Bloganuary: Road trips on a small island don’t really work for me

The second day’s #Bloganuary prompt is a tricky one for me. What road trip would you like to go on, the prompt asks?

I live on quite a small island. I have done a good few road trips here – but frankly, driving around Jamaica is not for the faint-hearted. The surface of our roads varies from smooth highways (mostly three-quarters empty apart from the stretch between Kingston and Portmore, which is clogged with traffic going one way in the morning and the other way in the evening); to narrow country roads that have been patched up so many times that negotiating them is a kind of obstacle course of dips and dents and lumps and bumps. And then there are those roads that the average car would really rather not be driven on at all.

The much-lauded, mostly empty North-South Highway from Kingston/Spanish Town to the North Coast is a toll road that many cannot afford. (My photo)

One thing I do love and enjoy is road movies. I envy those classic Hollywood movie stars relaxing and laughing in an open-top car along an impossibly huge open road, head thrown back, hair blowing in the wind, headed for unexpected adventures, and of course a dash of romance. Even the over-glamorized “Bonnie and Clyde,” although that ended in something of a blood bath, in the movie and in real life. Later on, road movies became a darker. There were strange and unexpected happenings, not always pleasant.

Road movies are an American fantasy, like the counter-culture classic “Easy Rider” – certainly one of my favorites. Then there are those where two or three people are thrown together unexpectedly, and learn to get to know each other (or put up with each other) along the way, as in “Rain Man.” The quirky comedy “Little Miss Sunshine” is about a collection of family members who get on each other’s nerves quite a lot of the time, but eventually pull together towards a common goal – or rather push, as the van they are traveling in keeps breaking down with an errant beeping sound. Then there is the marvelous “Almost Famous”… I secretly aspired to go on a road trip with a rock band. More fantasy.

But don’t get me started on Jamaican roads. There is nothing romantic or exciting about them. Unless your idea of excitement is dodging crazy taxi drivers who make up the highway code as they go along, or swerving out of the path of a speeding truck heading straight for you.

This road leads to the sea: in Yallahs, St. Thomas. (My photo)

So what would my ideal road trip be? It would more likely be on foot, if it was in Jamaica. Drive somewhere and walk, as we do on our birdwatching excursions or on trips to the Blue Mountains. Take plenty of water (I suffered a major dehydration episode on one such excursion). Trudging along a mountain road, wiping the sweat out of your eyes may not be as glamorous or exciting as “Thelma and Louise,” but is more satisfying than a flat tyre or a burst gasket (what’s a gasket?) Although a chance encounter with Brad Pitt, as in T&L, might not be such a bad thing. But truth be told, I would prefer not to be involved with a car at all. They just don’t interest me.

Roads go on forever in Australia. (Photo: Phillip Capper/WikiCommons)

The only road trip that fits the classic description of one was on a much, much larger island, which happens to be where my brother lives: Australia. On our visit there, he and his wife organized a trip from Sydney (where we had spent a few days, the highlights being cockatoos, tree hugging in the Botanical Gardens, and a ferry trip) to Brisbane, where my brother lives. Somewhere, I have my travel journal, where I kept a record and collected bits and pieces along the way. We stayed at a cool motel with a fifties vibe; we ate one night at a place with a garish carpet design that sold fried ice cream; I jotted down the fascinating and often extremely odd names of places we passed through. It was an unforgettable, leisurely trip of two or three days and I am eternally grateful for it. Here’s a great link I just found to “The 10 Road Trip Songs that Define Australia”!

Since COVID-19, I have been going on mental (or rather, virtual) road trips. The travel websites are fine. I can browse through the photographs, and work out an itinerary that I will never fulfill. To be honest, though, walking still appeals to me more. Or a lovely boat trip (not a mass market cruise) down a river or across the sea. Or better still, a train ride! Time to bid farewell to those gas-guzzling motor cars!

The road less traveled, perhaps, and not by car: Ecclesdown Road, in Portland, Jamaica, is a favorite birding spot. (My photo)

13 thoughts on “Bloganuary: Road trips on a small island don’t really work for me

    1. I hope you will soon be able to visit again. It has been so hard for “long distance families” with COVID! We have been missing our overseas family too. Sydney’s such a great city. I would love to return some day. I am glad you liked my post, thank you!

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    1. Oh that’s great Janice! Back in the 80s it was wonderful- much less traffic! I used to drive myself then and loved driving in the country (we live in Kingston). But now I feel driving is not enjoyable any more. Far
      too many crazy drivers.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It was frightening at times when Nev drove us uo to the Blue Mountains, the road was not very wide, it certainly did not appear wide enough for opposing vehicles. I did appreciate him honking the horn of the car when coming to a curve/bend in the road (this is a habit that should be in effect worldwide).

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  2. I understand what you mean about the broken roads in Jamaica. Enough to cause car sickness, but still it was beautiful. Road trips are a rather romantic notion though I love them. I too talked about a few movies in my post. Love this and the thought of road tripping around Australia. Enjoyed reading!

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