Remember when you were a kid and went on those fun family road trips? Remember when you were in college and would say anything to convince your parents to let you go on those road trips, the memories of which will be cherished for a lifetime? Remember now when all of that is lost in a maze of cheap flight tickets, deadlines and restrictions of time?
The childhood summer vacation road trips with family, the coming of age graduation road trip with your homies, the romantic road trip with the love of your life; now that’s a list for another post. This one’s about why you should ignore the “Summer Special: Rs.2000 off on air tickets” banner blinking somewhere in one of your tabs right now. This one’s about why you should just throw your bags into the boot and vroom off into the horizon.
1. Unrivalled bonding time
Whoever you’re taking the trip with, the quality of time that you’ll spend together is unparalleled. Irrespective of the destination, time spent in the car is invaluable. There’s only so long that small talk can last, and conversations in the car are usually those meaningful life-changing “what is the purpose of my life?” or “how could she pick that faggot over me?” type questions.
Now this one could also backfire. Choose wisely who you want to spend this time with. You don’t want to be stuck in the confines of an automobile with foul body odour, the princess who won’t eat without salad and wine or the worst of ‘em all, the jackass who won’t shut up.
2. The Christopher Columbus Syndrome
Imagine what Christopher Columbus felt when he set off on that epic voyage with no destination and no GPS. Well, road tripping is a tad bit different, one mostly has a destination in mind and most probably has GPS as well. But, you have the freedom to stop when you see something or someone interesting, have a cup of chai with the locals, take a detour to that pristine lake and jump in for an impromptu swim, run shirtless (or with shirt) through the mustard fields and profess your love to the skies, sigh! The possibilities are endless.
It might not exactly be uncharted territory, in fact, it could even be a road you’ve travelled many times, but the experiences is still incomparable, inconsistent, distinctly different. The objective is not to discover the Americas, but to pursue the experience.
3. Make Shitloads of Money
This is really simple. Just one mandatory requirement: Your trip has to be EPIC. You can either record the whole thing and sell it to a travel channel for insane amounts of money, blog about it and make insane amounts of money or write a book about it and make insane amounts of money. Sell the copyrights to Hollywood and make some more money. I told you it was simple!
4. Make a Kickass Playlist
Road trippin with my two favourite allies
Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies
It’s time to leave this town, It’s time to steal away
Let’s go get lost anywhere in the U.S.A.
Or just turn on the radio! It’s just incredible how a random song written by a random person and sung by another random person can hold so many memories. There will invariably be one song that will remind you of the trip every time you hear it, maybe even after 20 years. Check out our favourites!
5. You can bring your Pet Snake
or your dog or cat or worm without having to pay extra or go through a pile of red tape and paper work. One of the most popular travel books of all time is John Steinback’s travelogue ‘Travels with Charley: In Search of America’; documenting his travels throughout the United States in a specially made camper with his French standard poodle, Charley.
6. Experience Local Culture
There’s nothing better than a road trip to fully immerse yourself in culture. Especially in India, where cultural nuances change with every 100kms. New dialects, new customs, a subtle difference in the drape of a sari and the cuisine, you can track the flavor differences every step of the way. Spend time with the folks at local tea stalls and bakeries along the way; it’s a whole other world out there.
The Highway Dhabas serve up some of the tastiest fare you’ll ever eat. Just try and pick one that is clean and hygienic lest you suffer the wrath of Montezuma.
7. An excuse to Stay Offline
I don’t know about elsewhere, but in India, there is usually no cell phone or internet connectivity available in between towns and cities and in the smaller villages that you’re bound to cross. Unless you’re a Facebook or Twitter junkie, this is a good thing. You can always put up the pictures later.
You can ignore the e-mails from your boss marked ‘urgent’ and your phone will not be constantly beeping informing of you about your ex’s wedding dates or how “oh so cute” Pooja’s parrot looks.
8. Looks super fun in the Movies
Into the wild, Thelma & Louise, Dumb & Dumber, Sideways, Due Date, Wild Hogs, The Motorcycle Diaries (although bike trips are a whole other deal) and our very own Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Dil Chahta Hai.
Don’t you just want to abandon everything and drive off already?
Check out imdb’s list of 100 best travel movies here.
9. In the Gaming Zone
I’m not referring to Subway Surf or Temple Run here. Neither am I referring to games on a portable Gameboy, PSP or iPad. 20 questions, the memory game, I Spy, the storytelling game, License Plate Decoder or just make up your own game.
10. Your way is the Highway!
You have absolute control of your trip. Nobody dictates anything. You leave anytime you want to, you stop anytime you want, you can scream at the top of your lungs for no rhyme or reason, you can pee into the wind….
We’d love to hear about your favourite road trips and why you love ‘em so! Sound off in the comments section.