How to travel 4500km in 10 days and love it

For most of my childhood summers, my family drove down to New Jersey to visit my aunt and uncle. 10 hours each way. I loved visiting them, but HATED the drive.

I absolutely dreaded it. 10 hours where my brother was either sleeping or bugging me. 10 hours where I couldn’t even read because I’d get carsick. Those 10 hours were simply a means to an end. It was the only way to get to the fun stuff in New Jersey.

So it’s crazy that as an adult, I willingly planned a 4500km roadtrip. I even came up with the idea and convinced a friend to join me.

But I did and it was spectacular.

Here was our itinerary:
Day 1: Drive to Quebec City (11 hours…including nutty Toronto traffic)
Day 2: Explore Quebec City
Day 3: Drive to Charlottetown, PEI (about 9 hours)
Day 4: Explore PEI – we did Cavendish and Charlottetown
Day 5: Drive to Halifax, Nova Scotia (about 4 hours) and explore
Day 6: Explore Halifax and the area
Day 7: Drive to Hopewell Rocks (2.5 hours), walk along the ocean floor and watch the tide come in. Continue along to Saint John (2.5 more hours).
Day 8: Drive to Boston (7 hours)
Day 9: Explore Boston
Day 10: Drive home (10 hours)

If you were counting, that’s 46 hours of driving. And that doesn’t even include the adventures on our exploration days!

So now that I’m an expert on road trips, here’s how to make them awesome.

1. Go with a friend you love. A friend who challenges you to get out of your comfort zone. A friend who is silly and will pretend the massive closets at the University of PEI (where we stayed in Charlottetown) are gateways to Narnia, but will also have super serious conversations with you about every topic under the sun (you can cover a lot in 46 hours). It’s even better if that friend can speak French as you travel through Quebec…

The best travel buddy a girl could ever ask for, Ali.

The best travel buddy a girl could ever ask for, Ali.

2. Travel to magical places. Places that are so beautiful they take your breath away. Places you’ve read about and heard about.

Quebec City

Quebec City

Cavendish Beach in PEI

Cavendish Beach in PEI

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

Hopewell Rocks in Bay of Fundy (low tide and high tide)

Hopewell Rocks in Bay of Fundy (low tide and high tide)

Saint John - the view from our B&B

Saint John – the view from our B&B

Acorn St. on Beacon Hill in Boston

Acorn St. on Beacon Hill in Boston

3. Be silly. Take jump shots. Go on Segway tours. Create new inside jokes that make you laugh until you cry.

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IMG_2674 IMG_2735Boston segway
4. Meet new people. People that are so different than you. People that are living completely different lives than you, and have completely different world views than you.

Heather, our lovely host in Halifax, and Ali's dear friend.

Heather, our lovely host in Halifax, and Ali’s dear friend.

5. Stay in a variety of places. Consider university residences if you’re travelling in the summer. Try out Air B&B. Stay with friends, or friends of friends.

6. Pack lightly. Because packing and repacking a suitcase five times in nine days is much easier with less stuff.

7. Discover a new podcast. Ali had already listened to Serial, but was willing to listen to it all again and, oh boy, was I ever addicted. I know I was late to this party, but if anyone wants to debrief, please let me know!

8. Experience touristy stuff and local stuff. Say yes to “trivia night” at a local bar and then go to Peggy’s Cove the next day.

Trivia Night in Halifax. We lost.

Trivia Night in Halifax. We lost.

9. Stay at a small B&B to experience hospitality at its finest. We were only at Moore’s Tourist House for a short time, but it was a highlight of the trip. The owner, May, was lovely with real “down east” stories. She even met her husband at a picnic basket auction…Gilmore Girls style! (Don’t worry if you don’t get that reference…May didn’t either).

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10. Eat really good food that is really bad for you. Do at least one day where you don’t eat a single vegetable. Vegetables will still be there when you’re back home.

Poutine in Quebec City

Poutine in Quebec City

Fish and chips in Charlottetown

Fish and chips in Charlottetown

11. End your trip with something really exciting. For us, that was seeing Waitress at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge. And that experience will be a post unto itself.

IMG_2752

Maybe there’s something to this road tripping business afterall…

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7 Responses to How to travel 4500km in 10 days and love it

  1. THIS POST MAKES ME SO HAPPY.

    It was SO MUCH FUN road tripping with you my friend! Can’t imagine doing this trip with anyone else. So…. when do we start planning our next adventure….? 🙂

  2. Jen says:

    #9! Gilmore Girls! picnic basket auction! haha. love it.
    We’re roadtripping to Quebec City next week, maybe i’ll get Allen to listen to Serial too. He hasn’t been exposed yet but I was addicted the first time I listened to it too. So glad you had a great trip!

  3. Pingback: Experiencing Waitress | Choosing Butterflies

  4. Lyndsay says:

    I’m so glad you had a good time and that it was more successful than these trips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tx-6MMeLDXo

  5. Pingback: 2015 in five words | Choosing Butterflies

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