8 Reasons Why You Should Road Trip Across The Country

HB Mertz

The road is calling and you must go.

Most people have at some point fantasized about heading out on a that epic adventure-filled road trip across the country. There are a lot of ways to make this dream a reality and in my time on the road I've found that there are plenty of things to motivate you to do it too. These are just a few great reasons why you should take your cross-country road trip, but there are many more. I've done my part in hopefully convincing you to get up and go, now you just have to make it happen!

Photo: HB Mertz

1. You aren't getting any younger

Each day that goes by marks another day that you are getting older, and soon enough, it just won't be possible to do it. Go while you are young, in good health, and don't have the commitments of things like a family that will make it more difficult to take a trip for an extended amount of time. That said, there are plenty of families who have managed to take life on the road so no matter what stage of life you are currently in, it’s never too late.

2. You will meet awesome people from all over the world

The classic question asked while on the road is, "so, where are you from?" I've met guys at the top of Yosemite Falls from Tasmania, and while shooting McWay Falls, I met a guy who drove all the way from Brazil in his van. Every time I have a chance, I love asking this question. Being able to meet new people and stay in touch with them on social media is a unique experience.

3. You get to try new and local foods

I love food, and being on the road means I have the opportunity to try tons of new food, particularly places I can't go to on the East Coast. The mexican food I’ve had in Southern California is a new taste for me and enters my mind frequently when I'm starving. Road tripping will take you to new places like this, and being able to try local food creates new memories in itself.

Photo: Patrick Rooney

4. You get in great shape while enjoying the outdoors

Hiking in general is great for your health and depending on how strenuous the hikes you do along the way are, you have the opportunity to get in great shape. While I don't really have many options to workout, it’s a no brainer to do a 4 mile hike through a place like Yosemite, where you get to see beautiful scenery while getting a workout.

5. You don't have anyone telling you what to do

Aside from the park ranger telling you that you are in fact not allowed to hop the fence at Glacier Point in Yosemite, nobody has control over what you do during a road trip. You have the freedom to go where you want and when you want. Your schedule is up to you and there is something incredibly liberating about waking up and not knowing quite what you are going to do that day.

6. You get to sleep in really cool places

Camping in general while on the road will lead you to some unique spots that are typically off the beaten path and away from the crowds. Sometimes you have to get creative, and this makes it even more memorable. For example, I camped along Big Sur with my hammock strung between two trees, high above the ocean. The spot took me awhile to find, but finally finding a place to crash and settling in for the night was something I will never forget.

Photo: Matthew Eaton

7. You get time to think

Driving across the country means long hours in the car. I like to put my drives to good use and do some serious thinking. This is a great time to be alone with your thoughts and dive into some introspection. Being trapped in a busy life makes it hard to do this sometimes, and driving across the country will give you much needed time for reflection.

8. You get off the grid

Leaving your phone and computer is something that is tough at first, but has become a great part of my trip. Most parks have really spotty service, so you are forced to leave your technology in the car. Once you learn to get by without technology, it is incredibly freeing and you have the ability to take in the things around you better. It's always good to do this once a while, and a road trip is just the time for it.

Photo: Christin Healey

Cover photo: HB Mertz

Published: August 20, 2015

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