My brother-in-law is a car guy. You know, he reads magazines about cars, fixes up cars, goes to car shows, owns a pretty 2010 Camaro, wants to drive in rallies, and so on. After being with him for over ten years, my sister is now a car girl (though her preferred car is a Corvette, which she does not own).
I am not a car girl, not in that sense. I only understand what goes on under the hood enough to know how to check my oil and replace windshield wiper fluid. The thought of going to a car show makes me yawn. This is not to say that I don’t appreciate a finely made automobile when I see one, in pretty colors and shapes, or that I don’t feel a difference driving a Honda Civic vs. riding around in the new Camaro (no way is my B-I-L going to let me drive that car).
In another sense, however, I am totally a car girl. Driving is my favorite way to travel — yes, driving, not riding. It doesn’t matter to me that I can’t while away the hours with a trashy novel or watch a movie on my laptop. It doesn’t matter that driving takes longer than airplanes or trains. Just give me a good stereo and an open road and I’m content for hours upon hours.
Why is this? Clearly, there are benefits to air travel or train travel — or hell, even bus travel, I suppose — that driving doesn’t have. On planes and trains and buses, you can do other things while en route to your destination. You don’t have responsibility for the navigation, or the timing.
And maybe that’s the problem.
Driving is control. Sure, you get stuck in traffic sometimes, but when you drive, you plot your own route, see what you want to see, move when you want to move and stop when you want to stop. Flying down an open highway, feeling the distance slide by underneath you, is power.
There’s nothing more compatible with solo travel than driving. The best parts of solo travel is the exhilaration of freedom, of independence. Doing what you want to do, on your own schedule, at your own whim. Meeting your own desires, and standing on your own two feet to do it. Driving just enhances that experience, adds another layer and makes the travel part of solo travel on your terms too.
So next time you decide you’re itching for a trip, get in your car and go. There’s nothing like it.