I’m not yet ready to publish a reflection on 2022 as a whole, but as we get ready to welcome 2023, I added up my 2022 solo/sole driver road trip stats and was amazed.
– In January, V and I packed up both our cars and moved from Mexico to Virginia. In total, we each drove 1,940 miles (3,122 kilometers) over five days, caravaning from Mexico across Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee to Virginia.
– In March, I drove from Virginia to Florida and back to attend a baby shower and visit friends. In total, I drove 2,041 miles (3,285 kilometers) in six days across North and South Carolina and Georgia.
– In May, I drove from Virginia to see my parents on the west coast and returned in June. This was my heftiest trip in terms of mileage, as I traveled 7,952 miles (12,798 kilometers) during the 25-day trip. I hit 18 states (some more than once, on the way back) and two Indian reservations: Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Iowa, the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, and Crow Agency.
– In August, V, my stepdaughter A, and I took a 10-day road trip through part of the former Yugoslavia as an addition to a family visit in Macedonia. I haven’t written about this yet for the blog, but I will. Because the car was a six-speed manual transmission and I was the only one who could drive it, I drove almost exactly 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) across Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Croatia.
– In November, I again drove from Virginia to see my parents on the west coast and returned in December. Even though it largely mirrored my May/June trip to the west coast, the mileage was slightly lower, at 6,446 miles (10,374 kilometers) because I didn’t have the dog adoption debacle to deal with (in which I’d picked up the puppy we adopted in Iowa and driven to Illinois before realizing I needed to return her). Also, in the summer I’d made multiple side trips around the Bay Area, Tahoe, and Sacramento areas to visit people while I was at my mom’s, which in this trip I didn’t do. In the autumn trip I hit the same 18 states, plus added Minnesota, Wisconsin, and West Virginia since I took a slightly different route. I still need to write about this trip for the blog too.
– Later in December, I had flown to my mom’s in California for Christmas, but took a side road trip up to Washington state and back to see my dad and stepmom. In total, I drove 1,805 miles (2,905 kilometers) across California, Oregon, and Washington. I will write about this when I chronologically get to writing a holiday post, as well.
Travel days: 73
Distance: 21,427 miles (34,483 km)
Territory: 5 countries, 28 states, 2 Indian reservations (Mexico, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, TX, AR, TN, VA, NC, SC, GA, FL, MD, PA, OH, IN, IL, WI, MN, SD, WY, MT, ID, WA, OR, CA, NV, UT, NE, IA, MO, WV, Northern Cheyenne, Crow Agency)
Speeding tickets: 0
[… Of course, none of this counts regular daily driving throughout the year and about 405 miles of little beach trips to Delaware, my bonus 29th state for the year!]
All in all, 2022 was a terrific year for getting out into nature and hitting the open road. I’m fortunate that I was circumstantially able to make all of this happen: flexible enough remote work, a lot of annual leave and concurrent portfolio coverage available, and the finances to pay for all this travel. I also experienced no car troubles on the road and was able to travel alone safely, something I will also comment about in future posts.
When people ask me, “You know there are airplanes, right?” it makes me laugh. I want to reply, “You know I’ve lived abroad five times, right?” Before the pandemic I flew on planes like it was my actual job.
I get that driving like this isn’t for everybody. But my travels this year were so much more than a Point A to Point B exercise. After living mostly outside the United States since 2015, I needed to see something of my own country. We are so fortunate here to be able to travel unimpeded and in relative safety across such a tremendously vast and beautiful territory. And I needed to clear my mind, majorly, after the stressful events of the last year and a half. I needed to face down a GPS that said, 44 hours and nearly three thousand miles to your destination, and watch that peel off, bit by bit. And I needed to get out of the car and run around it like a champion on the other side. And then repeat it, again, and again, and again.
And I would do it all again. In fact, I suspect I will do it all again. Just because we are on a domestic assignment doesn’t mean the travel bug is not still alive and well.
Happy New Year!
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