Kelly's brother Spencer got married this past Sunday, so Kel and I had the pleasure of road tripping up to our home state for a long weekend vacation. We rented a car (yes, that was us walking down the un-sidewalked I-35 feeder road to Hertz) and drove straight through Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri to Illinois. It took 22 hours on the way there, and 27 on the way back. Below is a list of things that made our trip so particularly enjoyable, we might actually do it again someday.
1. Rest up!
Vacations are periods of high activity and may require more focus than your daily routine. If all you want to do in the days leading up to your trip is lay in bed and play Candy Crush while watching Breaking Bad, trust your instincts. The better you are at not-doing, the better you are at doing. The more rested you are, the easier it will be for you to let the flow take care of all your preparatory errands for you.
2. Bring your own food.
The following meals keep well with minimal refrigeration for up to three days:
- Spicy noodles. One box whole wheat pasta (fiber!) tossed with 3 TB olive oil, hot sauce, diced onion, garlic salt, and black pepper. Store in single-portion-sized containers and bring forks!
- Cheese sandwiches. Once, we brought these treats to a lakeside picnic and when offered one, our friend reluctantly accepted. "I was expecting white bread and American cheese," he explained after tearing up the sandwich in two bites. He obviously didn't know who he was fucking with! Try some gouda or provolone on sourdough (or double fiber) English muffins and spice it up with brown mustard. Now you have a snack you'll look forward to devouring! We killed 8 of these before we hit the Illinois border.
- Vegan tacos. Cube 3 medium Idaho potatoes and season with olive oil, nutritional yeast, crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Bake in a covered glass dish for 45 minutes, stirring once halfway. Let mixture cool and stir in 1 can of drained black beans and one package of Soyrizo or Soy Taco. Fill flour tortillas with mixture and top with diced onions and hot sauce. Roll tacos up in some foil and pretend when you're eating them that they came from your favorite taqueria. Makes more than 20 tacos, so you might want to halve this one. To make these last longer, bring the filling and tortillas separately and roll up on the road.
3. Send a signal of abundance by keeping track of spending.
Right before we left, Kelly stumbled upon a great article about financial freedom. One of the author's main points was to get comfortable talking about money, instead of being afraid it. In the past, we would spend money willy-nilly and chalk it up to "being on vacation mode". This time, though, we kept track of every receipt and even balanced our books right when we got home! Our old method of not paying attention to expenses caused us to send a signal of confusion and maybe even guilt, but keeping tabs on things actually helped us feel confident. After adding everything up, it turned out we had more than enough to pay for everything! We never had to wonder or feel guilty for spending too much. Click the image below to see our exact expenses:
4. Tired? Take a nap at Walmart.
Cheaper than camping and a whole lot closer to running water and numerous breakfast options, staying overnight in a Walmart parking lot is an essential aspect of any respectable road trip. Chances are you'll probably be joined by some other campers as well.
5. Meditate while driving.
Putting aside 15 minutes every 200 miles or so to turn off the music and stop the conversation rejuvenates the mind and helps you feel energized. Sitting in a car for long hours without the distractions of every day life can lead to rampant over-thinking. Making time to quiet the noise ensures your mind won't wear you out.
6. Let go. Unpack right when you get home.
It used to take me weeks to unpack my bags (and camera cards) from a long trip, but now I make it a point to do it right when I get home. It always takes less time than I expect, and the weight lifted allows me to move on to the next phase of my life. Rather than be reminded for many days how much fun I had, I feel empowered to allow the next adventure.
What are your best road trip tips? Let us know in the School of Life Design group on Facebook.