Nervous Jitters. Night Before the Big Trip Starts.

Submitted by Robin Olson on Sat, 10/11/2008 - 17:45

My stomach is a tight knot of fear. I must be the only person in the world who doesn't want to go on a vacation and would prefer to stay home with her cats and calm life.

Now, to be clear, is driving about 12 hours a day for 4 days a vacation? Is doing this ALONE a vacation? Not sure it is.

I'm driving to Fallon, Nevada to visit my friend Chuck and his son, Max. I haven't seen Chuck for about eight years, just after Max was born. I got this big idea to drive because I HATE to fly so much! It scares the daylights out of me and I find the entire airport/airplane experience draining, uncomfortable and uncivilized—not to mention there's barely any breathable air on a plane and what little there is is full of other people's creepy germs.

Do I really want to fly? Sure it's only about 10 hours (if on time) of flying in two or more airplanes to get to Reno, then rent a car, then drive to Fallon and pass out.

Instead, I came up with the bright idea to DRIVE! I LOVE road trips! I've been CRAVING a drive on the OPEN road—not the uber-congested, dare devil laden raceways we have here. Where it's nice and flat and you can see for miles. It's just you and the road.

So then it hits me. I've never driven that far by MYSELF in MY LIFE! I think the furthest I've gone alone is about 400 miles, tops. Then the reality begins to sink in, and along with it goes my self esteem. Do I really think I can do this trip? What about what the lady at AAA told me when I was picking up maps?

"You DO have AAA PLUS, don't you? You'll definitely want to upgrade your coverage if you don't already have it because, GOD FORBID, you need to be towed, well we cover that for the first 100 miles free and if you needed TWO TOW TRUCKS to get you out of a ditch, then the first is ALWAYS free and the second is deeply discounted! Also, if you lock yourself out of your car we have free locksmith services and if you run out of gas, well you know we can't fill up your car, but we can bring you a few gallons to get you to the next gas station."

My Insane Adventure

Great. This is when I began to wonder if I was doing the right thing—driving alone, 2743 miles to the middle of nowhere in a car that has 124,000 miles on it, running with summer wheels (while it's snowing in the Rockies as I write this), I just got a friggen' counter-intuitive GPS I can't figure out how to operate, so I went back to printing directions out using Google Maps and hoping for the best. I also thought I'd upgrade the head unit on my car, FINALLY get an iPOD (I may be the last person on Earth to buy one) and load my brilliant playlists and have oodles of magnificent music to listen to as my cares dissolve into the asphalt, BUT I can't figure out HOW to use my new head unit and I'm leaving in the morning!


I'm a big coward. I want to get away, but I don't want to go alone. I wish something would happen so I would have to stay home, but then I fear if I really wish that, something terrible will happen and I'd rather just have a stomach ache and see if I can do this, than have something awful occur. I think part of my fear is that I don't know my own self. I don't know what I want to do with my life. I'm at a crossroads. I no longer need to care for my elderly parents. I am finished with closing up their Estate. I've had a few years to mourn and now I need to know what to make of my life.

What is my life without my parents? My sense of family has disintegrated. I find I'm making a new family out of friends and extended family I've only recently been acquainted with. It is what I make of it and I long to have connections to other people. My life is very quiet and rather lonely. It's a sweetly sad solitude, pardon the alliteration.

SO WHY AM I DRIVING AWAY, ALONE, FOR TWO WEEKS OR MORE????? I hope to find something of myself. Find my spine. Find my heart. Find out some things.

I'm so scared I've delayed leaving for three days. Sure there were plenty of good reasons, but the closer I get to turning the key and firing the ignition, the more I realize that all I need is right here, right now and I don't have to drive all over the place to know that.

Next stop, Chicago!