humor, Lists, Project Management

What I Wish I’d Known BEFORE My Month-Long Road Trip

I shift in my seat, lifting a hand to massage the knots in my neck. I glance at my notepad.

148 miles on this highway. Great. At least it’s not snowing. 

Ha. Just kidding. Happy spring.

It’s been almost three weeks since I packed my car, left New Jersey, and headed north. Resigning from corporate America in March, I had had a one track mind:


It sounds like a dream come true, right? Freedom, adventure, new friends… What could go wrong?

Go Jules Go Title Graphic What I wish Id Known Before My Month Long Road Trip_24APR2019

Unlimited Cell Service? Psssshhh.

After discovering that the middle of Maine was a dead zone (at least for me), I took to hand writing my directions before entering unknown territory. Luckily, the impressively eclectic radio stations provided the perfect soundtrack for my 90s-style, Google maps-less travel. (Rant for another day: Why does New York City radio have the most monochromatic music on the face of the planet?)

directions to Canada
148 miles doesn’t look so bad when you’re singing Beastie Boys at the top of your lungs.

“Fully Equipped Kitchen” Means Very Different Things to Different People

If you’re planning to do any cooking on the road, and assuming your lodging (mostly AirBnbs, in my case) will come equipped with certain basics as described — think again. Here are some common items missing in one or all of my AirBnb kitchens: Ice cube trays, wine opener, strainer (colander), dishwasher soap/cleaner, pot large enough for boiling pasta, curtains (ahem), and spatula.

Curtain-less window
Thankfully, this looks right in through to the bathroom. On a busy highway.

Sitting All Day is Exhausting

Even with my lead foot, I couldn’t turn the drive from Nova Scotia to mid-coast Maine into anything less than a 10-hour trek. After 5-6 hours, everything starts to hurt, and even cycling in frigid, rainy headwind starts to sound appealing.

On second thought…

You’re Going to Spend More Money Than You Think You Are

As a [former] project manager, I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t fully acknowledge the ‘over deadline, over budget’ mantra that accompanies so many projects – including road trip ones. Besides ALL THE GASOLINE, unplanned expenditures are bound to crop up almost daily. Like, oh, I don’t know, duty charges on your case of wine, forgetting your dog’s kibble and discovering he’ll accept no substitutions apart from homemade people food, and ice cube trays/spatulas/THINGS ANY NORMAL KITCHEN SHOULD HAVE.

%*&*@. He’s never eating kibble again.

But lest you think road travel is all a pile of tears…

Most People Are Mostly Nice. Really Nice.

By far the best part of traveling alone is forcing yourself to rely on the kindness of others. Rarely did I find anyone who wasn’t more than willing to offer the insider scoop, their washer/dryer, or just a general helping hand. I’m headed back to New Jersey with friendships and experiences I never would have had were I to stay inside my comfort zone.

Comfort zone? What comfort zone?

And isn’t that the whole point?

Next time, though? I’m bringing my $%&*@! colander.


Have you ever road tripped? Was it what you expected?


14 thoughts on “What I Wish I’d Known BEFORE My Month-Long Road Trip”

  1. Sorry…. I could have told you huge swaths of Maine are cell phone cemeteries. They drop like flies no matter your carrier.
    We hop around to timeshare condos and you’re right, fully equipped kitchens rarely are. I can never find a pitcher, which drives me nuts.
    We road trip a lot and there are always obstacles… but heck. When you think about it, those are the funny parts you always remember!

  2. ROAD TRIP! Vaaat eees theees trevuhling?!

    Yegads, amiga…on top of a colander, you need an offline map. is one and I bet there are many more options. Easy to download stuff on wifi before you head into a new zone and then you don’t have to stress about reading chicken scratch directions while you’re driving in the snow er spring.

    1. I’m pretty sure calling my handwriting chicken scratch is an insult to chickens. Also, I need you to turn your current / ongoing blog post series into my new travel bible. Like, an actual book. With pages. That I can turn without wifi.

      P.S. – I may have Googled internet options and cell signal ranges in Bend lest I make any more ill-informed decisions.

  3. It’s been fun traveling with you on your road trip. And yes, I’ve road tripped with my husband, back when we were dating. We did a few big drives around the country, and I learned that having cruise control was a necessity for long drives, and A/C is a necessity if you want to drive across the Midwest in July (where it was 108 degrees inside the car, windows open, no cruise control). One of the drives took us from northwest WA state across to New England, down to northeast TN, west to TX, to CA, and back up to WA, in less than 30 days. This was before cell phones and computers. We had a map book and a credit card.

  4. People look at you funny when you say that your trip to Europe was a rough road trip. Exciting, they say! Yes, it was, but it was a singing/orchestra month long road trip – about 16,000 plane miles and 3000 miles on a bus. Even friends became…well, depended on the day.

    1. And yes have I ever road tripped! Twice across country from Seattle to Maine and back. I saw tumbleweeds in Montana, real cowboys in Wyoming, and a giant statue of the Jolly Green Giant in Minnesota. No cell, no internet. Just me and my brother and some ganja. (Maybe that’s why we saw the jolly green giant?) But my point is this was 30 years ago and I still remember (most) everything. That’s what traveling is all about. The experiences!

  5. I don’t know why but I found myself reading this like a Danielle Steele novel! Hope all works out for ya I am a little off the timeline. One way then another.

    1. Ha! That might be one of the best compliments/comments I’ve ever gotten. Thank you! Not only did I survive that trip, I somehow made it across the country in June to move from NJ to OR! If I were a cat, I’d definitely be on life 7-8 by now.

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