1. Am I fully aware how big America is?
Because as many times as you’ve planned out your trip on Google Maps, you probably aren’t. It takes three straight 24-hour days to drive from coast to coast. This means no sleeping, no stopping, and definitely no sight-seeing. Your trip, if you choose to enjoy it, will take much, much longer than that. New York to San Francisco is a longer drive than Paris to Istanbul, if that puts it in perspective for you.
2. How much do I love my traveling companions?
Of course you love them, but how much will you love them after days of showering rarely, eating poorly, sleeping worse, and listening to their “‘90s Jams” mix CD? That Ace Ventura impression stopped being funny somewhere in the bluffs Iowa, by the way.
3. Am I comfortable performing bodily functions in semi-public areas?
You’re lucky if you find a rest stop. And in some parts of this great nation, rest stops make bushes and heavily wooded areas look like luxury living.
4. How badly do I want to see that thing in that city that’s not exactly “on the way?”
And is it worth getting into awkward standstills with your car-mates over? Perhaps the Ukulele Museum in Cranston, Rhode Island can wait until a different trip. Especially since it’s 90 miles out of the way, costs precious gas money for admission, and, oh yeah, YOU DON’T EVEN PLAY THE UKULELE.
5. Am I physically capable of eating a fried food diet for weeks on end?
Fruits and vegetables are hard (and expensive) to come by on the Interstate. You will start out hopelessly optimistic that you will eat like a human being for the entirety of the trip, but somewhere in the heart (attack) of the midwest, you will realize you are more likely to run into a family of tap dancing grizzlies before you see a salad. Which brings us to the next hard-hitting question.
6. How afraid of bears am I?
If you answered “the normal amount,” you are either a real-life lumberjack or lying to yourself. Bears are really real and they really will eat the granola bars out of your backpack while you tremble like school girl in your tent just feet away. PROOF:
7. Speaking of animals, will I miss my cat?
8. How much pride do I have and how easily can it be swallowed?
You’re going to have to lower your standards of living pretty quick if you want to survive life on the road. You’re going to have to call that guy you met at a frat party and ask if you can sleep on his parents’ floor because he’s the only person you know from Eugene, Oregon. You’re going to change your clothes in an IHOP bathroom and realize the reason it’s taking so long to get service is because they think you’re homeless and not just a fun-seeking cross-country traveler. You’re going to meet up with a kid you met abroad that you haven’t seen in over a year knowing full well that you’ve been wearing the same underwear for the last three states. These things are going to happen, and you’re going to have to get over it.