That may or may not be helpful to other people in the future.
I know this post is a little late since I came home ages ago, it is just that blogging has totally taken a back seat while I learn how to raise a puppy and re-acclimatize to Toronto. I didn’t think coming back to a city that I truly love would be so hard, but it has been hard. Toronto is stressful – very stressful for me.
I love it but also have really been feeling the grind of the city since coming back. The traffic, the noise, all the people… The rush. It has been hitting me hard. Anyways – excuses! Here are some of my tips for roadtripping!
-When packing, basically bring half of what you ‘want’ to bring. I really wished I had brought less stuff (camping gear, stuff I thought would make life easier on the road etc). Do bring more underwear, outdoor clothes, versatile clothing (dual purpose) and a good coffee travel mug. I brought a horrible travel mug and paid for it.
-APPS for your smartphone or Iphone. Now I did my research before I left Toronto – I looked at Delightfully Tacky’s roadtrip tips. I downloaded most of what she recommended as most were free. Now – I did end up being disappointed with quite a few of them – many of the camping related apps tend to give you mostly RV campgrounds (privately owned weird campgrounds). I hate those campgrounds. I avoid them with a passion… Maybe other people don’t mind them but I personally feel like you aren’t even camping in those places. Apps I loved and used frequently – Google maps (OBVI!!!), Shell Motorist (great for making sure you can get Airmiles on your trip), WhatsApp (for chatting with friends/family on a wifi connection), Bump (for sharing lots of photos with friends who snap different pictures than you), Photosynth (for taking sweet panoramic photos) and Parks Canada (although I didn’t end up using it that much as I forgot I had it).
-Don’t plan your days too much. I found the best days were the ones that just created themselves. If I planned too much (I am going to stop here and here and get to here today) it seemed that my plan never actually worked out. The best things happened by sheer chance (driving through Saskatchewan when the sun was going for instance, hadn’t planned that one!).
-Coffee sucks on the road. Flat out, there are NO good coffee shops on the Trans Canada. It was a pipedream I had… Or that there would be nice quaint coffee shops just off the highway. Nope. Never. They all suck. Get use to the idea. Bring your own small coffee filter, your favourite beans and ask for hot water.
-Music. Damn – I am not even a big music person (don’t get me wrong, I love music I just don’t gravitate towards it…Unless I am in the car). Music saved me. It passed the time. I sang. I danced… I listened to Podcasts from the CBC. It helped tremendously to pass the time. Nothing feels better than having the windows down, driving at 120kms on the ‘open road’ and singing to yourself. Or in one case, listening to Flight of the Conchords and being in tears I was laughing so hard while I sang. I hope someone saw me.
-Research cellphone plans that suit your travel plans. I did a lot of research about how I could get max roaming without the max costs involved. I was SO happy I did. I never worried about being out of Toronto, racking up expensive bills or when I should or shouldn’t use my phone on the road. The only thing that limited my phone use on the trip? Being in absolute 100% deadzones. It was shocking how often I went through areas where I had ZERO phone service. I have to be honest though – it was 100% refreshing and exciting. I loved not having my phone at times. Especially when I was camping. I liked being cut off. Goal for the future – turning my phone off more often and just cutting out for a few days.
-Gas. As a somewhat failed attempt to get my Airmiles points up, I always used Shell gas stations. I just checked my reward points balance. Yes it is much higher than my amount I have had for a zillion years (how is it that I have had an account for at least 10 years and still have under a 1,000 points?!?!?!?!) – I did collect quite a few points over July and August but not as many as I would have expected. Now don’t get me wrong – I bought a lot of gas, so I did get quite a few points. But not as many as I had hoped. So what’s the point of this suggestion? I guess grab Airmiles points when you can, it doesn’t hurt. If you are going to be spending that much moolah on gas, you might as well get points right?
-Having a dataplan. I can’t stress enough how awesome it was to take a picture – get back to a friends place with wifi or jump on my email on my Iphone and fire off a picture to my family. It was so nice to say “LOOK at what I did today”. Instantly. Bam. Gone. I am pretty sure they appreciated it too (“Oh look our daughter/sister/friend is still alive”).
-Doing a roadtrip alone. For all the people who commented, wrote, said and shared that they thought I was SO brave etc for doing it alone – it really wasn’t a big deal. Ever. It was an awesome experience that I would do again in a second. I was never scared, threatened, worried or stressed out during my weeks on the road when I was alone. That said, yes I drove alone most of the time but I was with friends all the time. The only time I wished I had someone riding with me was on the way home across Ontario. I was a little sick of driving at that point and could have used some company – ENTER NAN! Ha. I totally suggest that if you get lonely on your trip just walk into your local animal rescue and adopt a 6 week old puppy. Totally rationale and the right thing to do. Being on the road alone allowed for me to be alone. I hadn’t done that in a super long time and it was a great time to reflect on life. I highly recommend everyone do it.