Road trips have been a part of my life since I was little. I can remember riding around town with my grandfather who’d point out all the buildings and houses he built. I grew up with my mom taking us on little trips around the area to show us where our family members used to live, where she used to live, went to school, etc. Those were always short trips, but they were enough to get us out of the house. They gave me a strong feeling of belonging, of history.
The road trips didn’t stop with my childhood though. Once my younger brother was older, we’d take jaunts out to the old forts, or plantations, or just anywhere the road would take us. When I got my license, I continued taking trips all over the area seeing where roads led, finding my way around until I knew shortcuts to get to my college. Bonus!
With hurricane season approaching and the chances of evacuating higher, it’s always good to know the back roads. Have you ever been stuck on the interstate during an evacuation? It sucks. What’s normally an hour and a half trip turned into a four+ hour drive. Knowing how to manuever your way north without resorting to the interstate is a big plus when it comes to hurricane season.
But it isn’t all practicality. Sometimes road trips are just pretty. Coming home from the Silken Sands Conference in Pensacola, we didn’t take the interstate. We came home via back roads and saw such pretty country, we vowed to return and explore the area better. That’s what road trips are about, seeing things that you normally wouldn’t see if you have a planned trip.
Now that I write, I need to see more landscapes for my books. I call it research and that’s totally deductible, isn’t it? So there’s a higher purpose to hitting the road without having a destination in mind. I’m looking for places to put my stories. Over the weekend, I found several and I can’t wait to get writing.
So my advice? As much as the gas prices suck, leave the GPS behind and get on the road. Explore your area, see the beauty in the world around you instead of getting caught up in schedules and monotonous interstate travel. It doesn’t have to end up like a scene out of National Lampoon’s Family Vacation.