Sunday, February 4, 2018

Planning the Next Road Trip

It seems that I'm never happier than when I'm planning a trip, particularly a road trip.  I have a wealth of resources that allow me to explore where to go, and what to see and do, from the Roadtrippers website, to Google Maps.  I can plug in the name of a city and begin exploring the sites.  And the wanderlust takes over.  It sure doesn't take much to get my blood pumping with the excitement of a trip.

I found myself doing this very thing yesterday morning.  I began looking at places my daughter and I might go for our annual summer vacation.  And while many of the places we've already seen and want to visit again pop up, there are always new things to do.  There are National Parks to see, and roller coasters to ride, and those always seem to be the first things that I focus on.

I always have about ten to twelve trips in the works.  They're just basic outlines of trips, with destinations that have something in common, usually because of their locations.  That's what's fun about the planning aspect.  The sky's the limit, really.

I started doing this type of planning almost twenty-five years ago.  I took my first big road trip in 1995, a trip that took me to Atlantic Canada.  It was, for me, an eye-opening experience, and I learned so much in that solo adventure, not just about how to travel, but how I travel.  There were specific sites that I had planned to see, but having a sense of "looseness" with that planning allows for more chances to make changes as you go, to check out things that maybe you didn't expect to see or find.

An example of this was during my first cross-country trip, in 1995.  I had received a guidebook for Route 66, and I planned to follow the route across the southwest, all the way to the west coast.  I made a detour to Las Vegas, and that opened up the possibly of altering my plans.  Instead of continuing west, I instead began heading back east, through Colorado, which was my original plan, but instead of continuing due west through Kansas, I veered north into Wyoming, then to the Black Hills of South Dakota.  This change in my route caused an almost life-changing experience, as my eyes were opened to the beauty and excitement to be found in that region of the country.  From Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore to the Badlands and Wall Drug, these sites and more became a magnet to me, and I have returned several times because of this sense of adventure and belonging that I felt from that first trip.  I loved it, and I'm so thankful that I decided to alter my trip.

When my wife and I began taking these kinds of trips, she let me determine the general route for our destinations, but she was in charge of finding things to see and do at these destinations, and this worked brilliantly.  We each used our strengths and interests to determine how we planned these trips.  And we created some wonderful memories.  My daughter and I have continued these types of trips, and because she gets to vote on the things we see and do, she is invested in the trip, which is absolutely important when traveling with a teenager.  Of course, if she didn't like to travel in the first place, this wouldn't work.  But I'm thankful that she does.

So I will continue with my planning, which satisfies to some degree that sense of wanderlust that hits me so often, and we can be excited about what's to come.

Have a Super Sunday, everyone.  Go Eagles!

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