Surviving Long Car Trips…Alone

April 30th, 2013 by

I remember working one summer in Utah as a carpenter. Feeling adventuress and wanting to have a means of transportation while I was there, I decided to make the cross-country trek in my old minivan. My girlfriend at the time agreed to make the road trip with me and would fly back home once we reached our destination.

Traveling together was great. We shared insights about the surrounding scenery and the people we met, listened to music together, and read out loud while the other person was driving. There’s really no better way to get closer to someone than to travel with them.

On the way home, though, I only had myself to keep me company. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was to not think to hard when doing a repetitive task like driving. It will make you go crazy. It becomes very difficult to think of nothing when there’s nothing to distract you in the great wastes of the southwest.

Turn on the Stereo

Luckily, I had my iPod with me. Though my van was much too old to have any kind of Bluetooth, USB, or auxiliary hook-up wired into the system, I did have a tape deck; these days many new Honda vehicles available at Middletown Honda like the 2013 Honda Civic do come with Bluetooth connectivity. A nifty adapter allowed me to feed a cassette into the deck and then hook the attached cable into my iPod jack. It worked pretty great, actually, and it made the loneliness a little less crushing.

Well, until I reached Wyoming. At about 5 a.m. on a dusty stretch of nothingness, my radio began to make a low humming noise. I am typically a pretty tolerant driver, able to easily shrug of extraneous annoyances and enjoy the ride. By that leg in the trip, though, I had been nourished on nothing but Red Bull and Cheetos, so the incessant buzz quickly became unbearable.

Driving down that lonesome highway at over 70 mph, I began to punch my radio in a sleep deprived rage. It worked for Fonz and the Jukebox, right? One final, solid whack killed the sound, as well as the whole radio. The realization of what I had done was so heavy that I had to pull over. I had lost my headphones, so there was no way of listening to my music. I would have to make the rest of the trip in silence.

Tips for Enertaining Yourself

If you’re ever in a similar dilemma, here are a few tips on how I kept sane:

  • Hold your own karaoke session. Who’s going to hear?
  • Make plenty of stops and walk around.
  • Play a counting game with yourself where you count blue cars, semis, rocks, etc.
  • Avoid thinking on heavy topics like the meaning of existence, morality, and finances.