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Spontaneous & Unplanned Road Trips: A Zen Experience

By Edited Jan 14, 2016 0 0



Anyone who feels the desparate need for a vacation, but hates the time and effort involved in planning one might want to consider taking an unplanned, spontaneous vacation. Such trips can be exciting for families and provide time for moms, dads and kids to bond with one another.  Anyone who has ever read Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, or has heard these memorable lines from Jake and Elwood Blues in the film, The Blues Brothers - “... it’s 106 miles to Chicago. We got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses…Hit it!” – may be enticed to try  a spontaneous road trip without advance planning.

A serendipitous nature is necessary to enjoy spontaneous, unplanned road trips. People who have more of a need for structure, organization, and schedules will find that such vacations will not be their cup of tea, so to speak.

The Spontaneous Road Trip

Being impulsive is the key factor for success in such a trip.  There doesn’t have to be any logic in the  decision to venture on such a journey.  Travelers need only the impetuous  commitment to start driving to see what adventures may lie on the road before them.

A spur-of-the-moment car trip is an opportunity for families to spend time together in a fun and serendipitous way. Such a journey, if taken alone, can also present its own rewards in the form of peace of mind through solitary thought while partaking of new sights and experiences.

The Unplanned Road Trip

In order for a trip to be impromptu, there must not be a predetermined destination in mind. However, having a general direction - north, south, east, or west - in mind may prove beneficial . For example, if one lives in the colder northern part of the country, he may decide to head south, but without a paraticular city or state in mind. The goal would be just to head to warmer environs and whatever scenery, experiences or adventures he may find along the way.

One might decide, instead, just to head out on the legendary Route 66 for the scenery and adventure that the famed route may lay out before them. The article sources listing  provides a link to all the wonderful adventures one can encounter in taking a trip along Route 66.

While on such a journey, it's important to randomly explore because opportunities to do so  along the way will surely present themselves.  Stop to visit attractions, local festivals or any events that seem interesting.  One should endeavor to explore the back roads, as well. Back roads often provide for some of the most beautiful scenery and local color. 

While traveling, one should eat at quant roadside diners or visit local shops and other kinds of establishments to get even more of a feel for the local color.  It's a good idea to avoid the chain hotels or motels and seek out, instead,  places to stay that have charm and interest, such as Bed and Breakfast lodging. If affordability is an issue, one may want to seek out hostels. Hostels are a more affordable option and can be found all over the country.

It is a good idea to take many photographs of your journey. Journaling or blogging about the adventure along the way is another good idea.  Vacations are always a way to build good memories. Photographs, journals, and blogs are some ways to record evidence of the whimsical experience.

Taking a map or GPS system along to rely on in an emergency is advisable, but the trip is out of the blue, so one may want to use it only when becoming hopelessly lost.

If the road excursion is a family one, a good strategy is to involve family members in the choices and decision-making  during the journey. Involving them in choices that provide new experiences and adventures is a great way to better foster family bonding endeavors. 

The Zen Experience

Zen is a school of Buddhism that emphasizes meditation, the experiential, and enlightenment. One won’t necessarily be meditating on a spur-of-the-moment journey, but experiences and enlightenment may abound. The carefree, relaxed, and serendipitous nature of the excursion only adds to the Zen experience.  After all, it has been said, “It’s not where you’re going; it’s the ride that counts.”




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  1. "“Route 66 – Online Resources and Books”." Road Trip America.com. 8/1/2013. 30/4/2013 <Web >
  2. Amy L. Hatch "“Tips for Spontaneous Family Travel”." Travel Muse.com. 5/1/2011. 30/4/2013 <Web >
  3. Norman Gregory Fernandez "“For Me the Best Motorcycle Rides Are Unplanned And Spur Of The Moment!”." Biker Blog.com. 21/10/2006. 30/4/2013 <Web >

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