Depicted in media as the ‘life-changing’ prequel to a journey that can potentially change lives, road trips are nothing but glorified torture. Take it from someone who has been on way too many of them- they come with their own set of trials and tribulations.
Imagine being stuck in a moving metal box for an absurd number of hours, unable to sleep. Cramped. Exhausted. Stuck in the back seat next to the luggage, switching between staring at your phone and the empty expanse of buildings and farms you’re passing by. Stopping at a petrol station to pee, holding your breath because of how bad it smells, and then coming back to the car to continue this undignified torture. Oh, did I mention road-tripping on your period is an experience that can make the sanest people jump out of the window to end their misery?
I didn’t grow up with a family where everyone happily plays Antaakshri and we all travel together, laughing and having fun like a big family. In my family, we start out on the road trip by plugging in the GPS, talking for a bit till everyone falls silent; sleeping or scrolling on our phones while some random radio station plays in the background.
Road trips are great until you’re stuck in traffic and want to pee and there is a roadblock and your stomach is growling- but all you can do is listen to music and watch out from your window while your parents blame the authorities on mismanagement.Richa Shukla, 2nd Year, Hindu College
Sleep too is a lucky occurrence. It goes beyond me that some people can sleep with their heads thrown back. Sleeping with your head against the window ensures that your skull cracks itself every time you cross a speed breaker, and lying down across the back seat is an option for short people only. Oh, did I mention that falling off the backseat is also a possibility when it comes to speed breakers? Those contraptions really do spare no one.
“But Chiransha, Road trips with friends are so much fun!”- My friends and I can barely make it through a sleepover without falling asleep – do you think we’ll be able to make it through a road trip? Zindagi Na Milegi Dubara lied to us. No one wants to sit in a convertible in the glaring sun for four hours straight, pretending like they’re enjoying themselves. The sunburn and tangled hair are not worth it.
I hate road trips because I have motion sickness. But if I were drunk and with my boyfriend on a road trip, then there’d be no motion sickness, only lovesickness. Even with friends, it would be fun, but the roads here are not nice. I’m sure I’ll love road trips somewhere else.Satemnuchetla Longchari, 2nd Year, Hindu College
The only redeeming part about road trips is the food. If you’re lucky enough to be travelling through Punjab or Rajasthan – the dhabas there are extraordinary. But then, so much of it is up to chance. On road trips, it’s a constant question of “hmmm, will we get food today?” Not every highway is surrounded by great food joints. Sometimes you’ll have to settle with chips by obscure brands and Coke, sometimes you get Butter Chicken, and on others, you find McDonald’s.
Some might argue that it is the scenery that matters. Yes, travelling through mountains (if your stomach can handle it) does trump travelling through the empty ‘Sarson ke khet’, but for how long does the scenery look pretty? One hour? Two?
When my father was posted in Kashmir, our family used to travel five hours from Jammu to where he was posted, every holiday. Between stopping for my brother to puke out the window and staring at the valley on loop – the experience was enough to ruin road trips of any kind for me, forever.
I think I love road trips because of the vibe. Having vibey, great music playing in the background while you’re travelling somewhere scenic – that is the most fun part for me.A Student of Hindu College who wished to be Anonymous
Give me a train ride over a road trip any day. Even a flight. Anything through a train window looks beautiful. Empty fields, roads jammed with traffic; there are so many lovely memories, so much nostalgia attached to train journeys. From fighting with my brother for the top bunk to taking my father’s help to climb up there, to doing it on my own eventually as I grew up, I grew up on these train rides. Even poori bhujia on a train tastes like the best food in the entire world.
While cars are secluded, trains expose you to life in all shapes and forms. I remember learning how to count in Spanish when I was 8, after meeting a lovely couple from Spain in my coach. I remember friends that I made but never met again, I even remember convincing my father to buy comic books from the station. Would a road trip provide you with the same experience? Maybe.
But until then, my hatred for road trips continues to live on.
Feature Image Credits: Outsideways