As a kid my family took many roadtrips. We drove from Ohio to Georgia to see my paternal grandmother. And we drove west to Chicago to see my mom’s sister and family. My parents practiced a military like rigidity to roadtrips. We left at dawn, bathroom stops were limited and food was consumed in the car. When we arrived at our destination I usually lept out of the car like an early released prisoner. I believe this why my grandmother’s spaghetti and meatballs are so vividly etched into my memory because it was the first meal upon arrival.
This is also why I avoided roadtrips in my early 20’s. It wasn’t until I met my husband that I considered a roadtrip. When we took our first roadtrip together we drove Pacific Coast Highway to Monterey. I went because my husband agreed we could stop to eat and make as many bathroom stops as was merited. This made me feel free even within the confines of the car. And I understood the appeal of the roadtrip.
Roadtrips allow me to feel the space between two locations. Air travel often gives me a false sense of distance. I never know what is passing beneath me and since I know planes travel extremely fast, I assume the flight has taken me far far away from when I began.
Roadtrips also allow me to see more of my surroundings including buildings made to look like giant candles and beautiful trees.
Lastly, a roadtrip can be so intimate. Whether I am with just my husband or some friends, it’s just what is going on inside the car as you speed down the road. I feel so close to the people in the car. And in turn I have conversations that I might never have outside it. On airplanes despite all the technology the jet engines seem to muffle conversation. Everyone sit in their self contained headphone world as we hurtle through the sky. There is no discussion of stopping at The Waffle House or favorite books on an airplane.
I’m not about to become a vagabond traveling the coutry via VW van. Nor will I trade in my frequent flyer miles for a rental car but there are times when a long ride to a nearby state seems like the perfect way to travel.