On the Road Again

I’m writing from the road this week. And I have all those typical “I’m on the road” thoughts: Will my body ossify into a triangle with perpetually bent knees? Why are all on the songs on the radio about leaving town and none about arriving? Is the journey always more important than the destination? Why do cops call you “ma’am” before asking if you have drugs or paraphernalia in your “bra or panties?” (No, Officer Chupaperros, for you it’s “undergarments.”)

And I’ve been thinking about my favorite road trip travelogues. Steinbeck’s note that states show their personalities through interstate signage has moved from a “Don’t mess with Texas” singularity to a nearly united “Don’t text and drive; stay alive” or “You drink, you drive, you lose” (from Travels with Charley). William Least Heat Moon’s faux headlines of a thousand ways to get in trouble have echoed through my head at various points: “Young Woman Attacked by Yellowstone Wolf Pack” or “Rapid City Police Puzzled by Insulin and Syringes” (blue highways). By the time I unwound the tangled synapses to Kerouac (because who hasn’t followed someone as pretty and surprising as a roman candle across the nation?), I realized that my list of rockstar travelogues is a. fairly outdated and b. male-dominated.

The last travelogue that I tried to read by a woman made me want to gag, curse, & despise (even more so once it got optioned by the Home Shopping Network), and of course, it lacked that kind of Foxfire-Americana that I crave. Can anyone recommend an excellent road story, experienced & written by a woman?


  • Jimmy says:

    I must say “Assassination Vacation” by Sarah Vowell is hilarious. You would enjoy her.

  • JaimeRWood says:

    “Finding George Orwell in Burma” by Emma Larkin is good. It taught me a lot about Burma, Orwell, and what it’s like to be an American woman traveling through a country that works hard to keep its people down.

    • Amaris Amaris says:

      Thanks for the recommendation, Jaime! I’ll check it out. I’m kind of looking for American stories right now, though. Something that taps into that Route 66 freedom of the road feeling that is such a part of our national identity.

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