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August 1, 2017

4 Roads to Drive Before you Die.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got at least a little bit of wanderlust.

This almost constant desire to see and experience something new has led me to numerous places throughout the world, and they’ve all had an effect on me.

However, a few of the roads that I’ve traveled have really stood out in terms of being unique, offering something useful to the world, or even helping me reach a deeper level of understanding about my place in the universe.

These are things we all want to experience, and a change of scenery is something everyone needs from time to time.

With this in mind, I wanted to share some of my most memorable moments that directly involved specific roads.

Without these roads and the road trips they enabled me to take, I’d be a different person today.

Route 66 Musical Section in New Mexico

Route 66 is a national treasure. People from around the world have traveled to the U.S. to drive up and down this magical stretch of road. New Mexico managed to make it even more magical, though, by altering a long section to play music when people drive at exactly 45 miles per hour.

I was already buzzing about how gorgeous the landscape was when we hit this section of road. I don’t mind admitting that the perfectly tuned rendition of “America the Beautiful” actually brought a tear to my eye and gave me an intensely patriotic moment.

Because there, in that stretch of one of the country’s most iconic roads, we were truly treated to the beauty and ingenuity of America.

Solar Roadway in the Netherlands

Even though this particular road was for my bicycle instead of a car, it has the potential to change the world—and, therefore, deserves to be mentioned.

Dubbed the SolaRoad, this bike and pedestrian path connects Wormerveer to Krommenie. It’s highly convenient and makes it much easier to enjoy this part of the Netherlands. It’s quite simply the coolest place I’ve ever taken a bike ride.

Imagine this for a second: you’re walking, riding your bike, or perhaps even driving your car. The act of doing this not only gets you from point A to point B, but it actually helps generate solar energy that is then used to reduce the area’s reliance on standard electricity.

I was stunned to learn that this experimental pedestrian road is producing more than 3,000 kilowatts of energy per hour.

Using it felt like I was in the future, and it also sparked an even greater interest in doing everything possible to reduce my carbon footprint.

Now we just need to encourage all of our local governments to invest in this technology. We’re going to drive no matter what. So, we might as well build roads that can offset some of our carbon emissions.

Great Ocean Road in Australia

I could gush about this experience all day and still not accurately portray how amazing and transformative it was.

I spent two weeks traveling the Great Ocean Road. During this road trip, my friends and I saw some of the world’s most beautiful and awe-inspiring sites, including the 12 Apostles.

Gazing upon these natural rock stacks inspired my creativity in so many ways. I wrote poetry and sketched the 12 Apostles while we were there. I’ve pondered the impact of this one gorgeous experience, ever since.

Fortunately, Australia is a culture that embraces and encourages people to indulge in long road trips.

In fact, we were inspired by some information we read online and actually purchased a secondhand backpackers’ van for our month-long vacation.

Believe it or not, this was much cheaper than a rental vehicle, and we made our money back at the end of the trip!

Stelvio Pass in Italy

Last, but certainly not least, is the Stelvio Pass, which is considered by many to be one of the greatest driving roads in the world. Stelvio Pass offers unparalleled views and a driving experience that is rivaled by none.

One of my favorite things about visiting new areas is taking in the local scenery. Although some spots I’ve driven through have become tedious and boring over time, this section of Italy kept me fully alert and wishing that I could take photos from behind the wheel!

What truly stands out about the Stelvio Pass, is the staggeringly large number of switchbacks that drivers encounter. I highly recommend being cautious on the Stelvio Pass.

Even at a reasonable speed, this road still gave me a thrilling look at what it might feel like to be a race car driver. This has actually been a secret desire of mine since childhood, so it was beyond exciting to get a small taste of what it must be like.

Roads Connect Us to Experiences and New Places

Ultimately, whether a road itself is an exciting part of the trip or merely a way to reach a new destination, I’m thankful every single day that they exist.

Without them, we wouldn’t be able to explore new cultures or broaden our understanding of not only ourselves, but the entire world.

If we could speed up the process of converting to electric vehicles and building solar roadways, we could also take these journeys without all of the guilt associated with carbon emissions.

I believe we’ll get there in the future!

~

Author: Holly Chavez 
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Editor: Leah Sugerman
Copy Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Social Editor: Nicole Cameron

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