(Seemingly) Cut Travel Time in Half
By Kathryn Knight
November 19, 2010
Although nothing can surpass the dread that finals bring, traveling home for the holidays is a close second. With hours of drive time ahead of you on three hours of sleep, it’s hard to get pumped about going home. Make the ride home worth it with these four ways to stay entertained.
While NPR might sound like a snooze-fest on a road trip, there are some great radio shows making their way into mainstream pop culture. These shows play everything from laugh-out-loud, pee-your-pants comedy to tear-jerking, nail-biting true life stories.
Shows like This American Life and The Moth are available in Podcasts on iTunes. iTunes users say:
Sure you’ll start out the hour laughing (maybe harder than you’ve ever laughed at a public radio show) but inevitably and seamlessly, in a completely unconscious manner your emotions will be turned inside out and you’ll end the hour sobbing in your car, in the Target parking lot you’ve been parked in for the last 40 minutes. And sometimes you won’t even know why you’re crying, all you’ll know is that some sort of emotional release is needed before reintegrating yourself into the outside world. -This American Life*
This is one of my favorite podcasts. I drive a lot to and from school, and I’m a big fan of talk/news radio…It’s very well done. Short stories that are well told on a number of different subjects. I haven’t heard one yet that I didn’t enjoy. Very funny and very entertaining. I only wish that I had discovered this earlier. -The Moth*
*Actual user reviews taken from iTunes This American Life and The Moth podcasts.
Books on Tape
Your dad has been touting books on tape for years now. Your verdict? Lame. But studying for Economics and Anthropology has left you little time to devote to your favorite hobby: leisure reading. Your ride home is your chance to pop in the latest bestseller. Catch up on all the hype with books like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or Mockingjay.
Maybe your six-hour drive isn’t the best time to catch up on some easy listening. Instead, e-mail your friends and ask them to send you their new favorite song or songs that might not be mainstream…yet. Make a mix of the unknown music and enjoy the little discoveries along the way.
Or opt for a car party and download the country’s top 40 hits. The bass-bumping music and an occasional Starbucks will keep you going from your school parking lot to your parents’ driveway.
Trips Within a Trip
America is a wasteland of weird tourist traps. You can make a trip of your trip just by popping in at the Largest Ball of Twine or feeding Albino squirrels. Make sure to grab some great holiday gifts for the family in the gift shop.
Favorite North American Pit Stops:
Corn Palace—Mitchell, South Dakota
A palace made of corn; pretty self-explanatory.
Desert of Maine—Freeport, Maine
Yes, there is a desert in Maine.
Albino Squirrels—Olney, Illinois
Feed the squirrels with the residents of Olney.
A play on Stonehenge, this site has cars replicating the ancient stone structure in England.
Lucy the Elephant—Margate, New Jersey
Pay a visit to the 90-ton, 65-foot-tall wooden elephant.
Twine Ball—Darwin, Minnesota
A project begun in 1950, the twine ball now weighs 17,400 pounds.
Petrified Wood Forest—Lemmon, South Dakota
100 sculptures of fossilized wood as well as dinosaur and mammoth bones.
Oregon Vortex—as seen on the “X-Files”
A tilting mine shack where everything inside hangs at a perplexed angle.