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Kate Kearney searched: Would you create some alphabet instructions for an amazing roadtrip?
Let’s get started:
Announce your intentions to take a massively awesome trip. For each acquaintance who is aware that you are going, it becomes one order of magnitude harder to back out of your plans. You can explain yourself to your friends. Your acquaintances will be waiting to live vicariously through you, and it gets awkward when you disappoint them.
Bring friends. Whether you’ll be driving far enough each day to want to take turns driving or not, you do want the company. You do not want to be so desperate for human interaction that you become one of those people who strikes up a conversation in the gas station restroom.
Find new places. It’s comforting that you can run across a Subway or a Holiday Inn all across the country, but you did not leave home to have a foot-long roast beef with cucumber, lettuce, and tomato in all fifty states. Try the Blue Plate Diner. Try the El Trovatore Motel.
Have a first aid kit, an umbrella, and a flashlight on hand. You might get blisters from walking around Los Angeles longer than expected, it might pour down rain in Indianapolis, and… it gets dark every night.
If your car does not have a functioning air conditioning system, do not stay up all night in Las Vegas before deciding to drive straight through to Los Angeles without sleep. There is not enough ice cream in the world to get you through Death Valley.
Judgement-free zone in the car. Your friend really wants to see the National Bicycle Museum? Cool. It’s been a dream of yours to eat at an IHOP in every state? Awesome. Neither of you have showered for four days? Uh… Okay.
Law of the land is decided by the King of the Road. That’s you. I highly suggest putting in a mandate for renaming every highway as you reach it (numbers are boring), or taking your picture with every humanoid statue you find (posing as if the statue has just said something shocking, of course).
Maybe your car will function perfectly the entire time you’re on the road. Maybe someone will loosen a couple of lug nuts for you in Independence, and by the time you reach Kansas City, you’ll be about to lose a wheel. Just remember to breathe…
Pull over to take a good long look at the mountains. Or the desert. Or the river. Or the stars. Whatever it is that you don’t have at home. Get out of the car and take a breath. Do something more than look at the strangeness.
Sleeping in the car is almost never a good plan. However, when the plans fly out the window like that plastic bag you didn’t realize was loose when you opened the window going 75 mph outside Amarillo, it is sometimes the best option. And you should do it at least once.
Time is an amorphous concept on the road. Hours stretch. Highways go on forever. Before you start out, be okay with the fact that you will arrive some places after dark, and that you will cease to understand the days of the week after about two days on the road.
Xenia is not a word that most people know, but it seems relevant. Xenia is the Ancient Greek concept of guest-friendship, of strangers becoming friends – or at least people who you won’t stab at the dinner table – as soon as they step into your home. It’s also the concept of a stranger not stealing his host’s dog, car, or wife after dinner. And if you broke these unspoken rules, Zeus, the king of the gods, would step on you. Just keep that in mind.
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