We all know that feeling where we want to just escape the monotony of our everyday lives. That stagnant feeling can drag us down and trap us in our minds, making us feel crazy as we start to hate the things we know we love. We don’t have to abandon everything to have an existential meltdown. We can take a step back and get a new perspective as we just take a momentary pause from our life. A solo road trip serves as a wonderful tool to accomplish this goal.
It can be intimidating. Yes.
There can be scary road conditions. Going alone means there isn’t anyone to help you. Filling the gas tank is an expense that comes entirely out of your own pocket. And what about all the bad things that can happen when you stop somewhere and you don’t know anyone?!
Calm down. Take a deep breath and remember that you can make logical decisions. You have a cellphone -- tell people where you are heading. Plan where you want to/should stop for gas. You have resources -- I encourage you to use them!
Now that we’ve taken care of that conversation, let me tell you why I think solo road trips have led me to have a clearer mind.
An exhilarating feeling washes over me as I pack up my car to leave town. I meticulously plan where I put my bags in my car for easy access if I need something. I have my Rand-McNally Large-Scale Road Atlas on my dash. My CD collection is within arm’s reach of the driver’s seat. Yes, I do have a CD collection. I have a water bottle and some kind of caffeinated beverage filling both of the cup holders in the front seat. I can practically smell the freedom.
Once I get everything situated in my vehicle, I head over to the gas station. I recall the last time I went to Kessler’s to get groceries and how I managed to get over 10 cents on my Pump Perks. I silently pat myself on the back. Too bad I won’t get any breaks at the next gas station I go to today.
I always take a few minutes before hitting the road to pick out music that makes me feel good. There are no words to describe the feeling of shamelessly belting out my favorite tune while rolling on down the highway. Ahhh.
The focus that it takes to get everything ready to go on the road consumes my entire mind. I forget about anything that might be causing me anxiety. Slowly, as my odometer adds up the miles I distance myself from home, I can analyze the things in my life that bog me down.
Why am I so terrible at feeding myself? Is it really that hard to just eat food? How can I set so many alarms and still snooze for an hour? That can’t be healthy. Why do I feel so tired and unmotivated? Maybe I should exercise more…
So, I’m escaping that overwhelming feeling of everything coming down on me at once. That “How does one person possibly balance this many things in their life?” feeling. On the road, I am sort of running away from my problems, but I drag them behind me and organize them as I go. I consider them one by one within the isolation of the driver’s seat.
By the end of my trip, wherever I might have chosen to go, I calmly strategize how I can best tackle my troubles. I have a renewed sense of purpose that drives me (no pun intended!) to adjust certain things in my life in order to maintain my morale.
A solo road trip is an opportunity to escape the monotony of everyday life. And it doesn’t have to be a road trip -- that is just the most effective and pleasurable method for me. I joke that I hate the environment, but really I just found something that works for me to get away from everything. A bike ride, a jog or a walk to a place you’ve never been before or haven’t been to in a while can provide that refreshing escape from the dark parts of your mind. Just as long as there is time for introspection and collection.