Shotgun — The Best Seat of a Road Trip
“So, since you don’t drive, here.”
Dumped on my lap is a laptop, two mobile phones, a paper map and a bunch of cables.
“From now on, you’re in-charge of recording our journey, clicking pictures, playing music, making notes, and naturally, navigating.”
“All of this? Together? How?”
From that moment, I never took my duty as a shotgun rider lightly. It’s true, I don’t drive. That doesn’t make my enjoyment of the drive any less. Contrary to popular belief, the shotgun passenger enjoys the drive as much as the driver, sometimes more.
Think about it, the driver has to concentrate on the road, control the car and has to think about all the other passengers as well. One instant of mind wandering can lead to disastrous consequences. That is some responsibility.
As a co-passenger, I do keep an eye on the road, but more often than not, that eye wanders: it spots the odd formation of clouds, a funny road sign, the fort roosting on the mountain ahead, the must-stop-at chai stall, basically everything else. It also manages to keep an eye on Google Maps, find spots where clicking pictures is a must and update the route map accordingly.
Does doing all this take away from my enjoyment of the journey? Of course not. The word I would choose is “enhance”. I get to be a part of every phase of the journey, have a hand in the planning, and in the execution without being able to drive! It’s a win-win situation, really.
It’s not for everyone though. Some would say driving is responsibility enough for them. That’s when you explain to them that every driver requires a good (actually, exceptional!) co-passenger to ensure that the road trip is memorable.
If you ask me how the first trip turned out, I would tell you that I mixed up the right and left turn a couple of times, got motion sickness on the ghats, took chances playing music that both of us liked, clicked some blurry and some great pictures and managed to catalogue the entire journey. I would also tell you that it still remains one of the most memorable road trips I’ve been on.