When you are traveling long distances alone, you really get to experience indecisiveness at its best. There is no one else around to bounce ideas off of, no one else to help decide when and where to stop for lunch, or when it’s time to call it quits for the evening. No one to help decide which CD to pop in next, or which audiobook. All that being said, it is really not as lonely as one might think either. You have to be more self-reliant, more decisive, and more aware of everything around you.
I would say I miss out on having someone to laugh with the most. Sure, I can laugh alone and at myself, but it just isn’t the same. When I began my trek out to Vermont I had some distinct moments where I wish I’d had someone to laugh at my stupidity with. For starters, I had never rented a car before this trip. I ended up getting a free upgrade for a super sweet dark blue Nissan Altima. Everything was going great until I got on the freeway, and realized something was wrong. My car was not shifting- 5000 rpms was just a liiiittle off. I exited early and discovered that my rental was one of those fancy dual manual/automatics, and I had some how put it into manual, gear 1. Relieved, I drove home (in automatic), to pack the car up and head out on the road, laughing at myself. To be fair, I have a 2000 Ford Taurus, all this new technology is a little beyond me.
The second moment of hilarity came when I put too much trust in my GPS. I was on the Indiana toll road, heading to Ohio for the night, when the GPS instructed me to get off the interstate and onto some small state highway. I was extremely skeptical, but thought maybe it was some shortcut. When I crossed over into Michigan I realized something was not right. I looked at the next direction from the GPS (her name is Jillian), and she was telling me to drive two miles, make a U-turn, and get back onto the interstate I had just exited from. You got me Jillian, nice one. I cursed Jillian, laughed for about ten minutes, shook my head and plodded onwards. Fool me once, shame on you. Fortunately I was not fooled twice and dodged another U-turn bullet later on.
The most nerve-wrecking part of the drive occurred on Saturday, as I drove through severe weather– torrential rain, 70mph winds, low visibility, potential for developing tornadoes (though there were none, thank god). I am usually one to love storms, but enduring this experience alone was frightening. I had nowhere to go, was driving on a fairly deserted interstate, and the only thing to do was to keep driving. If nothing else, it gave me an intense adrenaline rush that helped keep me awake and alert for the rest of the drive. I thought about how interesting it was being alone in such a situation versus being a counselor of kids in severe weather. In the latter situation, you are looked up to for strength, calmness, and reassurance. When you have no one to protect but yourself, it changes your reaction to the situation in a huge way. When I finally arrived at a hotel and hunkered in for the night, I could not have been happier to have a roof over my head. The hotel itself is an entirely different story…