran road-tripper or a newbie just getting ready for one, the seven stages pretty much stand true every time.
Happy and safe travels to everyone!