I‘m the type that wants to go everywhere and do everything. So when I sat down to plan my cross country road trip, my mind went crazy with possibility. I wanted to go to California and drive the Pacific Coast Highway. I imagined myself spending the afternoon on the beach, staring out at the ocean like I was in a movie. I also wanted to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and spend the afternoon in Asheville eating the best vegan food ever. Truth is I had a lot of ideas.
When I visited my local AAA office for guidance, a representative told me, more or less, that I was crazy, rushing across the country like some travel fiend. She told me to slow down, plan out what I wanted to see or else I wasn’t going to see anything. So I got a lot of books. I fell in love with Arkansas and Kansas, states I used to mock saying, “Oh gosh, who wants to go to Kansas?!” Turns out I do because there is a lot of cool stuff in Kansas like a Wizard of Oz museum and the only original Pony Express station left in the country. I discovered this country is filled with underground rivers, onyx caves, hidden hot springs and preserved praire land. The Heartland won me over. Big time.
How I Planned My Road Trip Route
I hung up a map, got out my page flags and started marking places where I had friends to visit. I flagged ski towns like Aspen and Breckenridge in Colorado. I became obsessed with Eureka Springs, AK. And then there is the Grand Canyon and Arches National Park and the desert. Everything felt so within my reach.
Next I took my pencil and crossed out areas I didn’t want to visit: New England (live there), California (deserves its own trip), the Southeast (lived there). After my map was sufficiently marked, I stood and I stared at the map on my wall for a long time. And I came to the hard realization that I couldn’t see and do everything that I wanted to see and do. Not in a month.
My husband suggested that I start looking at this as Road Trip Part One to take the pressure off. I remembered that when wandering, there is no need to rush. If I’m too worried about heading off to the next thing, I might forget to look around and actually see what’s around me.