Is the humble road trip still the best way to explore the planet?
In this age of budget airlines, I’d say it is, more so than ever, in fact. For to drive to some far-flung place is to truly understand its place in the world. The journey is an education. Through it, you see how cultures merge into each other, how faces gradually change and how landscapes have shaped the direction of human development. You meet and talk to life’s winners and the losers, leave your tyre tracks among the triumphs and the tragedies which span the globe. You see how the world can change almost beyond recognition as you cross a man-made border, or morph gradually at a natural one. And by seeing how all these disparate factors fit together, and how they’ve shaped the planet you’re driving across, you arrive at your destination with a newfound understanding of its real place in the world; an understanding which it’s impossible to gain by simply walking out of an anodyne, air conditioned arrivals lounge into some exotic street.
To fly some far-flung destination is to visit it. But to drive; to drive is to truly learn somewhere’s place in the world. It is to arrive ready to understand the city or landscape you find yourself in. So, get inspired and get out there. Grab your car keys and a sense of adventure, and hit the road to the far side of the map.