There’s something so freeing and exciting about taking to the road for hours on end, whether you have a destination in mind or not. Road trips bring out my sense of adventure because there is so much potential – new places to see, snacks, good conversations and pitstops at the most random places. I have done a variety of road trips, from driving up and down the east coast of Australia, to exploring parts of different states, some shorter trips and some longer ones. I have done road trips with my whole family, some with just some of my siblings and others with my friends.
Compared to a lot of people my family tend to be pretty hard-core road trippers. The last road trip I did with them was at the start of this year and we drove from the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland down south to the town of 1770, which is about a 16-hour drive. We had 5 grown adults squished into a 5-seater car, with 4 drivers in the group. We started out just before 6am and drove the whole day, only stopping briefly for food and rest stops, and we got to our destination between 10-11pm. It was a solid day of driving; however, it was a breeze compared to the drive back a week later.
The return trip was much more eventful with us getting lost in the first 30 minutes, followed by a flat tire an hour or two into the trip, and a stop to get the tire fixed. Things were smooth sailing for a while after this, although we were already slightly behind schedule. But then as we got further north, we were stopped due to flooding of the road ahead. We sat behind a long line of cars for a while before pulling over the side of the road and hopping out to wander around while we waited. My younger brother and I went exploring along a train line which was quite fun; we were able to walk out on it until it disappeared under water. We then hopped back in the car as traffic started to crawl forward slightly, although we were able to watch almost a full movie in the time that we waited to get past the flooded area and back to a regular speed. By this time, we were quite a few hours behind what we were expecting, but we pressed on, choosing to keep going for as long as possible.
Like I said earlier, we are pretty hard-core road trippers and there have been multiple times where we have been faced with a decision over the years of whether we pull over for the night to sleep or find somewhere to stay, or whether we press on to try and get to our initial end destination, and every time that I can remember we have chosen to press on. In this particular instance we chose to keep going, grateful for the fact that we had 4 drivers and reminding each other to stop as soon as we started getting tired and take a nap in the back while someone else took over. We reached home around 3am the following morning, over 20 hours from when we left the Airbnb.
Although this particular road trip was quite different to what we were expecting, I generally enjoy the freedom that comes with a road trip, to pull over whenever you choose. When I was with my family in Western Australia, we were driving up to see family north of Perth and we saw some big sand dunes close to the road so we decided to pull over and go have a look. I love the spontaneity that comes from seeing something interesting or unique and being able to pull over at the last minute and check it out. And although at the end of a road trip I often get to the end destination tired (and probably slightly dirty and smelly!) and ready to get out of the car, it never takes long before I am ready for the next road trip – dreaming about the possibilities of who I can convince to come with me and where we can go.