For me, actually quite a lot.
As Ian and my parents live in one city, my sister lives in another, and I live in another, I travel in different directions most weekends. Ergo, I take a lot of solo road trips. Ian and I are taking our first real road trip in March — we are driving from Richmond, VA, to Miami, FL. I know. But in the meantime, I wrack up a lot of lone-driver highway miles. I’m not one to get drowsy as the only driver because I entertain myself in various ways.
Probably first and foremost, I karaoke like there’s no tomorrow. I’ve been Miley Cyrus’s backup singer, Maroon 5’s opening act, Taylor Swift’s duet partner, Linkin Park’s screamo sidekick, and Luke Bryan’s inspiration. In my dreams. But seriously, I have no problem belting out tunes all the way down 460. Sometimes I draw the line at stoplights, when I know the elderly people in the sedan next to me can hear the profane lyrics I’m crankin’, or when a cop pulls up next to me and kills my buzz. There’s no time like 4 hours on the highway each weekend to improve my technique and allow me to experiment between alto and soprano 😉
I work on my mental to-do lists. Mondays are usually busier days for me because they’re the start of the academic week, and because I have class at 4:30 as opposed to 7:00. I “pencil in” assignments and appointments, and I “cross off” work that’s been completed or messages that have been sent. I assess what I need to do for the week, and I lay out a tentative work schedule for each day. I plan when I’ll grocery shop, and which workouts might fit nicely into the week’s agenda. I’m telling you — you’ve never met anyone as type-A.
I do a lot of soul-searching and honest thinking with myself. I’ve decided on some of the most critical turning-points of my life while behind the wheel of my little Hyundai. There’s nothing but the road stretched out in front of me, the wind (i.e. the fan on “wind tunnel,” as my mom calls it) in my hair, and the soft beat of the radio to interfere. I believe that living holistically means taking care of my mind just as much (if not more so) as I care for my body.
I try to sincerely take in my surroundings. One of my favorite roads in Virginia is a 20-mile stretch in the middle of nowhere. You can see the mountains from the road, and the leaves always seem to change color there first. There aren’t many houses or businesses along the road. It almost feels like I’m driving along someone’s private driveway, through nature, on the brink of civilization. I always lose cell reception, and sometimes the radio cuts in and out. For that 20-minute portion of my drive, I’m almost completely alone. And in some introverted way, I relish it.
Given the option between road-tripping with people I love versus driving alone for more than an hour, I’ll take friends or family every time. But ya know, solo road trips really aren’t so bad, if you choose to appreciate the little things 🙂