Why You Should Take a Solo Road Trip Now

Car: Road Trip

On the PA Turnpike

Originally posted on Built In Chicago.

For most people, the idea of driving any significant distance is daunting. Stuck in a car, with hundreds of mindless miles stretching ahead of you, and no matter what radio station you manage to pick up – it always seems that the newest Taylor Swift song is playing. It’s not hard to imagine that would be no fun.

Two years ago I took a 28 day, 5500 mile road trip that included at least six stops in major cities. It was epic. Just this past weekend, I took a mini-version of that as I traveled from Chicago, IL to Princeton, NJ that was 2 days and 800 miles. It reminded me of what great a road trip is.

If you are like most other entrepreneurs I know, our minds are going all the time.  We are juggling family, a startup, being active in the community, as well as the constant advice to eat healthy, exercise and find balance. That leaves little time for thinking big … dreaming. A good road trip allows your mind to wander and it’s amazing what comes out of that six hours of relatively uninterrupted time. The best ideas I have usually result from a road trip.

Here is my list of how to have the perfect, think-big road trip:

  • Get your car cleaned: a clean car starts the journey off right!
  • Make a playlist of go-music: whatever your anthems are, make sure you have easy access so that you can get a dose of enthusiasm several times during the trip.
  • Bring a snack and put it on your passenger seat: having something relatively healthy (animal crackers or nuts are my favorite) within arms reach for those moments when you get munchy.
  • Pick up a Big Gulp on your way out of town: sure soda isn’t the best, but treat yourself. And because you’ve just consumed 64 ounces of liquid, you can be sure that you’ll get plenty of stretch breaks as you frequently make bathroom stops.
  • Record what you come up with: there are several methods for doing this – but I love the voice recorder on iPhone. Anytime I come up with something I want to remember, I record a memo to myself that I can play  ack later. That way I forget about it, knowing that I can come back to it.  It frees my brain up to think of other things and not just worry about remembering what I have already come up with. At my destination, I transcribe all the recordings into a to-do list and prioritize.
  • Drive for at least 4-5 hours: it takes me at least two hours just to get my brain to settle down from the rush of getting out of town and the worry about whether I packed my Justin Beiber doll (that was a joke).  Somewhere around hour 2.5, my mind starts wandering and I just let it go! Sometimes it is personal, sometimes professional … but always healthy in the end.

In summation – let the miles be mindless. Embrace the drone of Taylor Swift. That’s all just background to what’s really going on: awesome brilliance running around in your head.