An Inspiring Way to Travel
Now, it would be an understatement to say I love travel. I'm a self-described travel junkie, and my Mom nicknamed me "Gypsy" sometime in my teens. I love to see and experience as much as I can as often as I can, and I like to do that as creatively as possible. I'll take travel and adventure any way I can get it: plane, train, boat, bike, car - you name it; if it sounds fun and cool, I'll most likely be there with snacks and a ready! grin.
Hence the delight in finding a new way (to me) to fulfill a love of mine.
I wrote to David, the founder of Hit the Road.ca, to find out the details. In a nutshell, he explained that one could drive a car from A to B in exchange for an honest sum of money. I was intrigued, so he mentioned that there was a trip starting in Florida and ending in Toronto coming up. The details: I get to Florida, meet the owner/pick up the car, then drive the car back to Toronto for her. It's relatively easy for me to get around because of my work in the airline industry, and because I was curious and eager, I said yes to the trip.
I asked a few friends if there was any interest on their part in joining me, mentioning that I planned (along with David's scheduling) to do the trip in a maximum of three days. No one could get away, and I've always been a fan of solo travel (travel any way!) so I took on the adventure myself.
On a Saturday morning, I flew from Toronto to Fort Lauderdale and then took a short cab ride to this lovely older lady's apartment. She was very sweet and cordial and insisted I sit and have some homemade cookies and a sprite. We went over the details of my impending trip with her car, and then went down to the garage to look it over. All seemed well, and I was on my way.
A day ahead of time I mapped out the route I would take from Florida to Toronto on my iPhone, and had the pictures of each screen I'd saved in case I couldn't find wifi to tune in to. Luckily, I’m pretty well road-traveled already, so I knew any McDonald's parking lot would give me the advantage of a free wifi connection should I need it.
I hadn't booked any hotels, and there was the rough idea of staying with a friend who lived just off the route I'd prescribed. I'm a little “point the car in the direction you want to go and…go”, if you know what I mean. It always tends to work out in my favour (insert smile/horseshoe here).
About 10 hours of driving/singing at the top of my lungs much to the amusement of passerby later, I pulled into a sleepy little town off the highway in Georgia. I was still about five hours away from my friend's place but tired, so I decided to tune into the wifi at McDonald's and get some water/freshen up/figure out where to stay. While inside, I came across a little magazine stand that featured a publication on local hotels and motels, so I picked it up and thumbed through it. Based on my location, I was able to find a Travelodge nearby with a discount of $2 from the magazine (I've never stayed anywhere comfortable so cheaply: with tax the night was $31 US!). After a hot shower and some quality American tv time, I fell asleep happily.
I woke up the Sunday refreshed and energized for the next portion of the trip, and the driving that day was spectacular: Virginia is one of the most beautiful states for driving through - rolling hills, farmlands, greenery... it was gorgeous. I took a sample of American radio stations that trip; when one would start to fail on me, I would just scroll through them until a good one came through loud and clear. Queen is a very popular band on the radio, I discovered. I sang Bohemian Rhapsody, Another One Bites the Dust, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Don't Stop Me Now and Somebody to Love all within a span of a day. To myself. Really loudly.
By the time another 10+ hours of driving had gone by, I was pretty close to the border and decided to power through rather than look for another place to stay; the thought of my own bed called to me. I got myself some coffee and hit the border at around 1am Monday morning. The border guard was friendly in a way only Canadian border guards can be: he wanted to hear the details of my trip. I managed to roll into Toronto in the wee hours of Monday morning, went to sleep, and then early in the afternoon contacted the son of the woman whose car I had for drop-off details. From there it was a pretty easy scenario; I dropped the car off, said a fond farewell to two days+ of quality Me Time with the car, and headed home.
In summary, if you like road trips, are open to adventure, don't mind traveling alone sometimes and want to help someone out who wouldn't be able to drive themselves, Hit the road.ca is the way to go.