Roadtrip essentials

It's 6:00am, the streets are quiet and the sky is just starting to wake up. The car is heating up upfront and coffee is brewing as the luggages are being dragged sluggishly down the steps along with my equally sluggish body. IT'S ROADTRIP TIME!!! We pack the suitcases in the back and stuff the rest of the car with blankets, books, water bottles and snacks. My dad inevitably runs through a list of items I tend to forget to avoid making a trip back. At this point, I usually run out of the car and up the stairs to grab my sunglasses or retainer or any sort of item that you usually don’t realize you forgot until you need it. During our usual back and forth routine, patience starts to fade and my dad is debating if he should leave without me (because 1. it’s too early to be this frustrated and 2. He hasn't had enough caffeine to deal with my shenanigans). My equally frustrated Ma is standing in the doorway waiting for us to reverse out of the driveway already so she can go back to bed. Only half an hour past our departure time and we are finally off!!! For me this means listening to Indie music till I fall back asleep and later declare that I’m hungry.

I’ve been taking frustrating yet wonderful trips with my dad for about 3 years now. His job requires him to travel from time to time across the country and I tag along for fun. This started a couple years back when I was home for the weekend from my out-of-town job and desperate to do something, literally anything with my family. So I accompanied my dad to his meeting in Ottawa and now we go together a few times a year, every year. Not only have I fallen head-over-heels in love with our beautiful capital, but being enclosed in a car with my dad for 6 hours is pretty interesting (for lack of a better word)... Our most recent trip was to Cedar Rapids, Iowa which is approximately 13 hours away (including breaks) followed by a stop in Michigan then back home to Canada! Some people may not consider these distances as long road trips but believe when I say I almost always reach a point where I start wondering why the heck I even came along?? Whether you travel well or get anxious and carsick as soon as you hit the highway, here are my quick tips to do before, during and after a road trip to feel your best after your mini getaway...

The Before

This is a list of things I do before to make sure I have a smooth trip...

  1. Clean my room

  2. Assign responsibility (to water my plants)

  3. Deal with things and run errands (bills, deadlines, work schedule)

  4. Notify people that you will be absent, just incase they’re looking for you

  5. Pack snacks and lunches for the road (if you have allergies, intolerances or dietary restrictions it really helps to do your own little grocery shopping and travel with your staple foods just in case)

  1. Pack ibuprofen and anti-nausea pills (if you’re anything like me)

  2. Bring cash for convenience (and reload your Starbucks card for points)

  3. Make a list of things that you tend to forget to pack

  4. Make a driving schedule including break times

  5. Make a schedule of where you have to be and when (while in the city)

  6. Call ahead of time to double check your stay

  7. Meditate and pray about this opportunity and the experience to come

  8. Make sure your fave road trip playlists are downloaded (even if its mostly Echosmith and Grouplove)

  9. Pack per day (picture what you’re going to wear and what your going to need)

  10. Pack a suitcase to put in the trunk and a carry-on to keep beside you incase you need anything important (passport, lip balm, earphones etc.)

  11. Pack things to keep you busy (Soduku, a journal, a book)

  12. Pack for comfort- pack extra sweaters, socks, a baseball cap or a tuque

  13. Dress comfortably- this also includes but is not limited to travelling in pyjamas

  14. Get a hair cut

  15. Familiarity is key- yes I do get homesick in a matter of days but I find that it helps to keep my daily routine intact as much as I can and my fave item close to feel at home (such as lavender essential oil for sleep, headspace app, a fluffy blanket etc.)

  16. Pack running shoes for a quick workout and a swimsuit just incase there's time

  17. Bring your own reusable water bottle, coffee mug and takeaway container for convenience and the environment

The Good Part

So we just hit the road, here’s what I like to do...

  1. Stretch for 5 mins at stops and 15 mins when at your destination to feel your best

  1. Let the music play

  2. Put the windows down

  3. Journal about expectations or just how you're feeling at the moment

  4. Take anti-nausea medication

  5. Take a few naps

  6. Take pictures of everything

  7. Call my mom (duhh)

  8. Make sure you charge your phone, camera and such

  9. Make sure to not pack essentials out of reach

  10. Be a patient passenger

  11. Be honest about when you need a break

  12. Kill a few chapters of that book

  1. Make a list of places you would like to travel to in the world

  1. Sip water but don’t over do it

  2. Ask randoms questions and listen, like actually listen to the response

  3. Watch the sky change colours with time

  1. Stand in awe of how big the world is

  2. Count how many animal farms you see

  3. Wear a sleeping mask

  4. Take it easy-ish on the veggies burgers

Easing back in

Welcome back home, its time to get back to business...

  1. Give thanks for an amazing and safe experience and for the people and food along the way

  1. Unpack right away to avoid procrasinating

  2. Clean out the car

  3. Chat and catch up with loved ones (don't dive into work or news yet)

  4. Go for walk around the neighbourhood to settle in the present

  5. Rest

  6. Meditate for 20 mins

  7. Do a cleanse- I personally like to fast after long hours on the road and eating junk food just to clean out my system. You could also just have lighter meals especially if you still feel the symptoms of car sickness. Again, I like to take it easy for a day or two but it’s all about listening to your own unique body.

  1. Drink all the water you possible can (I swear travelling sucks the hydration right out of you somehow)

  2. Do a yoga session to wake your body up

  3. Eat REAL food- like the kind that’s not all covered in grease

  4. Moisturize like it’s no one’s business

  5. Do your nails

  6. Shower mindfully while washing your hair and shaving away

  7. Journal (preferably on your way back)

  8. Take a luxurious bath and listen to an audiobook

  1. Put on a face mask and drink tea or wine or a juice box

  2. Slowly ease back into your regular schedule and demands (giving your body time to rejuvenate)

  1. Tidy up your space and do laundry

  2. Plan the week in advance

  3. Get a massage or give yourself a massage

So that was a very quick run-through of what I do before, during and after a long trip to feel motivated, present and rejuvenated. As you can see I try to channel the whole eat, pray, love experience for the sake of enjoying myself and feeling brand new. Comfort, a cleanish diet, productivity and familiarity keep me going when travelling for hours and being oh so far away from home. I love love love to journal before and after in hopes of letting go of some stuff along the way to better enjoy my trip and life. Road trips are inevitably not just a physical relocation for me, but also cause a positive shift mentally as well as spiritually. Even though I take the liberty of napping on the road, I find it crucial to be present and mindful throughout the trip. Whilst stopping for food, talking, looking outside, seeing people you haven't seen in awhile or counting the hours till you arrive, be fully present to experience that. Travelling is magical and travelling with someone you love is a million times better. I hope you have or will one day have the opportunity to experience travel and love all at once. I wish you all a good rest of your summer vacation!!!

To driving all day and night,

Drive safely loves xo

“The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving.”

― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Excerpts from my journal…

Travelling is simply an expensive way to remind you that there’s no place like home...

Vacation is a state of mind that not many have mastered...

If these next few days are a complete awkward disaster or the complete opposite, these are still moments that I'm blessed to experience...

The outcome is always dependent on me,

If I have a good time,

a memorable time,

or even the most wonderful time; driving,learning, loving, drinking, laughing

it's all dependent on me...

I swear we can make any destination worthwhile when we're together...

You're the real trip,

there's nothing let getting lost in the highways and bi-ways of your mind...

If I were to experience this with a million people or by myself, I can assertively say that I can do either with joy, pride and confidence...

High of the trip: leaving home and meeting people

Low of the trip: leaving home and missing people