June 30, 2017
Americans celebrate Independence Day with the most independent form of travel: road trips. The author of new travel memoir THE DRIVE: SEARCHING FOR LOST MEMORIES ON THE PAN AMERICAN HIGHWAY has seven tips for creating memories on the road.
With no GPS, Wi-Fi or backup plan, Teresa Bruce’s year-long drive down the longest road in the world — to the tip of Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina — should have been a disaster. Instead, it was a life-changing adventure and inspiration for a new travel memoir.
“A quit-the-job/sell-the-house trip through Latin America with an old dog in the back seat? Everyone thought I was crazy,” Bruce says. “At the same time, they wanted to hide in my suitcase, which was actually a vintage 1968 truck camper.”
It was far from “glamping;” the ultimate road trip connected the capitals of beautiful and often war-torn countries, across barricaded, flooded and wide open roads. So what advice can she share with readers who dream of getting away from it all?
#PRO TIPS FOR ROAD TRIPS
1. Unplug. Even outdated, physical maps are better for long-distance planning and orientation than GPS or directions-from-Siri. If you do get lost, consider it a chance to connect with locals and truly experience the miles between milestones.
2. Slow down. Pick fewer destinations and follow scenic, less direct routes instead of flooring it through an overly-ambitious itinerary. A road trip is a journey not a race.
3. Take along kids, or better yet a dog. Bruce was seven on her first Pan-American road trip and traveling with kids was like having a diplomatic passport. Thirty years later, lifting her arthritic old dog out of the backseat of a truck gave her a VIP backstage pass into the heart of every place she stopped.
4. Take this pledge: if anyone in the vehicle gets a bad feeling about a place, drive away without complaining, second guessing or belittling. Instinct is the best insurance policy and respecting it shows you respect each other.
5. Say yes to connection. As soon as you announce your route, friends or family will tell you to “look someone up” they once knew. Do, even if it feels awkward. Strangers become lifelong friends when you show an interest in their town, their food, their culture. And you become an ambassador.
6. Forget reservations: all kinds. Part of the fun of driving is stopping when…