I suppose this all started when my best friend moved to New Mexico when we were 11 years old. I missed her terribly, we would write frequently and she’d send pictures of her new friends and her new life. I remember spending that summer gazing up at the sky, watching the planes that passed over me and wishing that I could be on one that would take me to America.
Since then, I’ve been over to the west coast (San Francisco and Lake Tahoe), as well as the east (New York and Connecticut), but these were trips I took with school and my family. I was too young to strike out on my own and so I’ve never really experienced all that this vast country has to offer.
This is where the road trip comes in. It’s a dream that many share and one that I have harboured since I was 12 and I saw that awful Britney Spears coming-of-age film, Crossroads. It’s oh-so cringe worthy to think about now.
My road trip inspiration has thankfully evolved since then and I can say that it’s the likes of Jack Kerouac, John Steinbeck and Stephen Fry who provide me with road trip fodder these days. What a difference a decade makes.
Needless to say, I have imagined this road trip innumerable times. It includes: New York City, Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, the Continental Divide in Montana, the Salt Flats in Utah, the Grand Canyon and the Arizona deserts, Las Vegas, and it all ends with heading down the Pacific Coast Highway.
The All-American Road Trip, though, is not just about the places you see. It’s about the people you see them with, the people you meet along the way, the food you eat, and the music you listen to as you drive down that lonely stretch of road. It’s about being on the road, connecting with the land and yourself.
Of course, this is pure romance – an idealised vision of what the All-American Road Trip could be. But isn’t it that hope in the American dream that so purely defines America? The All-American Road Trip is an extension of that hope. People embark upon this journey in the hope that they will learn something new, experience the way other people live, and discover something important about themselves along the way.
The All-American Road Trip epitomises and encapsulates everything that travel is for me. And that’s why it has made it onto my travel bucket list.
What’s on your bucket list? Have I missed out any must-see parts of the All-American Road Trip?