Spring and nice weather call for festivals, adventures, and most importantly, road trips. Road trip adventures can be some of the most memorable experiences to share with friends, whether it’s a couple hour-drive to a nearby town or one that crosses state lines, but it can also be on of the greatest things you can do on your own.
I’ve visited Arizona, San Luis Obispo, Palm Spring, San Diego, Las Vegas and Bradley, CA with friends and they were each exceptional experiences full of laughs and picture perfect moments. I strengthened my bonds with the people I embarked the road with and had the opportunity to befriend those I had not known before. On the other hand, I’ve conquered a few “mini road trips” on my own when driving out to see friends in the central coast, and what I gained from going alone and sharing that time with myself is irreplaceable. This is why I advise that people not only go on road trips with friends but also by themselves. I’ll break down the difference between the two and why you should do both.
Singing in the car alone is one hell of a karaoke session, but who doesn’t love a partner in crime to passionately sing bohemian rhapsody with? Singing to music on the road with friends has been some of my personal favorite thing about going on road trips with friends. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cheesy tune on the radio or a handpicked favorite of the group, either way we are jamming out with all we got, and that’s how it should be. It’s also nice to have many people to switch off the aux cord because you get a variety of music to listen to outside of what you have had on repeat for the past two weeks. It doesn’t even matter if you and your friends are not gifted and sound like a couple of seals making loud mating calls because there’s no shame in the road trip sing along game. Also, there’s always that one friend that brings their go pro or camera to tape these glorious moments that you’ll be thankful for later. By the way, I’m assuming that you and your friends have similar music taste, or else you might have to sit tight and cringe through a few genres and songs. Hopefully that won’t be the case.
Nobody ever gets excited to stop at a gas station in the middle of nowhere, but somehow pit stops are not so much of a drag anymore but opportunities to create more memories. Friends have a way of making pumping gas, getting coffee and stopping on the side of the freeway to take a selfie with the “Arizona” sign exciting. These otherwise “dull” activities become unified memories that cannot be replaced. It’s nice to have a group to share the little moments with, because these “little moments” today become the big ones tomorrow. These pee breaks are fun until there’s that one person in the car who has to use the bathroom every other minute and stopping returns to becoming a drag. Again, we can only hope this is not the case.
The laughs and conversations I’ve shared on the road are some of the best ones I’ve had, and group road trips allow you to get to know your friends on a deeper level. You’d be surprised how much you can learn about a person in a four-hour time span. Let’s just say, “shit gets real” on the road and you get to understand your friends better, and learn to appreciate them that much more. Other times, you may learn that they are not compatible road trip buddies, but acts as a learning experience nonetheless. If you embark your journey with the right people there will never be a dull moment of conversation, and it never hurts to play some fun “would you rather” games to get some laughs and insight about the choices your friends would make. Nonetheless, there’s a time and place for everything and with the right group it’s obvious when it’s time to shut it and take a nap or just enjoy the music in silence. Hopefully that one blabber-mouth won’t ruin your nap time.
Even when somebody cuts the cheese in the car and you all frantically have to open the windows, you’re getting closer. If you end up falling asleep and now everyone knows you snore, you’re getting closer. When your friend gets the aux cord and plays music you didn’t know they listened to, you’re getting closer. The little quirks you notice about everyone allows you to know your friends better and brings you closer. And if you are not sick of anyone by the time you arrive at your destination, you know that they’re keepers. Ultimately, road trips with friends are a great way to create deeper bonds with some goofy memories.
Alone & Empowered:
To not rely on anybody but yourself and know that you have your back is a great feeling. Independence is necessary in life and one way to experience it is to go out on an adventure alone. The feeling of holding your own, directing yourself and knowing you can take on the road by yourself gives you a sense of accomplishment that cannot be described. The freedom you feel cracking down the windows while you play your favorite song loudly without worrying about whether or not it’s the “right vibe” for the people in the car is refreshing. Be careful not to speed though because there are cops on the side of the road and you might just cry the rest of your journey if you get a ticket for going 87 miles and feeling so free that you forget the law. Nonetheless, just cruise control that baby and you’re smooth sailing.
Being alone allows you to spend time with yourself and on the road you are learning more about who you are and who you have become. Driving has a way of putting a person in “reflection” mode and you get insight about yourself if you pay attention to what crosses your mind on the road. It’s also a great way to get your mind off of things bothering you because you are able to address and cruise past it in solitude. Playing some good tunes in the background passing through unfamiliar lands also may make you feel like you’re in a dramatic movie or music video and that’s pretty neat too.
One of the best things about going on the road by yourself is that there is nobody you have to make stops for except yourself. Nobody ever synchronizes their bladder and it can get frustrating stopping every hour or so because someone has to use the bathroom. If you want to put your balder through hell and drive to your destination with no stops, you can because you have the power to. If you want to wander the road and spontaneously detour to the beach or go to the strawberry field on the side and buy some fruits, you can too because you are the only person you have to answer to. It’s a beautiful thing to have control over your own journey and making it whatever you want it to be. You make your own schedule, and you can follow through with it or wander off and do pretty much anything you want because this is your adventure and yours only. It’s necessary to do things off schedule in order to reboot and add a bit of adventure in your life.
One of my favorite days in my life has been when I was my way back from San Luis Obispo and stopped at an unknown beach and decided to take a dip in the ocean. I read on the beach for however long I pleased because I had no schedule except the one I created for myself. There’s a unique satisfaction and happiness gained from exploring on your own and spending time with yourself. The more time you spend with yourself, the better you understand who you are. Spending time with yourself is an enriching investment that you can then offer to those around you as well. In this fast pace world we sometimes forget to stop and give ourselves the time of day we deserve. The moments you create by yourself for yourself are enriching and solo road trips are a great way to do this.
Road trips are a blast either with friends or on your own. Each experience is a unique one and one that every person should have, especially while they’re young. Although you get to share the laughs with friends when you’re in a group, there is a unique satisfaction in sharing the experience on your own. Take the road less traveled and learn about yourself and learn about the people you surround yourself with when you go on the road. These are your days, so fill them up with moments that will be treasured tomorrow. And keep in mind that a road trip by yourself does not necessarily mean an 8 hour drive or a week long trip, but you can start small and build yourself up from there. When you go on adventures alone, you are able to build self-confidence in your capabilities to maneuver yourself and hold your own in any location. It’s a great stepping stone if you one day plan to study abroad or travel alone. Road trips with friends are common and fun, but I advise to take on the journey alone too.