Darling, let’s go driving
There’s nothing quite like the road trip to build memories, but there’s something to be said for his little brother, the day trip, who offers a lot of the same appeal with a fraction of the time and energy investment.
It’s partly a nostalgia thing
I think, with the road trip.
Something we fill in enough to believe we remember even if we weren’t a part of the “road trip” heyday post second World War. We weren’t there for that, when growing families of 4, 5, 6 people piled into the family wagon and made treks to the newly-established national parks.
Most of us weren’t there for drive ins. Or cruise strips. We didn’t really play a part in big car culture.
But it’s become so ingrained in us that we pick it up as we do most traditions, embracing it and making it our own.
It’s partly an intimacy thing
It’s a closeness thing. A minimalist thing. It’s radio or playlists or streaming stations you must agree on. It’s sharing snacks. It’s negotiating on temperature and route and speed.
It’s close. It’s so very close. It’s reaching across to one another, a hand on a thigh, so as to say without saying: “we’re together.”
It’s partly an escape thing
It’s partly amusement, entertainment, distraction, adventure.
It’s novelty. It’s freshness. It’s seeing and doing and going. It’s fun. It’s freedom. It’s potential.
It’s partly a security thing
Being in the car is safe. Going somewhere with a plan, versus sitting at home without one, feels safe. Having a roadmap and a destination creates a feeling of control, and we like that.
It’s a memory-making thing
When so much of our day to day lives bleed together into one big homogenous blanket that can suffocate out any color, the day trip is a thing that stands out, a feeling we lean back on.
Decades later, my grandma still talks about the ones she and my grandpa made with their young family. Fifteen years after, I still think about those I made with my high school sweetheart.
Day trips are a thing you can touch and hold. Just like a lover.