Road Trips. Have you ever wondered why people go on road trips, when we can easily book a fully planned holiday from one of the local travel agencies? Planning and booking a road trip is a downright hassle, but I promise that once you’re on the road, you’re not going to regret it. Trust me, I’ve just gotten back from my own road trip to the South Island of New Zealand last week, and now I’m already itching to go on another one. So, road trips: why do we do them? Here’s what I think, given my recent on-the-road Kiwi experience.
- We suffer from wanderlust.
Wanderlust – the innate desire to roam around and explore. We’re guessing you’re not alien to the feeling of wanting to just drop everything and leave. Frankly speaking, going on a road trip is the best way for you to satisfy your desire to travel! During my trip, I revelled in the bliss and excitement of being on untrodden ground. I savoured the new sights and unfamiliar sounds. I took in the scent of fresh, foreign air and felt the cool breeze rushing through my hair as our cosy minivan coasted down the Queenstown highway. The sense of calmness I felt was unlike any other. I believe the best part about road trips is that with absolutely no need to rush, we get to clear our thoughts and get to know ourselves a little better too.
- We love the thrill of navigating in a foreign land.
Visiting another country is exciting in itself, but when you’re going there with only a map and little clue on what to expect, then that’s when things really start to become exhilarating. Who knows what awaits you; who knows what interesting characters you will meet? I felt that the greatest thrill of my trip was getting to explore a whole new unknown place, all by my own efforts and planning, no less. No doubt, I spent countless nights glued to my MacBook, googling map routes, landmarks and the like. But the satisfaction I got from going on a trip that I’d organised for weeks was so. Darn. Worth. It.
There was a bit of a hiccup during the trip though; we got lost on my way from Christchurch to Kaikoura, where we were going to take a cruise boat out to sea. That moment when I thought we wouldn’t make it in time for whale-watching was horrifying. Thank goodness we had a Garmin GPS on hand and we managed to find our way with our nifty little device. I almost had a heart attack that day but hey, it was definitely thrilling to have a pseudo amazing race experience!
- We want to spend time with our friends and/or loved ones.
Road trips take going out with your loved ones to a whole new level. Amidst my boyfriend’s constant whining of “Are we theeeeeere yet?”, the best friend’s intermittent requests to visit the loo and my own embarrassing gassy outbreaks (oops), I developed a strange sense of family with my travel companions. Hanging out together nearly 24/7 in a small vehicle is bound to bond any group of people together! What’s more, it’s fun. All day long, we belted out corny love songs from our road trip playlist and even got to uncover some of my friends’ deepest darkest secrets too. 😉
- We see the world in a different light.
If your idea of travel is visiting all Seven Wonders of the World and snapping pictures at touristy spots, then my dear, you are indeed a misguided one. What I found was that going to conventional areas in New Zealand was not going to give me the full Kiwi experience. As we drove down the rocky roads near Lake Tekapo, we got a different view of NZ, but I believe no less beautiful than the skyline view from the famous Sky Tower that everyone keeps gushing over. Road trips are a slightly more unconventional way to travel, but I was rewarded with sights and memories different from everyone else’s. The pictures I took on my Nikon D5300 DSLR can definitely attest to this!
Self-captured shot from our minivan. Can you argue with that a sight like this?
- We want bragging rights!
Travelling by road is no easy feat… when you’ve been to an exotic place, surely you want to boast it to the world! As I narrated some of the adventures I’d been on to my colleagues (especially about my chocolate buffet experience at the local Cadbury chocolate factory), the look of admiration and jealousy on their faces was quite frankly, priceless. But okay, if you’re not the bragging type, it’ll be good to document your journey anyway. I brought along a travel diary with me, which was a lifesaver during particularly long hours on the road.
- Road trips are less about the destination, and more about the journey.
If you ask me to pick a highlight of my trip, I wouldn’t be able to ‘cause the entire trip – and not just the destination – was one big adventure in itself. I loved that there were no more boring, car-sick inducing coach trips with tour guides chattering away or trying to make jokes as cheap entertainment (ugh)… road trips are fun without you even trying. It doesn’t matter where you go, as long as the engine’s running!
Are you all hyped up to go on a road trip now? Make sure to bring snacks (very very important!!!) And of course, remember to book your travel vehicle as well. Have a good trip on the road, and be sure to share all about your big adventure when you’re back!
Michael and Gina Zullo says
Very good article, Sheryl. We agree on all 6 points you mention. You’re right on the mark. We also find planning your road trip – you don’t have to follow the regimentation schedule that travel agencies and companies set – like have your luggage outside the hotel door by 8:00 a.m. – breakfast at 8:30 a.m. – be on the bus at 9:15 a.m., etc. – so on and so forth. By the way we spent 3-weeks in New Zealand and a 12-day cruise. Beautiful nation and the Kiwi’s are tops.
Michael Gina Zullo