The Single Girl’s Guide to Driving Cross Country.

Via on Jan 11, 2013

Source: flickr.com via Jacqueline Mart on Pinterest

Part two in the “Single Girl’s Guide to Taking the Long Road Home” series.

I travel a lot.

It’s one of my favorite parts of being a guest presenter for yoga, barre and Pilates.

I just completed a cross country trip and there are definitely a few things I’ve learned being on the road as a single woman.

There are a few practical things I’ve learned about being out on the road to help you prepare for your trip:

1. Vehicle—Get a fabulous car/bike/donkey to travel with that feels like a second skin. I think my hot red Prius Roxy is as in love with me as I am in with her. If I even mention the word “trade-in” anywhere around her something malfunctions (seriously people—if plants can have feelings, then why not cars? Didn’t you read the Stephen King book Christine?).

Anyways, on a long drive the three c’s are important in a car: comfort, compatibility and consistency. Last thing you want is a car that will break down every 100 miles. Also, get AAA. You’re not going to want to change a tire in 90 degree heat, when instead you could have big, burly and handsome with a fancy truck do that. It’s worth the money and the watching…unless he/she has plumber’s crack. In that case…oops, sorry, you should of learned how to change it yourself.

2. Packing—Figure out how to pack easily for transport in and out of a car. Be honest with yourself. Are you actually going to use that Vitamix on the road? Being a raw food enthusiast I had this vision of myself making green goddess smoothies across the country. One attempt at washing out the damn blender under a tiny hotel faucet did me in. The space it took up could have been space for a gorilla costume (see number five). Plan to be portable. When you’re exhausted you’re going to want to get into your hotel room fast. Have a bag ready for quick transport with the essentials. As you pack your ride think about safety too. Are you in a safe area to leave your possessions in your car? Unloading a car full of stuff every time you stop is a major hassle. Pack light.

3. Sleeping accommodations—unless you’re rolling in it, chances are you’re staying at the occasional hotel and couch surfing. Take time before you leave to meditate on old friends, old lovers (or hell, even people you thought were kinda cute) and ask to sleep on their sofas or elsewhere. People rarely say no… and you never know—it might even make your trip spicier. The open road can be lonely… bow-chicka-bow-wow. For more on this see my next article: Where, when and how to sleep comfortably and safely when you travel.

4. Food—do not think yourself better than you are. What I mean by this is pack only that which you will really eat. While on the road I often picture myself as this glorious beacon of yogic health that eats only raw almonds. But you know what? Ice cream cones are tasty. Bad yoga teacher! Bad!!! Last trip—ice cream cones: 10 / Raw almonds: 10 (as in 10 raw almonds out of the bag. Sigh. No one is perfect). Point is: Be real.

5. Entertainment—Plan to self entertain. You’re going to be driving a long time. It can get boring. I entertain myself by wearing ridiculous things while driving: hats, makeup, wigs, glasses. The looks are worth it and make great Facebook or Twatter (hehe) posts later. I always leave a pair of old school aviator goggles attached to my rear view mirror for when I’m bored. Just make sure you don’t obstruct your vision. I was driving with my goggles on a little too close to Burning Man territory this past year and a police car trailed me forever! No fun.

6. Good luck tokens—Bring one or 10. Going cross country is one of the best times to decorate your dashboard like a taxi driver in India. Never hurts to get a bit of mojo on your side. I installed a special hook on my dashboard for my voodoo doll. I also travel with a magic wand, a Turkish evil eye, a giant thing of dope smelling sage, and some ashes from my guru. Because yep—I’m a yuppie Prius driving hippie.

7. Road Warrior—Use this opportunity to conquer your fears. I don’t mean walk through the streets of a conservative area of the country mostly naked. That’s just stupid—entertaining for those of us sober and watching—but still stupid. What I mean is… you have one life to live, you have limited time, you are alone, adventuring on the road with limitless possibilities available to you. What do you want to do with that time?

One of the best and most meaningful things I have ever done for myself happened in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Brace yourself—-I went to a rattlesnake museum. That’s right. I have a paralyzing fear of snakes. My friends call me the snake whisperer because of my uncanny ability to locate a snake within a two mile radius of anywhere I am in the world. I see more snakes in a single year than most people see in a lifetime. They stop me dead in my tracks and raise my blood pressure to a level that is surely heart attack worthy.

So… I took an opportunity of being alone on the road for immersion therapy. Sure it took me a half hour (talking 90 miles per hour and almost in tears) to actually enter a room full of 40 live killer reptiles, but I did it. The comforting zoologist who held my hand through the whole thing actually convinced me to hold a ball python by the end of it. Fear of snakes lowered 70 percent. I consider that success. The experience was one of those moments in life you need to do alone. A friend may have made it easier… or worse. Ask yourself, what are those things in your life you need to do alone to make your life more meaningful? That’s the whole point of a solo road trip.

8. Rest and Safety—Most importantly when you are on the road, is to get adequate rest and to be safe. I’m going to say this again and again, as a single woman traveling alone you are a sitting duck. I’m not trying to scare you or be paranoid, just real and speaking from a place where I have been in some less than ideal situations while traveling (read between the lines—I’m lucky to be here). Do not drive more than eight or nine hours. If you meet people do not tell them where you’re staying and do not invite them back to your room unless you are sure—really sure. It’s just not safe, and you raise your safety risks by being a woman alone after dark.

Be a good girl, get yourself checked into a nice hotel with nice deadbolts, or with friends you trust well before an unreasonable hour. Imagine the danger if you break down in the middle of no man’s land with no cell reception. Your safety is more important than getting to your next destination on time. Remember—there are people who love you who are probably already worried about you traveling alone— don’t make them worry more than they have to, okay?

The open road is an adventure. Traveling alone is one of the most empowering experiences you can have as a woman. The question is: what will you do with this one precious life? Now get driving.

Read part one: What to Pack for 30 Days.

Next Article: Where, when and how to sleep comfortably and safely when you travel.

Like elephant adventure on facebook.

Ed: Lynn Hasselberger

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About Carrie Tyler

Carrie Tyler: Feminist. Writer. Artist. Business Owner. Gypsy yogini. Dedicated to giving women a voice and to making spirituality sexy. Carrie is the co-producer of Shakti Revolution and the creator of the Rasamaya Method of Movement. She is the proud owner of several Rasamaya Movement Centers and runs teacher trainings, retreats and workshops within the US and abroad. In her private practice she specializes in women's chronic structural issues, body language and sexuality. She is also the Northeast Teacher Trainer for Pelvic Floor Pilates (Pfilates). Become one of her 2600+ nearest and dearest friends on Facebook for a daily dose of the ridiculous and the inspirational. Contact her at shaktirevolution@gmail.com and stay tuned to upcoming retreats, workshops, teacher trainings and events at www.shaktirevolution.com. Give your Life a Voice.

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7 Responses to “The Single Girl’s Guide to Driving Cross Country.”

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  4. Strong Woman says:

    Great advice! I agree wholeheartedly. After traveling from west to east coast alone, I felt so empowered. Everyone I know thought I was crazy. lol. I traveled about 13 hours a day (leaving early as to arrive at my next stop before dark). I kept my doors locked at all times, drank 2 red bills and blasted my music to get me through the day. My only regret is not taking photos. This country is beautiful!

  5. Jessica says:

    Inspiring as I re-locate alone from Denver to Philadelphia – with a car load – after 19 years living in Denver. Plan to drive "office hours" 8 hours per day in hopes of finding hotel rooms that allow small dogs. Good article.

  6. carol kelly says:

    Just did the trip..nothing really to worry about..just the abundance of large trucks. Try to power through as much as you can so you can enjoy some days. Sitting duck..who knows. Just do it, as long as you have a reliable car and a service. I treated myself to some nice hotels along the way ( route 80). I had some points to use.

    Finally made it. Only one instance with a cop in Reno who was looking for out of state drivers to ticket. All in all not for everyone, but it can be done.

  7. fran says:

    I drove from Oregon to florida in 6 days, 3700 miles alone, 11 yr old car. only used motel 3 times. Used rest areas other times. And I did this at age 70! Loved it! Country is awesome! wanted to stop and dig for dinasours

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