Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, going on a cross-country road trip might be the reset that your brain needs.
Many of us are feeling trapped in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic due to international travel restrictions.
But comedian Reno Collier, host of NBC’s “The Great American Road Trip,” wants anyone whose flight has been canceled over the past year to know that there’s plenty of terrain worthy of exploring — and it’s right here in the United States, accessible by road.
“We have everything here, and in a time like this, traveling overseas is not fun,” Collier said. “There’s a whole lot of hustle and bustle and all that, but you can get in your car or rent an RV or whatever you want, and basically see everything.”
Collier is no stranger to travel: He grew up going on road trips with his family, and as a comedian, he toured doing standup for 25 years. On his NBC show, seven families take a road trip on Route 66 in an RV, visiting monuments and landmarks as they compete with one another. For this, Collier said, his approach to travel was markedly different from that of his comedy days. “We’d find a place to eat, but it wasn’t about stopping and seeing and exploring like it was on the show,” Collier explained.
When visiting some of the small towns along Route 66, Collier felt as if he’d gone back in time. “It’s like looking at a really old house — you wonder what happened in there,” he said. “I wonder what this was like when it was bustling and vibrant.”
Going for a reset
These days, it can be possible to travel safely by car with your immediate family. For some people, taking a road trip may be the “reset” they need for mental health amid a flurry of nonstop news and screen time, or to reconnect with their loved ones, Collier said. He pointed out that for him and his family, the journey, rather than the destination, is often most memorable.
Traveling by car can also lead to new, unexpected discoveries in your backyard. Maybe it’s a tow truck museum in Tennessee, or fresh maple syrup in Vermont, or board game manufacturing facility in Minnesota. Regardless, traveling can be an opportunity to learn, grow, and connect.
“We’re a melting pot. There are so many cultural influences that we can go and see, and still support our own economy,” Collier said. “You need to get out and travel and remind ourselves of what our country is like, remind ourselves what we’re like.”