Lessons of a road trip


rado trip
Cars are dwarfed by the Redwood Forest


A recent and extremely long road trip provided some good lessons, also applicable to life.

These are all good hints if you’re driving, but equally as important in everyday life, professional and personal.

Start early, end early. We made the mistake of leaving late one day, and had to drive a treacherous road in the dark to get to our hotel booking. In life, get up early and tackle your tasks early. In particular, pick the worst or hardest task first, and get at it. You will feel so great when it’s done, and still have much of the day before you to do what you want.

Stop and enjoy the view. Don’t race through life too fast! We intentionally got off the Interstate highways so we could see the scenery. We stopped a lot at turnoffs so we could both enjoy the view. We packed food so we could stop and picnic at great locations like the ocean side in Oregon or the Redwood Forest in California. The same in life – every day may not be packed with new scenery, an exciting vacation or huge accomplishments, but enjoy those days anyway. The little things are what make up our life, and they are important too.

road trip
Stop to enjoy

Take notes. A trip diary is wonderful to have, to re-visit memories. But it is also great to take note of what was special, so you can come back to your favourite spots. In life, take the time to reflect what worked and what didn’t, so you can either replicate or avoid.

Pick what you want to see and do – you can’t do everything. We had a few things we really wanted to see, but had to choose to miss others. You can’t do everything. Pick what’s necessary and important, and make sure you get to them. Life is short!

Plan ahead, but allow for flexibility. We planned our route each morning, and had the luxury of choosing hotels as we arrived in a locale, because it was not busy season. It was great to have a plan, but it was also great to allow for flexibility and changes to the plan.

road trip
The Golden Gate bridge was on our to-see list

New is great, but so is old school.  It’s great to try new technology and tactics, but don’t forget the traditional, tried-and-true methods that you know work. I packed maps and a road atlas. I know the GPS is great, and there’s Google maps and iPhone technology, but they are not foolproof. We couldn’t use our cell phone in the US. Our GPS doesn’t work in Mexico. And several times the technology led us astray and got us lost. The handy maps got us out of trouble several times. Plus I like to see the entire trip, not just the little portion shown on a GPS, and the maps allowed me to always know where we were going. Sometimes old school is still best.

road trip
Know where you’re going

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