For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved traveling. Whether I’m just walking through an adjacent neighborhood or driving to Florida in one 22-hour stretch, discovering new things about the world ignites an unparalleled passion in me. In the past several years, my wanderlust has inspired a unique passion – planning road trips.
I’ve filled entire notebooks with journeys. I’ve designed a month-long traipse across the country in search of skies with low light pollution to feed my burgeoning interest in astrophotography. I’ve drawn up a massive backpacking adventure across Europe to witness the Western world’s most significant landmarks (the Colosseum, Notre-Dame, and the Berlin Wall, among many). I’ve outlined an intensive culinary tour of India from Kashmir’s haak to Kerala’s avial, mapped out a hike on Yosemite’s Half Dome Trail inspired by my love of rock climbing, and drafted an excursion to some of Cairo’s thousand mosques to better understand the world’s fastest-growing religion.
Now, my itineraries don’t just include the usual notes on lodging, food, and activities. I learn stretches that help combat jetlag. I draft grocery lists for meals to make on the trail. I even make Spotify playlists for every trip, each fitting a unique mood. My trips take on lives of their own, escaping the confines of my imagination, and that’s what makes the activity a perfect stressbuster.
When I need a break from regular life, I can escape to any number of destinations, just waiting for me in my notebooks. The tantalizing taste of possibility – the idea that I really could embark on all these journeys – motivates me to keep working hard and reminds me that taking breaks allows me to dream. And hopefully one day, I’ll be able to turn the dreams of those adventures into reality. I can’t wait.