How To Road Trip Like Kerouac

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Life is full of incredible things and mesmerizing wonders, but few of them beat the good old American road trip. After all, there is a reason why Jack Kerouac wrote On The Road, why Bob Dylan sang Dirty Road Blue’s, and why Dennis Hopper made the film Easy Rider; road trips are incredible. Just you and you closest hitting the open road, picking a point on the map and fleeing, whether it’s to get to the destination or just enjoy the journey. There are a million reasons why people take this Rite of Passage and a million different road trips to enjoy.

However, while spontaneity is a privilege that should not be wasted, there are few little tweaks and adjustments you can make to ensure your road trip is the greatest of all time, up there with the best of them, the kind of story that gets turned into folk legend. What’s more, most of it is done in the approach.

Make A Loose Plan

Unless you won the lottery, got a publisher to pay you an advance or found a way to monetise your blog, chances are your road trip has a time limit attached. As such, it is a good idea to have some sort of plan. It doesn’t have to be rigid (in fact, we would urge you not to have a rigid plan), but it needs to detail your destination, when you hope to get there by and where you plan to stay along the way. As a pretty good rule of thumb, try not to do any more than eight hours of driving a day. This will allow you to enjoy the driving for what it is, and find new adventures every step of the way, whether it is a city hostel or a desert campsite. A loose plan removes the stress without deducting from the fun or the mischief.

Get the Right Vehicle

It could be that you have a car that you want to take. However, it could be that you want to do this monster drive in something new to you, which could mean that you are a sucker for cliches and want to do the whole thing in a drop top Mustang, or it could mean you watched too much Breaking Bad and want to head on out in a beige RV. Whatever it is, make sure it is somewhat practical for the road trip you have decided to endure. If you have your mind set on a vehicle but are worried about your credit rating, then why not read here before you sacrifice your dream set of wheels for a beat up old Volvo you’ve seen on a forecourt for $150 bucks. Whatever you choose, though, make sure it is either going to add to the comfort, the adventure or the story.

Don’t Do Any Research

Okay, that’s not strictly wise advice. What we mean is, research your route and how far you will get on eight hours driving a day, but don’t research the actual places you are planning on staying. One of the worst things about the internet and social media is that everywhere in the world can be explored without ever going there, and that ruin a certain element of surprise and wonder. But it isn’t just about quashing your amazement. It is also about managing your expectations too because nothing quite crushes a person as much as having high hopes of a rest stop only to find out it isn’t quite the luxury you thought. Basically, no expectations mean no let downs. It will also let you discover the little things that make this world so incredible. Bee-lining for a tourist hotspot can often mean missing out on the unknown, and that isn’t what road trips are about.

No Sat Navs

Yes, Sat Navs are oh so useful and oh so accurate, but they are also oh so boring. Do you think Kerouac had a GPS system to help him navigate? Hell no he didn’t. So don’t take one. Just take a paper map, a permanent marker and go old school. Trust us, this will make your whole journey that much more fun, that much funnier and that much more memorable. Use the pen to trace out the route you have taken and to track progress, and to remind you of how incredibly lost you got when you look back on it a few years from now. What better way is there to cheer you up when you get home from another dull day at work than to see this map hanging above the sofa in your living room with a polaroid photo of you and your closest enjoy the open road.

Packing The Car

One rule, pack light. Yeah, pack really light. Wear the same tee shirt for three days running. Shorts, why would you need more than one pair? Shoes too. The reason for this is so that you have more room to collect totally bizarre items that will serve as a reminder of that time you went on a road trip. Such as the Moose’s head from when you headed north, and that weird wood carved toadstool you got from that roadside store when passing through Joshua Tree. The emptier your trunk and glove compartments the more useless reminders you can cram in. Simple.

Music Is Important

We’re not talking about the radio or your iPod or a Spotify playlist. No. We are talking about a CD that will go into the CD player. A CD that has a maximum of 19 songs on it, songs that you can listen to over and over and over for 10 days straight and still sing along to, dance to and smile about. This is how road trips used to be done and it would be a shame to do it any other way. So let them play all through the day, cherish them for being the soundtrack to your life and smile every time they come on the radio from that day forward.