It’s said that travel broadens the mind, but being the master of your destination by taking a road trip is an old fashioned but very liberating way to travel.
There are no worries about how much luggage you are allowed to take, or what it weighs, or having to get up at the crack of dawn to get to the airport 3 hours before your gate closes. You’re working to your own timetable and asides from dodging the rush hour in the morning and evening, you can set your wheels in motion and follow the sunset or sunrise as the notion takes you.
Just pack the essential supplies and maybe a tent, grab a traditional paper map, plot your course and aim yourself towards the open road and you are, in the words of the inimitable ‘hoboesque’ hero, Willie Nelson, On The Road Again.
Release the pressure valve
There’s a distinct feeling of the pressure lifting on life when you set off on a road trip. It almost harks back to that primeval urge to light a campfire on the beach and stare out into the ocean and starry night sky wondering from whence those shells and grains of sand may have come. It gives you a feeling of having a place in the world and empowers you to discover and see your world from a new perspective.
A road trip is not a road trip though without a stash of road trip music, whether that be some classic wheel burning hits like “Born to Be Wild” or a few country classics from the Eagles “Hotel California” or “Take It Easy”, throw in a few Glen Campbell classics and you’re good to go.
A road trip, ultimate way to let go of stress and worry
Being behind the wheel is the ultimate way to control your own destiny, bang your own drum and chart your own course. Just make sure you’ve packed a spare wheel and you’ve filled up the tank so your wheels keep rolling.
Even the act of driving requires us to use a certain part of our brain to coordinate our hands and eyes, allowing us to focus our minds on just that, driving. Meanwhile frivolous thoughts of where to go, what we’ll see on our journey and where we’ll lay our head become secondary. Somewhere at the bottom of the list too, are any worries and problems we had before we set off for our road trip.
Somehow, putting miles on the clock puts things in perspective and provides an opportunity to escape from the rattle and hum of everyday trifles. Indeed, the very rattle and hum of an engine, the open road and a focus on yonder horizon can clear the head like no other tonic. It’s like a release valve which subconsciously gives you the advice your parents once did, some days, all we gotta do is just breath. Road trips and the road stretching out before us, allow just that, breathing space.
The world’s your oyster
Every continent has a plethora of routes that will take your breath away. As a European, the roads closest to my heart lie on the Old Continent. Some of my favourites include scenic Irish roads. You’ll never tire of the scenery, and never get bored with driving, there’s too many bends and blind corners, around which you never really know what you’ll find. You can drive as slow or fast as you like, just be sure to keep it between the hedges…at all times!
An open road and the passing milestones speak of great opportunities to see new things, people and places. No matter how mammoth or miniscule, a road trip allows us if even for a few days or hours to fall down that rabbit hole in a wonderland and end up somewhere totally new and quirky. It’s that feeling of getting out a globe, spinning it, shutting our eyes and placing a pin in the map, we could, literally, end up absolutely anywhere. The world is literally our oyster.
Coast to coast
Choosing an island as your road trip destination is a great idea as it gives you the opportunity to drive coast to coast east, west, north or south in a matter of hours. Moreover, we’ve got the opportunity to quite likely see four seasons in one day and any amount of topography and geographical formations from mountains to cliffs, valleys to hills, from coast to city. There really is something for everyone. Just make sure you bring a pair of sturdy walking boots and a good camera so you can climb that mountain and capture those all-important sunrises or sunsets.
Four seasons in one day
Also make sure you pack a range of clothing from raincoat to t-shirt and a pair of sunnies, so you can take advantage of everything the weather throws at you, from soft rains, mists, fogs and blazing hot sunny days. You’ll learn to roll with the punches and discover that a stunning landscape and changeable weather really are just metaphors for life, and that almost every rain cloud has a silver lining and at the end of the rainbow lies a pot of gold.
The long and winding road
So, whether you’re looking for winding roads among hedgerows,endless fields, mountain ranges or those breathtaking vistas along the coast, you’ll surely feel alive while road tripping around nature. You can choose between hotels, b&bs, campsites and beauty spots where you can lay your head, and rest.
One thing is sure, by the time you find that ubiquitous pub along the road, and get drawn in with the waft of a real turf fire and the magical sound of a fiddle drifting on the night air from the local pub’s latest session musicians, you’ll know for sure you’ve reached your destination. What is more, you’ll have found yourself and your raison d’etre.
Better still, when it’s time to leave, you’ll be left feeling refreshed, clear headed and not only ready to return to your former life with a new perspective on it, but also ready to book a return road trip for a whole new adventure. So, what are you waiting for? Why not stick that pin on the map and get those wheels rolling and engine revving. You’ll be glad you did.