Escape the city on the open road

This story originally appeared on the Gents Cafe Newsletter. You can subscribe here.

There is something freeing about a road trip. One isn’t beholden to airport security checks, nor to train timetables or mouthy taxi drivers. One can stop for a beer, be enticed by an attention-grabbing billboard, even spend the night in the backseat with the windows rolled down. Yes, a road trip is the perfect means to a destination, if you do it right.

This is where I come in, Reader. I’ve been on enough road trips to know about the Do’s and Don’t’s, you see. Because even the most effortless Instagram photo took planning.

Let me help you.

First, look at a map. Yes, an old-fashioned atlas if you have it. I tend to think of it as palmistry, tracing the lines set before me, deciphering a future that’s yet to be uncovered. Running a finger over the scatterplot of hamlets helps visualize the journey far better than even the best GPS app out there. Then, when the anticipation of turning the key in the ignition is killing you, that’s when you select a destination. Then a back-up.

Then another back-up. You never know where you’ll miss an exit on the highway, so enjoy wherever you find yourself.

Then, you need to pack snacks. Lots of them. In an airport, one is at the mercy of $12 sandwiches and lukewarm bottled water. On a train, it’s a suspicious tuna salad and perhaps a lukewarm pinot grigio.

But not with a road trip, where luxury can be mobile if planned ahead of time. My suggestion is to pack what’s portable, filling, and a little indulgent. Some of the most memorable vacation meals haven’t been in a restaurant, but a few miles outside of town, wolfing down a sandwich on the hood of my car, washed down with gas station coffee.

But most importantly, bring good company. Someone you can sing off-key, be silly with, share memories with, take photos with. This, I fear, is often the hardest part of a road trip. Perhaps I’m a bit selective, but I don’t want to waste the potential of a good time with just anybody.

Originally posted as part of the Gents Cafe Newsletter, a bite-sized read about men’s lifestyle to enjoy over a coffee or a nice cocktail. Join now!