The Art of Not Planning a Road Trip

Sweet serendipity. Those are the only two words that come to mind when I think about my latest road trip excursion. For those of you who don’t stalk me on twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, I recently flew to Seattle to road trip back to San Diego with my wonderful friend Sara, and it was awesome. We skimpily planned the trip in an effort to just go with the flow and experience some natural beauty without a timetable.

The great thing about driving from Seattle to San Diego is that as long as you’re driving south, it’s difficult to get lost. So, we tossed the directions and I-5 south out the window and took the road less traveled. We ended up on the Redwood Forest Highway, which leads to the infamous 101. As the name suggests, the Redwood Forest Highway drives right through the magnificent forest that is home to some of the world’s largest trees. Twisting and turning through the earth’s tallest, widest trees is quite the experience, one that you should definitely try to embrace at some point. We drove along The Avenue of Giants, a strand of road surrounded by enormous Redwoods and then stopped to take pictures in front of “Big Tree”, one of the largest full grown Redwoods in the world. The tree was freaking HUGE. Like over 300 feet and wider than a car huge. Not only were the trees enormous, but the “smaller” oaks that make up the forest were covered in this funky moss that made us feel like we were dropped into Alice In Wonderland.

After leaving the forest, we ended up right on the 101 headed for Big Sur, a well known spot along the breathtaking highway. As I mentioned, we planned very minimally for this trip, and it made every part of the drive more enjoyable. There’s something to be said for experiencing a moment for what it is and not solely focusing on the destination. The sun was shining, our hair was blowing in the wind, and we felt like we were in some sort of car commercial. We stopped probably seven or eight times before the sunset to snap pictures and then watched the sun disappear behind the horizon.

In 72ish hours, we managed to explore Seattle, escape a monsoon in Oregon, drive through miles of what seemed like endless forest, and witness some of the world’s most beautiful coastlines. I read a book recently which emphasized the importance of being attentive to your present environment. For someone like me, hands glued to my iPhone at all times, experiencing the world through an Instagram filter, this trip reminded me that sometimes it is necessary to set down the damn phone and look out the window. It also helped that I had no phone service and that I was driving through ridiculously beautiful landscapes, but you get my point.

Live for now, appreciate your surroundings, take a trip, and leave your twitter behind.