One week from today, on February 15, I’ll be setting out on a 60-day road trip around the United States.
I’ve done this before. Those of you who have been reading for a while may remember the WBSQ Road Trip 2010 project I undertook with Ash Ambirge and Andi Norris (and for the latter-part of the journey, Maren Kate Donovan).
We zig-zagged our way around the country, and in the process wrote a lot of travel stories, created numerous (and somewhat bizarre) videos, and met a whole lot of really cool people in real life, including, but not limited to Josh Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, Nina Yau, Matt Stillman, Elisa Doucette, Arielle Patrice Scott, Jodi Ettenberg, Daniel Noll & Audrey Scott, Amber Rae, Tony Bacigalupo, Kristin Quinn, Robert Granholm, Greg Rollett, Carl Nelson, Andrew Norcross, Nicole Antoinette, Jamie Varon, Adam Baker, Joel Runyon, Zachory Zorbas, Matt Cheuvront, Grace Boyle, James Ryan Moreau, Chelsea Latimer, Josh Hanagarne, Jenny Blake, Amber Zuckswert, Jun Loayza, Mark Powers, Josh Stevens, and many, many, many more.
These people (and the others we met along the way) helped make the road trip into an amazing experience, and I’m bracing myself to be just as blown away this time around. Thanks again to everyone involved in that last road trip; it was over a year ago, but I still have many fond memories of it that I check back in with frequently.
This time, I’ll be traveling with a new blogger named Jóna Hildur Sigurðardóttir.
Those of you who are subscribed to Exiles will likely recognize Jóna as the gal I dated at the end of my time in Iceland, and who I then convinced to come live with me in Kolkata. She also happens to be a professional sushi chef, an educated expert in comparative literature, and one hell of a fashion designer. You may also know her as ‘That Chick With Blue Hair and the Enormous Salvador Dali Tattoo in Colin’s Photos.’ That’s her middle name.
On top of the change in travel company, instead of taking a car, we’ll be exploring aboard Greyhound buses.
First, they’re the only form of ground-based mass-transit available in the US that goes all the places we want to go.
Second, they’ve got a fairly mixed reputation, and that interests us. You get from place-to-place using other services, but you don’t stand the chance of getting abandoned by your driven mid-route, or sitting next to an incarcerated prisoner. We’re not sponsored by Greyhound, either, so we assume we’ll get some great stories from the spaces in between cities.
Finally, they have this thing called a Discovery Pass, which is essentially an ‘all-you-can-ride’ ticket. We’re opting for the 60-day version, which will cost us all of $556, a ridiculously low sum (as you’ll know if you’ve ever taken a road trip and paid for the gas).
This is going to be a super-cheap way for us to see the country, and that’s part of the plan: we’re intending to put together a guide of sorts that will give step-by-step instructions on how to undertake your own ‘New Great American Road Trip,’ and the theory is that such a road trip could be undertaken by just about anyone with a few weeks or a few months to spare, regardless of how big their wallets happen to be.
How You Can Be Involved
Want to meet up with Jóna and I? Want to meet up with other people in your area? Want an excuse to get out for a drink or a meal or an adventure?
Excellent! There are several ways to get involved with this road trip.
One way is to host Jóna and I as we pass through your city or town. We’re going to be choosing our stops based on where we have a proffered bed or couch or floorspace to sleep, so if you’ve got someplace we can crash for a night, let me know and I’ll add you to our list of potential stopover spots.
Another way would be to play tour guide and show us your hometown and the things that make it special. In my experience, even the tiniest little township has something unique, and that’s what we’re looking to see. This is Jóna’s first time in the US (except for a short visit to Disneyland when she was a kid), too, so even if your town isn’t terribly interesting to you, it likely will be to us. Drop me a line!
Finally, if you want to get together a Tweetup in your area (a real-life get-together organized online), let me know. We’ll plan a tentative day to show up, and will try to get as many people in the same spot at the same time as possible. Even if just a few people show, there’s a good chance we’ll all meet some great new friends, share stories, and have a grand ol’ time. Down to give it a shot?
Again, our route will be determined by where we have places to crash and do stuff, so let me know if you’re interested in hosting, touring-guiding, or partying with us somewhere along the way!
For additional inspiration, here’s a brief collection of photos from the last road trip in 2010. As you can see, everyone involved had a ball, and I’d love to have some photos of you to include as inspiration the next time around!
Thanks in advance, and don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions!