Did you know that you could learn a lot about yourself by spending 31 hours of driving solo across a good portion of the United States? Did you also know that you could end up riding a horse if you go to Knoxville?
Well, you can. And I did. I spent a few days driving from Houston, to Knoxville, to Nashville, and back to Houston. I stayed the night in Birmingham, Alabama on the drive out to Knoxville, and I stayed the night in the middle of backwoods Hills Have Eyes kinda territory somewhere outside of Memphis on the way back home to Houston.
Total miles: 1,921.9 mi
Total drive time: 31 hours
Below are 10 things that I learned about myself and about my business while driving solo.
1. I learned that I can still get all of my work done while I’m on the road. I pulled over at a café with Wi-Fi to check in on my clients during the day. I stopped in for the night at random (sometimes shady) hotels so that I could work for a few hours in the morning and at night. I got my things done. And I did it all while traveling! This made me proud, and it was reassuring to me because this is how I’ve decided to set up my company – completely virtual and location-independent.
2. While I can get all of my work done while I’m traveling, it’s difficult for me to create something new while traveling. For me, I work best when I’m somewhere comfortable and familiar. That’s when I’m most focused and when I’m most creative! While I certainly succeeded at maintaining what I was already working on, I was unable to create new content or make any progress on my soon-to-be-launched online marketing e-course (sign up here to stay in the loop on this one…)!
3. The people I meet while bouncing around are awesome. I learned a lot from some conversations with fellow bloggers and business owners while I was in Tennessee, and it gave me a lot to think about while I was driving all day long. I came back feeling inspired, energized, and ready to rock just by bouncing ideas back and forth with a few people I admire… like so and like so!
4. My voice was not built for singing, and hotels with bars on the windows should not be slept in (seriously… what is wrong with me? I must have been SUPER tired to think that this was acceptable).
5. Driving long distances is a great time to catch up with friends and to take your mind off of your work for a little bit. (Using a hands-free device, of course)! After all, you can’t think about business for 31 hours or you’ll become neurotic. I loved having the time to talk to my friends and family on the phone for a while. Good for the soul!
6. Driving solo comes with spurts of energy and valleys of exhaustion. One moment I’d be singing at the top of my lungs while pretending to be a rock star drummer on my steering wheel, and then the next thing I knew, I was slumped over in my chair wondering how many more minutes. I enjoyed the time to myself, but it would have been much easier on the eyes and the brain to have someone to share the drive time with! This is partially why I have recruited Angie Harris to come on board with Split Aces Media – we spent three months traveling across the country when we were working for a scuba company. She’s a great travel buddy!
7. Billboards might actually work. I must admit, I do not write down the phone numbers while I’m driving, but I always wonder what these companies are, and sometimes their ads stick in my mind! They’ve been around for what feels like forever, so they must be great advertising for some companies. Not my preferred method, but hey, to each his or her own.
8. My road trip foods of choice are Teddy Grahams, almonds and grapes. Oh, and stopping for two hours to play blackjack at a casino in Louisiana does not make me a degenerate… it makes me loyal to the Split Aces brand.
9. I learned that if I see some cool random attraction on the side of the highway that I need to go check it out. The only “cool random attraction” I stopped for this time was a gigantic fresh fruit stand somewhere in the middle of Arkansas, but if there was a sign for “world’s biggest ball of yarn,” or something of the like, you better believe that I would have stopped for it. Taking your time while driving long distances makes it so much more enjoyable! I’m so used to trying to do everything as quickly and efficiently as possible, so when I’m driving and I know I’m in no hurry to be somewhere in particular, I try to take it slow, and enjoy the ride!
10. Lesson learned the hard way: If a gas station looks and smells like it has bad coffee (and I mean bad even for gas station coffee), then don’t drink it. Avoid that shiz like the plague.
I had an absolute blast while I was in Knoxville with my cousin and Nashville with some friends (like this talented fellow… hear his awesomeness here)! What lessons have you learned about yourself when traveling or spending time alone? Please share in the comments below!