While unpacking my bags from my recent mother-son road trip from Ottawa to Victoria, B.C., I realized I had ticked off my third road trip in six months spanning three continents. What? How did that happen? Two of the three trips were pre-planned. The third pretty much happened on a whim. I’ve added up the total distance: 5278 kilometres or just over 3200 miles. That’s a lot of pavement covered, a lot of time with my bum in a seat and countless hours spent gawking at incredible landscapes. Here’s a brief breakdown of my epic year of road tripping.
1) Australia. This was my bucket-list, milestone birthday, most hours ever spent on one airplane, solo adventure. And it was AMAZING! As a Canadian, I get distances. Australia is a big country. My plan to use every klick on my bus pass from Cape Tribulation to Brisbane were abandoned mid-way at Airlie Beach when I realized I was running out of time and would miss my flight to New Zealand. Tip: do not buy a bus pass to save 10 per cent unless you are certain you will not need to bail. I overspent by $100 AUD with this blunder. After two weeks in NZ, I picked up the Aussie road trip again, going from Melbourne to Sydney. Total distance: 1471 kilometres.
2) New Zealand. To save time, I splurged and booked a flight from Wellington to Nelson for hiking and kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park, then flew again from Nelson to Auckland, where my NZ road trip began. This time, it made sense to buy another bus pass. I had 10 days to visit destinations throughout the north island, and the distances were much shorter than in Australia. New Zealand has its bus system dialled-in. This is a country that caters to backpackers and it’s evident in how easy and comfortable it is to get around using public transport. Tip: two weeks is not nearly enough time to really experience this beautiful country with its two very diverse islands. Stay longer! Total distance: 307 kilometres.
3) Canada-U.S. My third and final road trip was a spur of the moment decision to join my son on his drive from Ottawa, Ontario to Victoria, B.C. Our big decision for this epic drive was whether to take the U.S. or Canadian route. We decided that to save a bit of time, we’d cross into the U.S. at Sault Ste. Marie and ferry to Victoria from Washington State. In addition to having loads of fun and quality mother-son time, we cruised through the Badlands, camped with buffalo (a.k.a. bison) at Custer National Park and marvelled at Mount Rushmore. Total distance: 3500 kilometres.
Would I do it all again? In a heartbeat.
Tip: If you have the opportunity to do a road trip – no matter which continent you happen to be on at the time, DO IT! Road tripping is fun. It’s no wonder so many songs and movies pay tribute to it. Oh, and stretch every chance you get.