Blaine Flamig, a writer for Smart Computing Magazine is a SRT fan. I realize the magazine is an unlikely one to feature road trips but there’s a rule that says never turn down an opportunity to spread the word, assuming you have one. I do. So I did. Besides, geeks and nerds drive don’t they??
When I’d worn thin the pages with my interview and got enough coffee rings on the first copy to need the second copy, I finally turned over a few other pages and was pleasantly surprised at the usefulness of the content For instance, the article “What To Do When Your PC is Slow” resulted in my trashing the Sony PC and getting a Mac. “Cloud Backup – How it Works, Why It’s Safe”, saw Carbonite becoming my new best friend. Although I have to add, they are slow slow slow. The initial backup of the new Mac took several weeks – no kidding. I no longer needed the article “Sync Your PC & Mac”, because I no longer had a PC, but “Erase Your Hard Drive”, stepped up in importance for the PC that now sat sullen on the floor, haughtily held all my secrets in the world. There were more articles that dead-eyed ‘inquiring minds want to know’, but I never got past the titles – figured one more unusual charge and the credit card company would be calling to see what the hell I was up to.
Either I’m a sucker and extremely susceptible to suggestion or the magazine is a mind reader for those of us who know just enough to be dangerous with everything IT, but have lingering questions that no one else seems to address.
SRT in Smart Computing Magazine
Smart Computing – Tell us about the blog’s origins.
SRT: I’ve always wanted to call myself a writer and not laugh and stutter while saying it. So I figured a blog would give me reason enough to finally apply the description with a straight face. Having spent 40 years dreaming about travel and exploration, I married a man with some means and realized the road trip travel style I thought had been a necessity due to limited funds, was instead my preference. When that nugget of truth surfaced, the blog gained a platform and I, a voice. I must confess however that I did upgrade my travel vehicle from a front wheel drive 1993 Mazda MX-6 (just enough clearance to not be a turtle killer), to a new Onstar equipped, heated seats, 4-wheel drive Yukon. It doesn’t shudder when I take it places we really shouldn’t be.
Smart Computing – What draws you to traveling and to solo road trips in particular?
SRT: Dreams. And an early understanding the people who lived just down our dirt road lived much different lives (and I wanted to know how and why). Well that’s what drew me to travel in general. The solo road trips were born during the hard charging years of 60+ hour weeks in the financial services industry – retail with an ego. What initially began as a way to cope and survive evolved into a passion. Heaped on top of the high stress work, I’m a people pleaser. I think some of us are predisposed to be people pleasers and that’s not something you can escape by leaving a career. And I don’t think that label is reserved to women. The only way to escape the cursed fussing over others is to separate ourselves completely.
Short of becoming a hermit, a periodic unplugging from that predisposition is an intoxicating, rejuvenating breath of air that no amount of money can buy. Blog readers have asked me about taking a dog for a companion because they can’t fathom being totally alone. Of course I couldn’t care less if you want to take a dog. But I will tell you the experience will be completely different. The liberation of making decisions on the fly, as fast as the brain can process, unfettered by the diplomatic process of asking what someone/something wants to eat, see, do, and when, is something everyone should experience once.
About the whole you-go-on-solo-road-trips-so-you-can-do-things-you-wouldn’t-do-at-home, you know the ‘what happens on the road stays on the road’? Afraid not. Diane Arbus, the famed photographer took that tact, and she wasn’t a very happy person. I’m a fan of her work, but if I’d ever had the opportunity to speak with her I would have strongly advised against the sex with strangers on Greyhound buses. I go on SRTs as a release from being gracious and interested (always sincerely – it’s part of the curse of being a people pleaser). I don’t want to create any new ties, have any appointments, no one to see on the return trip, lunches with friends, time targets to meet, some strange someone knowing where I’m headed, who I am, etc.. I go to shed myself if only for a tiny, but perfect slice of time.
Smart Computing – Has the blog turned out to be what you originally intended?
SRT: Of course not. I had no original intention anyway, really. It’s become more impassioned towards road trip travel than I’d originally foreseen. My own beliefs toward travel, road trips, solitude, discovery, have been not surprisingly, honed by the exercise of writing down my thoughts. The blog has gained focus over time. I’ve become the purveyor of the road trip revolution, at least in my own mind. I believe it’s possible to travel on a walk to the local grocery store. I don’t subscribe to the notion there’s a difference between travelers and tourists and personally feel that entire argument arose from the arrogance of those travelers looking down their noses at those on tour coaches, exiting en masse with cameras in hand. Those who gag on the word tourist couldn’t travel down their own street and do it well.
Smart Computing – What has the reaction been in general to the blog?
SRT: Excellent. Surprising. Unexpected. I’ve been published because of the blog. Had a book deal and movie rights purchased. NOT. Writing opportunities have however come my way. Being a writer? It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Hard work, low pay, nothing glamorous. It’s interesting to hear the comments about how afraid people are to travel alone, to be alone, to drive off into the sunset alone. Again, I’m not talking solely about women. The “I really want to do this but I’m afraid to do this alone” is something I hear more from men than women. It surprised me too.
We’ve become so plugged-in the connections have morphed into chains. Now we don’t know what to do with the gorgeous sunset when there’s no one to text, no one to email, no one to speak to next to us. The power to self entertain may be the greatest death of our technological advancements.
Here’s the full blurb about SRT that appeared in the magazine’s monthly feature: “That’s News to You.”
Join the Road Trip Revolution at the Solo Road Trip Facebook Fan Page, here.