Exploring is the greatest adventure I can imagine. Traveling to new places and seeing this great country of mine has been my dream since I struck out on my own at 17. I’ve travelled by bus, foot and by car across three provinces, one territory and eight U.S. States during my lifetime.
A good portion of that travel has been with a traveling buddy. Often though, I’ve struck out on my own to explore. From fossil hunting to hunting for abandoned RCMP forts, and visiting National Parks; it’s in my nature to find and experience the history and natural beauty that is a big part of Canada and our southerly neighbour.
I’ve been traveling solo for the past two years. I’ve logged more than 45,000 kilometres and I’ve done my fair share of stops in new cities or towns with either motel stays or stopping roadside and camping in my vehicle. I have a fair advantage nowadays by way of a vehicle to get me places, but I think about my personal safety all the time even though I’m in my metal box.
The following are five of my top tips while traveling alone:
Make a travel plan, share a travel plan
Being an organizer, I like pulling out the maps (yes, the paper kind), and setting up on the Google for a good planning session. An honest to god roadmap is something I always have in my vehicle; you just never know when that handy-dandy cell phone is going to crap out.
Once I’m comfortable and have my virtual and physical maps ready I calculate the hours, the kilometres and how many dollar bills I’ll need for gas to travel that distance with a little buffer for those “just in case” moments. I like the feature in my truck that tells me how many kilometres I get to a tank of gas, it is a great co-pilot to my excessive need to being prepared. Don’t get me wrong though, prepared does not equal boring. Every trip has its own special brand of adventurous fun.
If you don’t have this feature in your vehicle then use your trip-metre that comes standard with every vehicle to easily calculate your vehicles capacity. Simply zero the trip-metre out at your next fill and you can do the approximate math at any of the fuel gauge marks or go until she’s empty and take the final reading before you fill it up next.
Once all those details are ironed out I check out the interesting stops that are along the way. I’ll pick from between two to five stops depending on the travel distance and read up on the sites I plan on stopping at. I usually gauge for a half-hour to an hour for each stop depending on its interest value or photographic potential and add that to my travel plan.
Once I’ve finalized my travel plan I will share it with some of my favourite, most important people like my children, my mother and one other close contact.
Then, I stick to that plan.
Next week’s topic: Be well known, not a stranger passing through.