I think the sum of my weekends and all that has gone in to them has been leading to this Blog Contribution. It’s so funny because this thought came to mind while I sat there daydreaming. 

On weekends, I would often ask friends what their plans were and I don’t know why I ever expected different answers each time I asked. The most common answers would be: “Nothing much, or “I don’t really have plans”. Some would depress me even more by saying: “I’m broke; I’m just going to stay at home”. And note that this wasn’t by choice.  Who does that on a given, beautiful, sunny day?! Mind you, by staying home they didn’t mean they were going to host a movie night with/for friends, or bake or even finish up that exciting project they had started last week. 
Instead, what that meant was that one was going to get up on a Saturday morning, clean the house, do laundry while listening to top 40 from a radio in the other room, then watch omnibus of Generations, Isidingo, Movhango, 7De Laan consecutively, then nap. Before you know it, Saturday is gone!

So, I’ve certainly learned better and emancipated by taking advantage of the vast things to do out there; A lot of which I didn’t know existed, until one day I told myself to do a new activity and/or see a new place at every given chance. I do not have to stay at home if I have the choice not to. 

Road trips! One of my favorite things to do in the world. One of my most memorable trips was when, Nombeko Bam (a close friend from high school), and I decided to go to the Grahamstown Arts Festival. At the time I didn’t have the slightest idea that she also always wanted to go, until one day at one of our many sleepovers, it came up in our morning heart-to-heart conversations. Well, of course, after making such a “rare” discovery, we thought surely we should swiftly start planning the trip and make it happen. And we did! We were still in our mid-teens then but full of drive and nothing-can-stop-us kind of attitude.

I remember it last it was yesterday. Since we were a little penniless, we got creative and went ahead and purchased one-way train tickets to the Art festival (the initial plan was to drive back just to take in the scenery). We did so, of course, after much research where we discovered that taking the train was much more affordable than any other form transportation. And on the plus side, there were a lot of things and places for us to see along the way. The road trip began and off we went in the core of Winter. We got to Grahamstown and stayed over at a friends’ place, not far from Rhodes university, which was a fleeting distance from all the shows we got a chance to see. After three magnificent days, we drove up to Welkom, a town in the Free State. That drive had the first pit stop in Queenstown and then many followed in the middle of nowhere, to admire the sceneries and to take pictures, you know this! This was redemptive I tell you and from then I told myself never would I stay at home when I have the choice not to! This was the stuff weekends and holidays were and are made of. 

Now that I think of it, planning a road trip then was a little simpler for us. This may be for the modest fact and reason that we didn’t go camping and we weren’t driving going there, hence there was really no need for things like insect repellents, camp cookers and tents to add to our already long list of “What to Pack”.

Ok, fast forward to today. Would you like to take a road trip?! Here are three pointers:

•    First: Determine where you would like to go. This will largely be based on what you want to see and do. South Africa has breathtaking destinations, it is overflowing with them. Shotleft.co.za has great deals, guides and ideas. My advice would be for you to first get to know your backyard (South Africa) before you can know any other place out there. Mainly, for financial reasons. Start small. I know without reservation that establishing where you want to go first will give you the vigor to plan to go there soon! This is because you would know what activities are there, you have made research about the destination and seen pictures, you just would not want to delay any longer! Check a site called TravelingNation.co.za and TheSafarico.co.za you can find out what are the best places to have road trips to, book accommodation and a whole lot more. 

•    Second: When to go. Knowing where to go is mostly controlled by seasons. For example, you want to drive down to Tsitsikamma National Park, through Port Elizabeth and see the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan, then through Jeffrey’s Bay to go Sand Boarding and eventually arrive at your destination to see yourself kayaking, cliff jumping and taking part in all other activities that is ideal for the summer, when is it hot.

•    Third: How to get there. Do you want to drive then fly back or fly and drive back?! It’s all up to you. All this depends on what you want to see on the road, do you just want to see yourself there as quick as possible or you have ample time to make countless stops. Drivesouthafrica.co.za can assist calculate how much you are going to spend on fuel, thus enabling you to comprise that in the budget for minimum spending. You want to spend a lot of your money on things that matter, activities and food. So Plan! Plan! Plan!

***Food For Thought on Road Trips. This is noteworthy: 
Whether you like it or not. You and those you are traveling with, need to pack an energetic and fun attitude for the road trip, you need laughter and good conversation to keep it engaging. Otherwise it is going to feeling like a torturous never-ending story.