Anyone can have a road trip but how do you get a road trip adventure?
Don‘t make a plan. Adventure by definition cannot be planned. So look out for the signs. Take detours. Follow you whims. Be open to changing your views as well as your general direction. When you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, scratching your heads, saying “there’s no way we’re getting through that”, that’s the starting point for your future campfire stories.
Forget GPS and bring an actual map. And a Sharpie. It is infinitely more fun to track your way on a real printed map. You learn to navigate, discover that most everything happens in the folds, and get to draw your path as well as some impressions and notes. You‘ll end up creating the best souvenir to hang on your wall, infused with all the experiences and feelings you had on the way.
Don‘t make reservations in advance. You will find yourself in the most beautiful places watching the sunset over the canyon, but no guys, let’s get moving, we have to be in our perfectly decent B&B in two hours? Nonsense! Sleep under the stars as much as you can. Or look for odd places. They might not feel perfectly decent, but you don‘t go on the road to be comfortable. And you might just stumble upon a version of „Bates motel“. If so – film your own horror movie.
The one thing to plan ahead – music. Make road trip playlists, or better yet, burn CDs. Listen to them in full, all day every day. They will become mementos so much stronger than pictures. Months or even years later, when one of them comes on the radio while you‘re standing in line at the grocery store, you will be instantly completely transported.
Pack light and leave room to collect. You’re going to find an authentic Apache rug, a slightly less authentic headdress, come across handcrafted traditional Sami boots or reindeer‘s shed antlers. Leave all that behind because your leather travel bags are packed tight with GAP sweaters?..
And most important - be social! Experiencing a place has as much to do with people as with sightseeing. The locals you‘ll meet hold the secret to the best food, most interesting places, a pop-up rave party and all the secret little gems that you will not find in any „Lonely Planet“ book. So practice making friends and small talk before leaving:
Level 1 – talk to store assistants. Try to go beyond the topic of the store supply
Level 2 – chat up people waiting in line with you, the next seat passenger on the bus.
Level 3 – join in. A game of Frisbee or a sing-along with the street musicians.
Once you‘ve grown your courage and learned how easy it is to connect with random people around you, you will truly be adventure ready.