Road Trip Essentials

The most summer thing to do.

It may be quite late into the summer but it’s not too late to get in one last hurrah and plan a road trip for the fun of it! I’ll be going on one this coming weekend and thought it would be a great idea to outline all the essentials to keep this bon voyage from becoming a chorus of heavenly “are we there yet???”

roadtrip - destination

The first thing you’re going to want to decide on is where you’re going. The road trip could just be driving aimlessly but then there’s no real purpose. Some ideas are:

  • A place where a lot of your family lives
  • A city where a friend you haven’t seen in a while lives
  • Somewhere you’ve never been before and know no one and are just going for the adventure
  • A place from your childhood

Anywhere you’ve been itching to go in order to see the sights or catch up on life stories is doable as long as there are roads between it and you.

roadtrip - transportation

I may be blowing my cover as Captain Obvious here but it needs to be said. Not only does there need to be a human that can drive a car in the party of people going, there also needs to be a car that
a) will survive a trip of your desired length and
b) can comfortably seat everyone.
It will be no fun sitting on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck for a couple hours and neither will a blast be had if you have to be in the middle seat scrunched between two other people. Think of these things beforehand and you’ll be thanking yourself by the end.

roadtrip - company

In the previous paragraphs, I’ve been directing this post towards one person – you. But it doesn’t have to be like that at all. Even though solitude is nice sometimes, to just drive without anyone around you either in the car or on the roads, the friends are what make a road trip memorable. Make sure you get along with anyone in the car because if there’s something between you guys, it’ll most likely be amplified in the tiny space of a moving vehicle. Best friends are great candidates because willingly spending this much time with them isn’t a chore, unlike family road trips sometimes end up being.

You’ll have plenty of time to talk, invent silly car games and just be around each other so if you don’t know your travel-mates’ life stories at the beginning of this journey, you just might by the end.

roadtrip - music

This deserves capital letters because most people have strong opinions on the music they want to listen to. And since there’ll be a lot of time to fill during any road trip, the songs are going to need to happen! It’s best to know what common ground everyone coming along has in terms of music taste, including everyone’s vetos. Of course, everyone should be willing to be flexible in order for everyone to be happy and I really don’t think you can go wrong with Disney!

Some people like creating playlists that have the theme of summer or vacation or road trips to set the mood so if anyone in the car has a knack for that, get them to go right ahead and you’ll feel 10x more legit.

roadtrip - snacks

Humans need to eat in order to live. [citation needed] Whatever your food situation may be, be it quick runs to the Timmies* every time you stop from gas, an entire picnic meal/dinner or easy access snack items, it’s important to have some on hand so that everyone stays comfortable and happy. Water is also an important thing to pack, although in this scenario you have to think of when you’ll be able to let it out.

*non-Canadians can calm their confusion, I’m just talking about Tim Horton’s, our equivalent of your coffee and donut shops.

roadtrip - entertainment

We’ve talked about music which is a large portion of car ride entertainment but there’s plenty of other things to do. As I child, I was the queen of making up something to keep my sister and I occupied in the back seat. I’m not sure how many I got from other places and how many I got from my brain but I will share them all willingly here.

The Alphabet Game – Very straightforward, you’re competing against or working together with everyone in the car in order to find all the letters of the alphabet in order on anything you see outside of the car. (stores, licence plates, road signs, etc) One of my rules is that you may only take one letter from a common location before you move on

The Rainbow Car Game – Same deal, look outside your window and find a car that is each colour of the rainbow in order (red, orange, yellow, green blue, purple). Orange and yellow and quite rare and you may find yourself stuck on those for a while

Car Count – This is a straight up competition. You each pick a colour of car and count every time you see one of that colour. Whoever gets the most wins! Heads up, silver and red are quite common.

Animal Name Game – this game definitely was invented by me. It involves looking for animals outside and then giving them a name. That is all. Good for going through the countryside and seeing cow after horse after llama. I’ve given a flock of birds names, they get quite silly at this point.

Bingo/Scavenger Hunt – If someone wants to put in the necessary effort of thinking up things you could potentially see on a road trip, they should definitely do so because that could be a lot of fun!

roadtrip - plan

Overall, you just really need to plan this kind of thing out. I know in the movies and books, they just jump in the car with their sunglasses and romantic tension and off they go but really it’s important to have a very good idea of certain things like

  • what route you’ll take
  • where you’ll stop and how often
  • where you’re going to sleep
  • who brings what
  • how long it’ll take

Everyone should also be aware of the plan so that it’s not up to one person to stress all about it. If you’ve got locations in mind in advance, there’s much less of a chance of something going wrong and therefore a higher chance of everyone having a great time!

A Few Final Things…

You should keep in mind the distance as well because sometimes a road trip can be too long and cars can start feeling like a sardine can – smell and all. The longer the trip, the higher the cost with food and gas and places to sleep so although it feels very freeing to just go, it won’t do to use up all your funds on this expedition.

And that is all of my knowledge about road trips, please put it to good use and tell me about any road trips you’ll go on in the future or have gone on and loved. It’s good to enjoy the summer while you can because school is just around the corner (small gasp)

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Oddly Specific Questions

I want to know everything.

And that includes everything about a certain person. Doesn’t matter if you’re one of my besties or the friend of a friend that I’ve been left alone with until the mutual friend comes back and we’re just standing there awkwardly. I will always be interested in what you have to say about a vast amount of topics.

I satisfy this curiosity by having random questions on hand to spark these conversations. Some regulars include “What is your favourite tree?” and  “What is your ideal ugly sweater design?” and also “What store would you live in for a week?”.

I like when people really put thought into their answers and make it a personal thing instead of just giving me a look and shrugging some easy answer. It’s my way of getting to know who the person is through what kinds of things they think about. Like for the tree one, I legitimately have a top 3 so you know I like nature and lists for starters. Also people that clarify the questions even further gives me even more insight to who they are and how they think. For example, with my last question, someone who thinks more logically than impulsively might ask if they can bring anything while they’re living there or if it’s some weird type of camping where you have to survive off what’s there already.

It’s a really great way to simultaneously break the ice for what they’re getting into when being my friend/acquaintance since weird is my bread and butter while also fast tracking the learning about each other phase. I can find out what you’re doing in university later, let’s talk about which one you think is more gross: worms, snakes or spiders.

I know my answers and what it probably says about me and I’m always ready to give them if my conversational partner decides to bounce it back to me. (In this scenario: 1) Aspen, Willow, Birch, 2) Yellow, orange and purple with hot dogs and teabags and a pretentious quote and 3) IKEA)

If we get all psychoanalyze-y here, I’m pretty fairly certain that the reason my questions are so specific, as in they can usually be answer in one word or sentence, is because that’s the kind of question I like answer. The open ended ones are too broad and I never know what to say and I assume the other person doesn’t really care anyway so what’s the point. When I’m given specific questions, then I know exactly what is being asked of me and I know they want that information. It’s a win-win!

Also would you rather have a conversation about flying squirrels versus regular squirrels or about what you’re thinking of doing with your life once you graduate.

Food Day

If you hang out with me and my best friend for max 3 days, you will at some point hear us discussing “Food Day”.

This was a tradition we made up last semester where once a week we each take turns picking a restaurant or food-selling location to go to and treat ourselves.

parks-and-rec-treat-yo-self

We’re engineering students, right, so our schedules are completely packed not to mention all the work and studying that needs to get done. Also we’re pretty conservative with our money and normally pack a lunch/supper so that we don’t have to buy food on campus. But at the beginning of each semester we sit down with our class schedules (which are pretty much identical luckily) and pick a time period where this outing will happen!

It’s a really great motivator because it isn’t something that happens at all except for that day and you get to look forward to it and use it as a reason to get things done. Like “if I don’t finish my lab in time I won’t be able to go to food day”

Also, during it we end up having actual girl talk conversations which really isn’t a normal occurrence. Normally we’re discussing which of our classes has the most heating vents or giggling about how we always race to get out of a certain door first but in this food experience boys actually get talked about and it’s weird but nice.

Our friends think we’re massive nerds because we count down to it and plan it way to much for what it is.

But who cares, it makes our week amazing and food and friendship is amazing.

Alone In A Crowd

Does anyone else feel like that?

A couple days ago, I was packing for camp and now, because time is chronological and things make sense, I am currently at camp. It is one of my favourite places on earth and I’ve been coming for the past 13 years so it’s basically a second home for me.

But, again another thing you may have gleaned from me is that I am a very shy and introverted person. Doesn’t mean I don’t like hanging out with my friends and acquaintances, it just means that I can’t do it for a long time and that every interaction is extremely stressful and nerve-wracking for me. I internalize most of it and just am super aware of all the things and still have a good time but yeah.

The thing is, since everyone is friends with everyone, a lot of mixing it up and moving around happens. I kind of feel like the only one that cares about this but I hate it when people jump around from group to group and have quick conversations that end and disband in the blink of an eye. I can’t keep track of everything and feel like I have control of the situation with all that motion. And it’s not a thing that I should dictate what everyone does but it is a thing that happens that I’m not super comfortable.

Referring to the title, it takes me a little longer than most to readjust when things change and I find myself a little stranded as everyone else seems at ease bustling around. I say seems because a lot of them are probably in the same boat and just covering it up as well. I’ve actually had talks with a few of my friends and they get really anxious and just want the actual camp season to start (this is just the training week we’re in right now) where there’s structure and you know where you need to be and it’s just better. But even thought they feel the same, it just doesn’t look like it in my mind. They can always join a conversation at ease and get people to listen to what they have to say while I feel like I’m just on the outskirts and am too insignificant to pay attention to. The thing where people stop listening to what you’re saying halfway through you saying it is a reality for me.

But I’m probably just adjusting to this type of living right now, after having been basically by myself 9 hours a day for 2 months straight (and loving it) and it will get better soon and I will get to know all the new staff members and soon I’ll be wishing for all the down time we have right now because I’ll be so busy and dead on my feet in the near future.

And I don’t want to just rationalize these feelings away like in the paragraph above this because they are real and it’s okay to have them so I guess this is why I’m writing this. If anyone relates or has tips, I’d be glad to hear of them. Or whatever. The internet is big, it could be a thing that no one reads this and that’s also chill since at least I got it all out in words.

Shout Out To Owners Of Children

Seriously, though how do you guys do it.

I babysat for 7 hours today and it was so tiring… I’m in that awkward situation where I like kids but I don’t like being around them for much longer than an hour. So yeah.

Don’t get me wrong, the two little girls I hung out with all day arecrawling baby so sweet and were barely any trouble but I was so tired out from thinking of things to do and worrying if we were watching too much TV and keeping an eye on the little one while simultaneously giving the bigger one attention that if I had to do it for anyone longer I would’ve died.

There’s something about the stress of basically having lives in your hands – seriously, if I forgot to close the basement door, the little one would crawl to its death. Because of an open door. Ugh, open door; Frozen was playing in the background the whole time – AND the fact that you can’t have intellectual conversations – I don’t even know how many times I asked her what colour something was – that just makes my brain weep.

So to anyone who works with them or has some of their own and hang out with them and make them happy and safe without the monetary incentive that I had, mad props. You go, bros.

Match

So I was recently on a date and this was literally one of the things I brought up in conversation:

We weren’t talking about anything that related to this at all, I just sort of noticed it and thought it would be a grand idea to share.

I was looking down and I saw that my shirt matched my purse (teal), my cardigan matched my jeans (dark blue) and my nail polish matched my shoes (light blue).

Literally the most pointless and strange thing to tell anyone and now it looked like I planned it or something. I just remembered it today and got second-hand embarrassment from it. He definitely thinks I’m a weirdo.

//that title though cause my clothes matched but also I was on a date as in matchmaker I’ll shut up now//

Boy Story

So I was hanging out at my friend’s house, playing catanSettlers of Catan, as you do, with what else but a group of boys. There’s like 5 dudes in that house as roommates so it’s a common occurrence there.

Anyways, while it wasn’t my turn, one of the boys that wasn’t playing and was just sitting around watching asked me if I had any brothers.

I replied with the fact that there are literally no males in my house, unless you count my cat.

He then gestured at the scene and pointed out the fact that I might not be used to such a thing happening then.

But I got the last laugh when I dramatically whispered at him “I’m in engineering.”

Just thought this was kind of a funny story plus I need to work on my story-telling skills, if you’re ever around me in real life, never ask me to tell stories because they never ever end well.

The end.

 

(ps: That title though!! It incorporates the general gist of this post AND is randomly a play on “Toy Story”. Hehe. I’ll shut up now.)

Risk

My friends and I were talking yesterday and somehow the conversation of motorcycles came up.

One dude was talking about how much fun it was to ride them and the rush you get while me and someone else were staring at him like he had two heads or something because nothing sounded more unappealing then careening around on a motorized bicycle that was pretty unstable.

But then we realized that, given the chance, we would most definitely ride on the back of a motorcycle as someone else was driving and controlling it.

It seems like we actually do like the adrenaline rush that comes from zooming around at ridiculous speeds as long as we are not in charge and whatever happens is not our choice, if that makes any sense.

Of course, he thought we were crazy but we were soon finding parallels in other things. for example:

– Skydiving while strapped to someone else, but never on my own

– roller coasters since all you have to do is sit and enjoy the ride

It seemed that as long as we weren’t running the show and every move after actually starting said semi-dangerous activity wasn’t a product of our decisions then we were fine. Fabulous actually.

Weird how our perception of risk works…

Scale: Book to Movie

My friends and I do this thing.

I tend to surround myself with book nerds so many, many, many of our conversations revolve around different books and the news that includes them. Meaning that any adaptations to the big screen are always anticipated.

Right now, I’m eagerly waiting for Divergent and The Fault In Our Stars but that’s a whole other thing.

We didn’t explicitly come up with this method of grading movies on purpose, it sort of rose from the need of being able to correctly describe what you felt about how well the movie turned out compared to the book.

There are some movies that we all just agree collectively on how good or bad they are and they basically set the standards for any other movies to come.

Sadly, sitting at the bottom of the scale is the Percy Jackson movies. MAN, could you have done any worse? Like this series is loved by many and you mangle the plot so badly and don’t even remember what one of the main characters looks like. (Actually, not having Logan Lerman would probably have made it unbearable)

At the tippy top (thus far, it might be beat, which is a good thing!) is Catching Fire. The movie was so on par with the book it was amazing to see everything come alive exactly how we all imagined it in our heads. Insanely well done and a great example to any other book to movie adaptations in the works.

So that’s literally how we judge them:

“The Book Thief was not quite Catching Fire due to some things but it was pretty darn close!”

“I sure hope The Maze Runner doesn’t go Percy Jackson on us”