by Lisa BullardEvery 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
by Lisa BullardA 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
by Lisa BullardOnce 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
by Lisa BullardI 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
by Lisa BullardWinters 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
by Lisa BullardI 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
by Lisa BullardUsing 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
by Lisa BullardOne 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
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
by Lisa BullardMy 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
by Lisa BullardOn-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
by Lisa BullardIt’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
by Lisa BullardIf 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
by Lisa BullardIn 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
by Lisa BullardMy 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