Every road trip movie I can think of involves two or more people traveling long distances together. On the way, one or more of them come to a new realization about themselves. Sometimes they also come to a new understanding of the other person in the car. Either way, it’s all about the interaction and the conversations they have on the road.
I think the movie industry is missing out on an opportunity to update the genre. They could be making the first solo road trip movie. Think about it. How often do you get a chance to spend a few days alone without being interrupted? Never, am I right? Exactly. Most people just wish they could, so a film could fill that void.
In a couple of weeks, I will start on the four-day journey I have been doing nearly every year for the last ten years. I have been doing that journey in both directions, so I have been a long-distance journeyer many times.
Aside from three occasions when I had company, I have done the journey alone. Four days each way. Over three mountain ranges. Along long empty highways. In good weather and bad. So, I know what a long solo road trip is like and, even though it is tedious and sometimes difficult, I recommend it.
You need music, audiobooks, and GPS, but mostly you need humility because you spend a lot of time alone with your thoughts. Sometimes you don’t like where your thoughts take you. Sometimes you discover ancient memories. Sometimes you get mad at what you can’t remember. Sometimes you argue with the radio. Sometimes you laugh at yourself. Sometimes you surprise yourself with your ideas. And, sometimes you just go into “the zone” and lose an hour or two.
When all is said and done, there is only you. Whoever you are at whatever stage of life you are at, that person is your driving companion. I like to think that it is roughly equivalent to a Zen meditation or a silent retreat, but without the silence. It’s an opportunity for your mind to take you where it wants to go instead of the other way around.
It’s also a chance to find out what you might do if you are in a strange city at dusk with nowhere to stay; what you will do if you have a flat tire; how you will cope when you are suddenly in freezing rain; how you will answer odd questions at the border; what it is like to eat alone in a restaurant; who you are when no one else is there.
In any case, I think there is a movie in this. It might be a bit difficult to direct because the conversation would be so one-sided, but I’m sure that someone could make this work. It might not be as great as All Is Lost, exactly, but it might be as good as Telephone and it would definitely be better than Castaway.
If they make a film about my road trips, I want Susan Sarandon to play me.