Read To Travel

The Truth Behind Taking a Solo Road Trip

Northland Photos 7

It’s scary at first

For the first week, I was terribly scared to sleep in my car.  I can admit that openly.  I would find a place on the side of the road or in a parking lot.  I would lock all of my doors while attempting to cover my windows so that strangers could not look in at me.  At every light or sound passing by I froze in fear, worried that a cop was coming to arrest me or a gang was going to attack me.  (Does New Zealand even have gangs?) By week two, I felt a bit more comfortable and confident.  By week three I had transformed into a professional parker, window coverer, and car trunk relaxer.  The worry never went away 100%, which I consider to be smart, but I felt much safer after surviving several weeks of sleeping in my car.

NZ Whangarei Heads on the road

You always need to go to the bathroom

You don’t realize how much you take having easy access to a bathroom for granted until you go camping.  In my case I am referring to camping in my car, but regardless of how hardcore my campsite was (or not), I had no toilet.  There were times I literally sprinted when I saw a public toilet because I was about to wet my pants.  Also, you can totally embrace brushing your teeth on the side of the road.  One time I slept overnight in a McDonald’s parking lot so that I could use the bathroom in the morning as my personal spa.


You may feel restless

Without a home base, I always felt the need to be on the move.  Some days I drove until my back reached maximum soreness and my mind utter exhaustion.  I just wanted to go. Looking back, there were times when I wish that I had just stayed put and let life pass me by.  But something about being alone can make you just want to keep moving, to keep stimulating your senses so you don’t think about the loneliness.


When you realize how free you are, it’s so much fun

After the initial stages of fear and loneliness subside, you’ll realize that it’s just you and you’ll be excited about it!  You can walk into a restaurant, change your mind and walk right back out without consulting another person.  You can go to bed at 8 pm and wake up 12 hours later with no regrets (other than missing out on the rad sunrise you had intended to see…).  You can plop down onto the grass and read for six hours without feeling concerned that you’re keeping your travel buddy from what he or she wants to do because you are your travel buddy and you can do whatever the hell you want!


It’s worth it

You will walk away from a solo road trip with a sense of accomplishment, a feeling of empowerment.  You did it.  You did something for you and you alone.  That is a very special feeling.  It’s worth the initial fears, the bits of loneliness and awkwardness and wondering what to do with yourself, the constant worry of wetting the bed.  It’s worth it because I think we live in a world where hardworking people fail to take time to give themselves the love and self care that they need.

Tara Higgins

Tara Higgins

Tara loves all things London and wants to spend the rest of her life reading books in beautiful places. She can often be found nestled up in a bookshop, drinking a pint at the pub, or searching for the best pizza slice in town.