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  1. Default Solo Road Trip Questions

    I am 20 year old male and I plan on taking about a week, maybe longer or shorter, solo road trip from Rhode Island to Pennsylvania,to about South Carolina, and then back. I will be driving everyday for about 3 or 4 hours. I've taken road trips with my family but the closest I've gone to going alone was with my friend and brother but that was just a two day trip (Penn. and back). I am doing this for the experience and have been wanting to do this for a while. I like to read books like Into the Wild and On the Road so these types of things really amuse me.
    Some concerns I have:
    1. The physiological part:I know it can get lonely on the road for a while and I have admittedly have had problems with depression and a little anxiety in the past but never too serious. I tend to just over think things (ex. I'm a hypochondriac). I know driving for a long time can make you over think and I've heard that's what scares people from doing solo road trips. Would this trip be bad for that or would it help and be good for me to be a lone for a while? Or how could I get through that when if I do get lonely?
    2. Secondly, I plan on driving about 3 or 4 hours a day. I did this fine the last trip but since I'm alone should I drive less or could I maybe do more each day? I know its based on how tired I get but I'm trying to estimate so I can plan my trip. I want to climb mountains on the way and really look around at stuff since I'm going through a lot of natural parks.
    3. Any suggestions on what to see for whoever has traveled on the east coast? I like hiking and doing outdoors activities. Since I'm going through Tennessee I definitely want to see Nashville and want to go as far as Charleston SC. I've been there once and loved it. I'm going through Gettysburg and camping there because I am a huge history buff.

    Any other suggestions would be great. I admit I'm nervous but REALLY EXCITED. I think things like this are really fun and want to do them as much as possible. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default The people you meet along the way.

    Hi, and Welcome to the The Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    Nervous excitement is a great assett when approaching any new activity. The trick is to make those butterflies fly in formation, not to scare them away. Sounds like you have done some background work and preparation, with previous trips and your reading.

    One way to deal with getting lonely - and at times you will - is to plan on staying in campgrounds and hostels. Places where you have other people around you with whom you can share the day's events.

    Planning on limiting your driving and alternating the day's activities with some hiking etc., also has the possibilities of meeting like minded souls. Get some cheap trinkets/souvenirs from your home area to share with folk you meet along the way. It makes a lasting impression.

    Going solo can be lifechanging. Have a great trip.

    Lifey

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default If you feel ready.

    This might be a little out of our depth as only you know how you feel about it, but the fact you are excited can only be a good thing !! Driving for 3-4 hours a day should be very comfortable when you consider you could break it up into 3 or 4 sections during the day. Having locations that you could reach within that 3 to 4 hours, would mean that if the fancy takes you, you can wander a little between and take a detour or two along the way. If you like where you are, you can stay till after lunch. Some things are best left to spontaneity but having your destination for the night might add a little security.

    I love the occasional opportunity to get in the car for a few hours on my own and take a walk. I find that it relaxes me and I actually start to see things clearer and simpler than when I started. There is nothing more peaceful than 'inner' peace and if you can be comfortable in your own skin, well you are in good company ! To be honest I find it stimulating and the things around me keep me and my thoughts from turning to loneliness, it is a state of mind. As Lifey mentioned above, when you need a little company, you will always find some with a polite hello and a smile.

    You will find Lot's of road tripping advice in the tool bars above like this article for the solo traveller.

    If you feel ready for it, then I would say go for it ! Not only do you make new discoveries, you learn more about yourself. You can always log on and share your trip with us and ask questions as you go.

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician
    One way to deal with getting lonely - and at times you will - is to plan on staying in campgrounds and hostels. Places where you have other people around you with whom you can share the day's events.
    I definitly plan on staying at campgrounds. To be honest though I don't really know what hostels are. What I read it sounds like a cabin that would be near the summit of a mountain. Are they cheaper than campgrounds (not that campgrounds aren't cheap enough) and would you recommend one?
    Last edited by Mass Tim; 04-02-2012 at 03:58 PM.

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave
    I love the occasional opportunity to get in the car for a few hours on my own and take a walk. I find that it relaxes me and I actually start to see things clearer and simpler than when I started. There is nothing more peaceful than 'inner' peace and if you can be comfortable in your own skin, well you are in good company ! To be honest I find it stimulating and the things around me keep me and my thoughts from turning to loneliness, it is a state of mind. As Lifey mentioned above, when you need a little company, you will always find some with a polite hello and a smile.
    I definitly plan on getting out a lot and looking at national or local parks, hikes, rivers, battle sights, or whatever else interests me. I feel like there's so much to see I'll definitly find things that interest me. My first stop is to hike the hudson highlands (Breakneck path). I guess it's a great view of the Hudson.
    Last edited by Mass Tim; 04-02-2012 at 03:58 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Keeping pace

    I find solo trips to be relaxing in that I've only got my own concerns to deal with. It can get lonely, but that's more by choice than anything. It's possible to spend entire days without communicating with anyone, but that's really up to you.

    Whenever I get nervous about driving in different areas of the country, I just remember that the place I am in is somebody else's home so it can't be all that bad. Thoughts like - "All these folks are commuting home from work, just like at home."

    Virginia is loaded with Civil War sites, whether your on the I-95 or I-81 corridor - and everywhere in between.

  7. Default Necessary Stops?

    Mass Tim,
    Any recommend stops in Virginia, it sounds like your pretty familiar with it?

    Or does anybody else have any recommended stops along the east coast that are a must see?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kkp23 View Post
    I definitly plan on staying at campgrounds. To be honest though I don't really know what hostels are. What I read it sounds like a cabin that would be near the summit of a mountain. Are they cheaper than campgrounds (not that campgrounds aren't cheap enough) and would you recommend one?
    The best description of a hostel is a place for single travelers to stay where you pay by the person. Some of the hostels are set up like barracks, yet a few seem to have a room with a few beds in it that people can share. The bathrooms are all shared. From what I understand, you want to bring your own lock for your stuff in the locker.


    Donna

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57
    The best description of a hostel is a place for single travelers to stay where you pay by the person. Some of the hostels are set up like barracks, yet a few seem to have a room with a few beds in it that people can share. The bathrooms are all shared. From what I understand, you want to bring your own lock for your stuff in the locker.
    Thanks, There's one in Gettysburg I plan on staying at. I guess it's really nice. It doesn't really matter to me the quality of the place I stay as long as it's cheap.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 04-02-2012 at 05:18 PM. Reason: Fixed quote syntax

  10. #10

    Default

    hello kkp23!

    i myself am taking a solo road trip (in August) and it will be my very first one, so a lot of what you're experiencing is what i am experiencing. we're around the same age (i'm 24) and what makes me most interested in road trips is how it seems to alter some people - change them and how they grow when they go on a solo road trip. i'm so eager for the experience, the feelings, the emotions and excitement of being hundreds and then thousands of miles away from anyone or anywhere i know.

    i'm very much a pessimist and trying to change that and look at things in a "different light" so i'm hoping that the road trip will in some way change that and give me a new perspective. hell, my boss and people at work firmly believe i should bring a shotgun with me in case of "trouble" haha, yet that's not even a thought in my mind.

    of course, you do have to prepare for issues and of course not everyone on the road is a smiling friend so the old saying, "plan for the best, expect the worst" (or something like that) holds true.

    the best thing for you is that you can really do whatever you want with your drive times. 3-4 hours a day driving will be NOTHING for you. and it will give you plenty of time to get out, hike and sight see. i hope you enjoy it!

    i personally am not making any reservations or anything for my trip (10 days to Oregon from Wisconsin) so in case something catches my eye or i get sidetracked in another state i can enjoy it and not worry about reaching "destinations". i feel i will better enjoy the trip and relax that way, but it may be different for you.

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