Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My Solo Cross-Country Trip

The recent flipping of the calendar page from July to August is a mixture of "YIKES, only four weeks to go, how will I ever be ready for my cross-country trip", and "WOW, only four weeks to go before my next exciting adventure." And the emotion changes as quickly as I turn the pages of my guidebooks, which for two days this past weekend, totaled about 24 hours.

That's a whole lotta pages(!) but now I am much closer to reaching the goal I started this spring, planning my 36-day itinerary, including dates, destinations, and hours and miles from point A to point B. In addition, at least for the first week, I have a list of places under the headings "must visit" and "visit if I have the time" plus reservations for lodging, including a couple of hostels which will be a first for me.

I love the initial research, poring over maps and guidebooks for general information, searching the internet for the unusual and bizarre, and networking with friends and friends of friends for specifics and personal stories. I discovered that the process is pretty much the same, whether I am taking a 5-week cross-country tour to unfamiliar places, or a series of day trips in my home state of Connecticut.

Oh, sure, a small part of me envies the carefree traveler who can happily hop in the car and go where the spirit takes him, but my curious and cautious nature seems to demand that I do an extraordinary amount of advance planning so I know exactly what to expect. Interestingly though, once I begin my trip, I am remarkably flexible and carefree, changing course where necessary, or making the decision to veer off the path to look for my own serendipity.

During future blog postings, I will talk about traveling alone versus being lonely, keep you up to date on the method and progress of my research, which 10 national parks I will be visiting, and other considerable and trivial facts, such as whether or not I can find a convenient and practical way to pack my picnic basket!

What I hope my readers will do, especially those with more experience traveling cross-country (in case you are wondering what "more experience" means, I have none!) is to share tips with me and other readers about how to best prepare for and enjoy this kind of travel.

Follow my blog. Halfway down this page on the left, under Subscribe to Cruising Connecticut, click "Posts", or email me at jan@cruisingconnecticut.com. I'd love to hear from you.

More next week!


Ron Bernard said...

Well---the clock is indeed ticking down with only 4 weeks to go before your D-Day for starting out on your exciting adventure to the wild West. From what you have said about your extensive planning for this trip, the journey should go smoother and be less frayed and therefore, more enjoyable--smart thing to do.
Your travel thru the National Parks has to be the 'special highlight" of your trip. Seeing so much wildlife close-up is so rewarding in itself, aside from the breathtaking scenery that we all enjoy so much.
The "Hostel" thing is not something that I have done yet. I look forward to hearing about your take on that experience as well.

Jan said...

My very first night will be in a hostel so check my blog a few days into my trip and I'll let you know all about it.