Road Trippin' South - Nomadic Travel
I often think I might have been born while on a long pilgrimage, in a past life. In this life I have spent a good chunk of it on the road, and I've loved all of it. From the week long car journeys from the bottom of Australia, through the Outback, up to the North to the last minute weekend jaunts to see relatives in the Victorian countryside. I've done coastal rides with lovers, campervan journeys with friends; parking our car and sleeping on the side of the road (in the van). I've toured with a band, traveled with my uncle in an old ambulance, done cross country in Australia more than I can count on one hand. I am most comfortable when i am moving.
So when an opportunity to get in on a road trip occurs, I rarely pass it up.
And an opportunity presented itself, last week, during a conversation with a mate who was taking a spontaneous and unorganized road trip to Savannah for no other reason other than the fact that he had never been.
The best kind of reason. So, I invited myself.
The day before we were 'scheduled' to leave I called and asked what the plan was - since we hadn't discussed it and I'm not good at plans. Which is why Type A personalities rarely want to stay friends with me, and staying grounded in a business is one of my greatest challenges.
My friend didn't have a plan - brilliant! - The only thing we agreed to was that we would leave his home in upstate N.Y. at 2pm on Monday and drive for 6 hours. From there, we'd just look for one of those road side motels to lay our heads and that's exactly what happened. Our first night, we found a sweet $89 a night room in Jessup, MD.
The best thing we found in Jessup was an organic supermarket called Mrs Moms...but it's claim to fame is that it lies in between two cities and people seemed quite proud of that.
Day 2 we headed to Greensboro, NC to catch up with some very special family friends of mine and two rambunctious, teeth baring dogs. I didn't actually have their address by the time we got to Greensboro (seriously...that's how unorganized we were) and we read on twitter that there was a new bar/restaurant opening called Char Bar and it had a happy hour going on right when we arrived. So, we were quite happy to get there. Eventually we got our address and made our way to my friends house where we ate thai, drank wine and talked old times.
We carried onto Savannah early the next morning.
It's a lovely ride in over a long, beautiful bridge. The town is to the left, hidden in the trees with only a few building peaks coming out. There are no tall buildings.
Cruising into town, you guessed it - with no place to stay - we circled the downtown, and a few streets beyond, to decide where we wanted to stay. We settled on a Marriot that was at the far end of the waterfront 'downtown' who were having a great deal on hotels.com. We parked the car and walked the rest of the time we were there.
I fell instantly in love with this quaint city. Wide tree lined streets, old buildings dripping with history, crawling greenery, super friendly people, a strong arts scene, hip and creative looking people and great food.
I was reminded of my home town of Melbourne a little bit. Lots of parks and people riding bikes. A major plus in my book.
Coffee: Coffee Fox. These guys absolutely know what they're doing. Don't even waste your time at Starbucks and I wouldn't spend much time looking elsewhere. They've got it all here.
Afternoon glass of wine & appetizer: Dept. 7 east (bright and airy place; modern meets rustic decor, super friendly bar staff.
Dinner/drinks: Circa 1875. Every local will tell you to go there. Unpretentious Parisian gastropub. Truffle fries rocked.
Lunch: The Public Kitchen (we both loved our meals there and sat outside on the street seating. Perfect day)
It was also recommended that we go to Olde Pink House for dinner. We were only there one night so we skipped the dinner but decided to head to the basement for drinks - which was another recommendation...but it turned out it was grab a granny night. Seriously no one over 58. Which is fine, just wasn't the vibe we were looking for.
Our 2nd day in Savanna was mostly spent walking.and then decided to hit the road the next day to move onto Charleston. A city that was equally as beautiful and a place that had just as much charm.
In Charleston, we stayed at the Indigo Inn, right in the heart of downtown, for $149 a night. 5pm complimentary wine and fruit and cheese spread and a full breakfast! Amazing deal and gorgeous little inn with a great location.
We ate at a local thai place and then made our way for drinks on the roof at Stars.
The trip didn't consist of a lot of 'sightseeing', it's not the way I travel, nor the way my friend does. Thankfully. It's mostly about who we meet, the food we eat and observing the nuances of a city. So we ate, drank, walked, made friends and just hung out. I was stopped countless times for the new Mandala Kimono I was sporting and my fringe fatale boho tote.
I was surprised at the style I encountered in the South. I think I was expecting a host of southern belle's (no matter how much I have traveled, stereotypes still creep in) Turns out the south is a Love Nomadic place; hip, open-hearted and creative.
I think the best thing about the trip though was the long journey in the car, talking and laughing and listening to music. We drove with the top down for as long as we could and watched the full moon rise over the marshes of South Carolina on our way home. We stopped at rest stops and made our lunches and talked some more.
We hashed our life plans and put past woes to rest and got to see another part of this beautiful country. We heart the south.
Tips for Road Tripping with friends:
Not all friends should holiday together. There are plenty of my friends who I should never spend a week in a car with, they'll end up wanting to kill me. I'm not an planner, I feel cheated of spontaneity and surprise when I have to plan something. It's not that I can't plan ahead, it's just that I don't like to when I don't need to.
So, if I am traveling with a friend, expectations have be clearly discussed and I know I have to give in a little and I ask that they relax a little. I'm happy for them to plan essentials like hotel and transport but when it comes to my day to day experience...let me to my own thing.
Communication is key and you both/all have to give up something
Work out your budget together, being honest about what you can each afford.
Don't expect to do everything together. Personal space is important.
Make sure you share the driving and adjust your driving to make your passenger feel comfortable and safe rather than focusing on getting anywhere fast. This should be discussed.
Either get put some money on a gas card together, give equal amounts cash at the beginning of the trip or alternate paying (although this can be tricky because some stations will be more expensive than others.
Gas & Tolls are important logistics to cover.
Respect each other's quirks, let go of big expectations and let the journey unfold before you, rather than trying to control it
Most importantly...you know it...have fun!