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Just Go: Why You Should Hit The Road With Everything But A Destination

We all have a friend who is spontaneous in the best kind of way. You know the type; everyone might be sitting around on a Saturday morning, mapping out their weekend when spontaneous-friend comes in hot, and in a flash, everyone is on a bus to some small town in pursuit of some janky wooden roller skating rink. I love those friends. Spontaneous adventures usually yield some unintended and unplanned fun, and at the core of it all, they’re just exciting. Adventure is truly about unchartered territory, twists and turns, new faces, and adversity. All of which you’ll get by just hitting the road without a destination. But you don’t have to rely on someone else for a good time, you can get after it by just heading somewhere without a true goal in mind, in fact, sometimes it’s even better than a planned trip. Here are five reasons why your next adventure should have everything but a destination.


Photo: Tim Gouw

1. The Thrill

Who goes anywhere without a destination in mind? Crazy people. That’s who. If you want to do this right, head to your local airport and hop a domestic flight to anywhere. You never considered visiting the Yukon? Just so happens that there is a seat sale on flights to Whitehorse. Better still, maybe your flight is taking you to somewhere you’ve never heard of, like Goose Bay or Wabush, Newfoundland. Your adrenaline response will be reacting as if you’re living on a rollercoaster because you sort of are. That fear of not knowing what’s going to happen next will enrich and enliven whatever experiences occur along the way. Alternatively, get in a car with a friend and just drive. Think about how fun it will be to recall stories about the best pierogies in Canada being in some small town called Wilno, Ontario, or the story of how you met your spouse in Saguenay, Quebec.


2. Infinite Choice

Wait. You’re not in Saguenay, Quebec yet? Okay. Consider this; when you don’t have a destination or itinerary in mind, you can do whatever you please, whenever you want. Instead of rushing to a museum, or provincial park, you can stop at random places along the way like the world’s largest dinosaur, hockey stick, goose, axe, or fiddle. Travelling and adventure are about pushing on beyond your comfort zone, and not having a destination makes that an everyday affair. When you show up somewhere without any expectations, you’ll be amazed at the incredible things that reveal themselves to you.

Photo: Chiawei Lin

Photo: Chiawei Lin

3. It Builds Character

Each time you have to navigate some adversity you’ll instil confidence in yourself. If you make a mistake, or take a wrong turn, or choose a less than ideal adventure, you instantly become a better traveller. From learning to gas your car up when given an opportunity, to remembering to pack everything, an adventure like this one is sure to make any following adventures a little easier.

Photo: Mike Petrucci

Photo: Mike Petrucci

4. Local’s Secrets

When you don’t have a destination in mind and end up somewhere new that you’re not familiar with, you’re forced to speak to strangers who actually live where you’re visiting. Not only does this lead to meeting new friends, but it exposes you to the culture of wherever you are. Have you ever actually asked a local for travel advice? Their recommendations are usually pretty awesome, and if you’re lucky, you’re bound to find some spots that even some of the locals don’t know about.


5. Stories

The only thing better than going on a wild adventure is coming home and being able to share some wild stories. Your friend came home with a puka necklace and some photos of themselves in locations you could see on Google Image? Cool. You’re coming home from your adventure with a story about meeting a new friend who took you to a pop-up art show in a boxcar in the woods of coastal British Columbia. Needless to say, your friends are going to be more interested in your tales than your sunburnt friends.

Okay. You’re sold on the idea. So what do you need to make this happen? Not much. A plane ticket and a hotel booking, mostly. But you can do some planning. If you’re driving, Google Maps might be a good place to start and a Backroads Mapbook can be invaluable. Make your goal very broad and pack accordingly. As an example, a goal of touring Southwestern Ontario is trending in the right direction. Find a road that takes you in that general direction you want to travel and just go. On your next adventure, go forward without a destination and surprise your friends, surprise yourself, improve your traveller knowledge, and learn somethng new.


Like this post? Check out Hit The Highway With These Reading Week Road Trips and 7 Day Trips To Take When You’re Visiting Canada’s Biggest Cities, too!

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