Writing Road Trip



by Lisa Bullard Every year, thou­sands of bik­ers road trip to Stur­gis (South Dako­ta) to cel­e­brate their shared pas­sion for motor­cy­cles. For some of them, atten­dance is an eager­ly antic­i­pat­ed annu­al tra­di­tion that holds the same pow­er found in spir­i­tu­al rit­u­als. One year my friend and I were caught unawares in the mid­dle of the expe­ri­ence.… more


Through the Woods

by Lisa Bullard A few years ago I decid­ed to vis­it a friend in North Car­oli­na over the hol­i­days, and the only way I could afford the air­fare was to fly on Christ­mas Day. I admit to a case of self pity as I set out, pic­tur­ing the rest of the world in their new paja­mas, open­ing presents and rev­el­ing in a hol­i­day feast, while I suf­fered the long lines, cramped seats, and oth­er indig­ni­ties that air trav­el offers What was I think­ing, leav­ing home for Christ­mas?… more


Crossing the Border

by Lisa Bullard Once when flying back to the U.S. from Cana­da I met up with some zeal­ous bor­der con­trol agents. The cus­toms guy want­ed a detailed descrip­tion of what I’d pur­chased. I bought one of those sou­venir snow globes with a lit­tle Moun­tie inside,” I said. The guy thought a moment and then sad­ly shook his head.… more


Packing List

by Lisa Bullard I gen­er­ate a flur­ry of lists for every road trip: A “bizarre attrac­tions to stop and see” list. A “things to tell the cat-sit­ter” list. A pack­ing list. I love lists. I love them so much I have a whole jour­nal full of dif­fer­ent sorts of lists — I write down every­thing from house­hold repairs to my buck­et list.… more


Winter Roads

by Lisa Bullard Win­ters add the ele­ment of sur­prise to the Min­neso­ta dri­ving equa­tion. Mid-jour­ney, you can be sucked into one of the car-devour­ing pot­holes caused by my state’s rad­i­cal tem­per­a­ture changes. Or you can skid on a decep­tive slick of black ice, and end up strad­dling a snow bank. In those moments, you real­ize that your trip isn’t going to turn out as you thought it would.… more


Home Away from Home

by Lisa Bullard I like to play a cer­tain game when I’m trav­el­ing. I pre­tend that the place I’m vis­it­ing is my home, and I imag­ine how my life would have been altered if I had in fact tak­en root in that oth­er envi­ron­ment. How would things be dif­fer­ent for me if my world swirled amidst New York City’s self-ful­­fil­l­ing ener­gy?… more


Plotting Your Route

by Lisa Bullard Using an “I’ll just see where the road takes me” approach has led me on all sorts of adven­tures. But it’s also meant I’ve arrived at mid­night and dis­cov­ered every hotel room in town is rent­ed to lum­ber­jacks. I still don’t plan ahead for lum­ber­jack influx­es — I figure one of those per life­time is prob­a­bly my quo­ta — but that expe­ri­ence has forced me to rethink my approach a bit.… more


Round Trip

by Lisa Bullard One of life’s great sat­is­fac­tions is return­ing home after a long jour­ney. We rejoice in the famil­iar clasp of our own bed, in the brac­ing taste of our home air. Every­thing seems com­fort­ing­ly the same, yet also fresh and remark­able. This is because, even if home has stayed the same, jour­ney­ing has changed us.… more


East, or West?

by Lisa Bullard I think road-trip­ping togeth­er should be a require­ment for every cou­ple con­tem­plat­ing life part­ner­ship. There are few oth­er cir­cum­stances that allow you to so quick­ly learn about how some­one nav­i­gates through life. Would you rather plan the whole trip in advance, or just get in the car and dri­ve? Do you stop and ask for direc­tions, or go ahead and get lost?… more


Are We There Yet?

by Lisa Bullard My Texas grand­par­ents  usu­al­ly made the long dri­ve to Min­neso­ta. But the sum­mer I was thir­teen, my par­ents piled me, my two younger broth­ers, and a bor­rowed boy cousin into the old sta­tion wag­on and head­ed us south. I escaped into the far back, prop­ping myself up on suit­cas­es and read­ing a thou­sand-page-long Civ­il War nov­el called House Divid­ed.more


Places We Never Expected to Go

by Lisa Bullard On-the-road Lisa is dif­fer­ent than Lisa-at-home. Trav­el­ing Lisa takes big­ger risks. She’s less respon­si­ble. She puts her­self in the way of more trou­ble. You might almost call her my Evil Twin. Some­thing hap­pens when I’ve moved out­side my com­fort zone. I per­ceive things in a fresh way. I feel a free­dom to be some­one oth­er than who I usu­al­ly am.… more


You Be Thelma, I’ll Be Louise

by Lisa Bullard It’s best to bring a bud­dy when you hit the high­way. With a trav­el­ing com­pan­ion along for the ride, the guf­faws are loud­er.  The adven­tures are grander. The late-night soul-search­ing is more soul­ful. Then there are times like the morn­ing I woke up mid-road trip with severe food poi­son­ing in Myr­tle Beach, a day before need­ing to catch a plane in Raleigh.… more


Shifting Drivers

by Lisa Bullard If you go road trip­ping with enough dif­fer­ent peo­ple, you dis­cov­er anoth­er way that human beings sort them­selves out: into the dri­vers of the world, and the pas­sen­gers of the world. The dri­vers are only com­plete­ly hap­py when they have con­trol of the steer­ing wheel. But, on every trip, there comes a point where they tire out and lose their con­cen­tra­tion. … more


Traveling Abroad

by Lisa Bullard In col­lege I spent a month trav­el­ing in Europe. I savored dozens of excit­ing new foods. But it was the ketchup — some­thing I usu­al­ly took for grant­ed — that stood out. For­eign ketchup was so for­eign. Had ketchup become so famil­iar at home that I’d stopped notic­ing its taste? Was it because I was eat­ing ketchup in Switzer­land that it seemed like I was tast­ing ketchup for the first time?… more


Changing Course

by Lisa Bullard My fam­i­ly didn’t camp when I was a kid. So a few years ago, when a friend asked if I want­ed to go on a camp­ing trip to Arkansas, I said, “Sure. I’ve always want­ed to try camp­ing. It will be fun.” I assumed there would be lots of yum­my toast­ed-marsh­­mal­low moments. You know what they say about mak­ing assump­tions, right?… more