Every couple of months, I hop in my car and get ready for the 4 hour, solitary drive to my home town, where I hang out with my parents for a couple of days (holidays, etc).
I mostly drive alone, because even when the boy comes with me, he needs his own vehicle. My mom and stepdad live in a fairly secluded place, and his parents live an hour away from them, so carpooling isn’t conducive to a successful trip. Especially since, when we go home, we usually want to go see friends or have errands to do, and we aren’t just hanging around our parents’ houses.
The first time I drove for four hours alone, I had a lot of fun just being by myself and getting lost in thought.
The second time lost some of its dazzle, and every subsequent time thereafter has been disenchanting. But then I decided to do things differently, so I wouldn’t be bored without somebody to talk to or somebody to take over the driving.
Here are my proposed tips on how to make driving alone a lot less lonely and boring:
I have always wanted to learn (more) French. I’ve thought it was a pretty language since I started learning it in elementary school, and would love to be fluent one day.
Learning a language can be one great way to make the time pass when driving by yourself. There are many audio books, auditory lessons, and other means of learning without reading. Mixed methods are important when learning a language, and hearing it (and practicing along) can be extremely helpful with nailing – or at least nailing some words. Time will fly by if you are invested in learning something while you are driving.
I also remember that in school, there were sometimes audio components to some books. If you want to learn something new, these are a great way to pass the time while on a lone road trip.
Podcasts can also help the time pass and teach you something new.
This makes time go by so fast, especially if you are a reader. I’m an avid reader, and I don’t typically like audio books if I’m able to read, but when I’m driving, it eliminates that as a possibility.
You can get free audio books sometimes as well. Particularly classics, you can usually download an app on your iPhone and hook it up to your car to listen in.
Make sure to pick a book that you are really interested in. If it’s a long drive, you don’t want to get bored.
I’m not a huge music person, but if you are, make sure that you have an iPod full of music that you like listening to before road-tripping alone.
My friend, when making long road trips, tends to take the opportunity to find new music and listen to new artists to gauge whether or not she likes them.
It’s fun sometimes to sing along to music while on a long road trip.
Laughing can really pass the time. I love playing comedy routines while taking long road trips because I forget how long the drive is and focus on what the comedian is saying.
I admittedly sometimes look a little crazy laughing to myself in my car as I pass other vehicles, but if you are looking for something to do on a road trip that doesn’t require you to think too much, comedy is the way to go.
There are many ways to find comedy. If you have satellite radio, there are several comedy channels, and you can flip back and forth between them. You can also usually download comedy skits from iTunes or even find them on Youtube if you have a smart phone.
If your road trip is within a service area, there are many apps you can download on a smart phone for comedy as well.
You can do all of these things if your road trip isn’t a lone one as well.
How do you make road trips more bearable?
For me, podcasts are the thing that keeps me sane. I like to listen to documentaries and one called “how stuff works” it’s a pretty funny podcast about all sorts of areas, debunking myths and historical events. I also like listening to the BBC news podcasts.
I can get lost in thoughts for hours. I always have snacks and water at hand, and take many breaks to stretch. Since I am more awake in the early morning I can start at 5am instead of a late start and arriving I night.
Great stuff! I have always wanted to try taking a road trip alone, not for work, but to spend some quiet time for myself in order to put my mind in better perspective. It’s really a good thing that you’ve included the different materials one can bring when going on a road trip because despite our need to spend some time alone, it can also get boring.
I’m surprised how much I’ve learned from listening to podcasts over the years, and there are so many good ones out there. I know someone who’s a truck driver who is often on the road for many hours at a time. He says he likes tuning into whatever local radio station is near by, or listen to a good audio book when he’s out in the middle of nowhere :0)
I have always been a big fan of audiobooks when on the road. They are interesting and keep me alert.
I love the learn something option! I used to have an hour and a half commute to work (each way,) and I mostly used the time for meditation and reflection. I view that as constructive, too, but you’re right…some days it definitely loses its luster. I wish I had used some of my bored-I’m-listening-to-the-radio time to learn another language!
I LOVE road trips! Love pretty much everything about leaving home, really.
That said, I hardly ever drive – and when we go out of town T does all the driving, so playing passenger isn’t all that demanding. I really just love watching out the window and singing along to music.