Outdoors & Environment

The Freedom of a Solo Road Trip

by Rebecca McCusker March 29, 2019
ReadThe Freedom of a Solo Road Trip Photo by Will Truettner

With the jingle of my first pair of car keys, I fell in love with the delicious aloneness of a solo road trip. There’s something magical about the sound of music blaring through the speakers with the windows down, the feel of the open road, and the freedom that comes with quietly getting back in touch with yourself through leaving the familiar behind.

When I was 17, I bought my first car with cash I’d saved up through working at the local music store. It was a cheerful red 1991 Honda Civic Hatchback I bought off a young artist in Philadelphia. I cleaned the french fries from under the front seats, slapped on some bumper stickers of my favorite rock bands, and drove that thing around town with the abandon of an over-confident 17 year old.

A new freedom

As I’ve grown, and as my responsibilities have increased, I’ve realized that the solo road trip not only holds the promise of exciting horizons but acts as a much-needed “reset” button in this busy life. It, in many ways, is a privilege not everyone can afford. It makes it all the more delicious to consider where we are in this life and how lucky we are to experience the exhilaration of the open road, the peace of solitude, and the ability to choose the destination, or whether to have one at all.

Sometimes, the solo road trip is a way to escape. It’s helped me escape the grind of daily work and study, the slow suffocation of apartment life, and the constant hamster wheel of the calendar. It’s helped me clear my head for my creative life’s work. It helps us escape—momentarily—the daily roles we play, the chores that weigh us down.

But perhaps the most enjoyable part of a solo road trip? Aimless drifting. No one tells you where to stop or where to not stop. You can happily peruse tourist traps, stop at roadside attractions, walk through a small town you’ve never heard of before. You can blare your favorite music, no matter how cheesy. You can open the windows. Feel the wind on your face. Inhale deeply and enjoy the feeling of forward motion and sunlight on your arms.

At the end of the day (or at the end of the trip, for that matter), the finest part of a solo road trip? The end. The realization that what you’re escaping is worth coming back to. Being alone in the world offers a chance to return to what makes life worth living. When I return home to my husband, to my Australian Shepherds Dolly and Samuel, to my orange fluff-ball cat sunning herself by the window, and to my piano and guitar, I am reminded of the finest things in life: the joy of love, connection, and home.

Our shop is stocked with a variety of goods you need for your travels!

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