Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We just bought a travel trailer. My husband and I have always wanted to travel around the United States. I was always thinking to do this it would only take a couple months. I had no idea he was thinking a whole year. I can’t imagine being away from home for an entire year. Do you think he is exaggerating? It has been a constant argument since we discovered our individual concepts of the time it would take to see the country in our new abode on the road. Please help us sort this out.
--Sixty Day Tripper in Delaware
I think you are both way off the mark. So far it has taken me sixty years. Everyone has a different slant on the definition of “seeing the country.” Two months will possibly just whet your appetite. It will be a snapshot, not a full-length movie. If you want to jump on the super slab and see the whole country at 70 m.p.h. you can probably do the miles in a couple months. If you want to travel the Blue Highways, stop and smell the roses, it may take years. My suggestion would be to pick a section of the country you would both like to explore and not try to paint on such a broad canvas. Exploring the country is like eating an elephant, “one bite at a time.” Even sectioning off a piece of the geography will not solve your time dilemma. You will have to decide what you want to explore--the big cities, parks, natural areas, museums, historical sites, eateries, rural communities, or a combination of these and more. If you have the luxury of not setting a time limit, just begin at the beginning and let the trip unfold before you. My wife and I decided to travel for a year when we were 25--we didn’t come back for a decade. The journey will be what you make it. Setting limits and boundaries can hamper the experience of letting the trip take you, instead of you taking the trip.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink