10 Unexpected Things I Learned on a Solo Cross Country Road Trip

– by @Amanda Charniak for NomadApp

Every city has the worst drivers.

Everybody thinks their own city has the worst drivers, but the truth is there’re terrible drivers everywhere. You have to be aware of how terrible they are, cause they’re probably not aware of you.

Strangers can be good.

But you also need to know when to trust your gut. And also have some pepper spray just in case.

There’s nothing wrong with sleeping in your car.

It also best to find which sleeping position is best before you’re waking up unable to move your legs.

Don’t plan too much.

I don’t mean just drive away with nowhere to go and nothing with you. But sometimes you’re going to want to stay longer in one place, and a lot less long in another. Don’t get tied down, it makes it less freeing and fun.

If you’re not scared, be worried.

Fear and anxiety are normal, a by-product of challenging yourself. It takes strength, courage and a bit of pride to be afraid and still do it anyways.

Things are going to go wrong.

Falling in a stream. Getting rained out every night in camp. No showers. It’s not always going to be good. Embrace it anyways.

Talk to people.

Everybody has something to say. Learn to listen. Take suggestions from everyone.

Sometimes your friends don’t stay your friends. Sometimes your friends become your family.

Leaving everything I’ve ever known helped make that clear. There’s nothing wrong with leaving toxic things behind. There’s nothing wrong with telling people you love them.

Be selfless.

Even on a trip that’s a bit selfish in nature, you can still make a great impression on someone else’s life.

Call your mom.

She misses you.

BONUS TIP: Expect a sense of away-sickness when you return from a long solo journey. It sucks but you’ll figure it out. Or keep traveling.

About Amanda

Born and raised in the suburbs around Dallas, TX, I never went very far from home. After years working in advertising, I realized I was unhappy but couldn’t quite put my finger on why. I decided to quit my job and head out to see what else I could find. I decided on travel, specifically traveling solo across the country, camping, hiking, depending on the kindness of other people and depending on my own skills and ability to adapt. I found what I was looking for in myself and others, places and especially traveling.