Anyone who’s familiar with the whole road trip concept, in any of its permutations, realizes that there are an incredible number of variables and personal choices that go into one. So, this one was pretty much a completely free-form design challenge.
In my life, I’ve been through road trip phases and experiences that span cross country trips to the Andes (when I was living in Argentina), long and short drives with my kids, and the proverbial Spring Break experience.
These days, my most common road trip is the regular drive my wife and I make to the Wichita Mountains on the weekend. We use this drive to work on writing projects, talk through personal goals and ideas, and commune with the incredible sites and experiences of the wildlife refuge. Over a period of years, I think we’ve come up with a really nice design for this learning environment (at least it works well for our learning goals).
Each trip begins with a brief, pre-trip conversation about what we want to talk about or explore while we’re on the road. The trip takes about 1 hour 20 minutes, which probably gives us a little less than an hour of actual focused conversation time. This means we can fit it between 1-3 meaningful project or personal conversation topics. We generally like to throw out some ideas about what we might discuss on the first leg of the trip, which may determine who drives.
Once the trip begins, we ease into our conversations and have check-ins along the way to make sure it’s working for both of us. At this point, we either keep going or change tracks. We usually play the trip back by ear, as we may find new themes and possibilities while we’re at the part.
Of course, the actual experience isn’t anywhere near that formal. It feels like we just decide to go, hop int he car, and have a great experience. Going through a diagnostic exercise, however, shows me that there is absolutely a strong design template that we’ve polished over the years.