Thursday, August 8, 2013

Guest post: Road trip jams

Hey y'all! I'm on vacation, so I've asked some lovely ladies to babysit the ol' AC while I'm gone. Have you met Heidi yet? Well now you have! Take it away, Heidi :)

hello animated cardigan readers, my name is heidi! my goal in life is to limit the number of breakdowns i have in front of my closet per week as i get dressed to go to work and reward myeslf by posting the successes at my blog, literate & stylish. i'm here to attempt to fill jess's shoes while she is bouncing up and down the east coast getting a tan at the beach and going to weddings.

a few key items come to mind whenever i plan a vacation or prepare for long trips like jess is currently on. sure, one needs the essentials--an atlas (gps? iphone? what do people even use these days for directions? i am old school and like printed directions from google maps), sunglasses, snacks, pillows, and of course entertainment. i bring my fair share of magazines and books, but i usually default to the ipod to help pass the time. if anyone else owns a first generation ipod like me and hasn't thrown it in a drawer to die a sad, solitary death in favor of putting music on your iphone, i hereby grant you ten cool points!

i take at least two long road trips a year and having good ipod selections is a must! i'm sure jess, being the avid music lover she is, would agree with me. sometimes having too broad of tastes or too large of a selection can easily prompt the following exchange:

"what do you want to listen to?"
"i don't know, what do you want to listen to?"
"i don't know..."
[cue silence while passenger slowly scrolls through ipod & driver becomes frustrated]

so here are a couple methods my co-pilots and i fall back on when embarking on long car rides that keeps us going until the next rest area or giant roadside attraction:

morning: if i'm driving before the sun is up, i like something a little light that won't put me back to sleep but also won't make me feel as though i have just guzzled a 16 oz bold, black coffee. if you start out too hard too early, you're just going to crash. i love bands like iron & wine, beach house, and death cab for cutie for the early morning stretches. the singer's tones and the musical arrangements may be a bit more subdued, but music from bands like these is easy to listen to because their music is flooded with solid melodies and great lyrics.

mid-morning & mid-afternoon slumps: these are hard times of the day to be driving. you may have stopped for lunch but you still may have hours of driving to go. you may still feel energized about the trip ahead of you or leery if you've run through most of what you can think to converse about. this is when i like to come up with a game. i like choosing an album from a band starting with the letter A to the letter Z, although it's unlikely that you would get that far. for example, we may start out with an arcade fire album, then a band of horses album, then a counting crows album, etc. you get the idea! it solves the issue of "what should we listen to next" by narrowing down the selection of artists to one letter at a time.

time-fillers: this american life podcasts are great road trip selections as they're all about an hour long but the stories keep one interested and engaged, helping the time to pass more quickly. these are also good to cue up when say you have an hour or so before your final stop for the day as you know that by the time it's finished, you've reached your destination! and if you're like me, maybe you enter another world where time passes by twice as fast just listening to ira glass's voice - just make sure your cruise control is set!

do you have any other suggestions on how to stay entertained with music during long road trips? and thanks again to jess for letting me take over her blog today -- i hope you are having an amazing vacation with quality music in the background!

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