The Miramichi Reader’s Tips for An Autumn Road Trip by Kelley-Jo Burke

There’s still time for a road trip (I’ve got one coming up) before it gets cold and wintery and all the other conditions under which sane people (read, non-Canadians, especially non-Western Canadians) stay off the road. When planning for a road trip, author Kelley Jo Burke has the following suggestions for the anxious traveller:

  1. THIS IS CRITICAL–Pick a point person who will commit to making you go on the trip. You will think, but I want to go, I have to go, I’ve been planning this for months. Still. You will want to bail at some point. Choose your point person and empower them to be VERY FIRM with you. (This can include slipping you medication but NO CATTLE PRODS. Cattle prods always sound like good fun until you’re the one getting prodded. And having to change your underpants immediately thereafter. Meds before prods, I always say)
  2. Make a list. You are nothing without a list. List every step of the packing. Anticipate everything that can go wrong, and buy things to pre-empt all of them, early in the list-making process. Start laying in necessary extras. All your meds. Small bottles of shampoo that you kept from the last trip and will certainly not use because it makes your hair go all hairy troll doll fuzzy–but you may need it for emergencies. Bandaids. Batteries. Floss. More floss. Matches. Maps (yes of course you have GPS on your phone, but what if there’s a socio-economic collapse and the internet goes down? What then huh? )
  3. Maybe pick up more medication. And luggage.
  4. Wake up, heart-slamming, at 4 in the morning, right before you leave and realize that funnel clouds have been sighted within 500 miles of your planned course and that you are almost certainly going to die on this trip and no amount of dental floss is going to stop that. And that you can’t go. You absolutely can’t go. It would be suicide. And of course you know that’s insane,
    but this is unquestionably the one time your crazy is also going to be RIGHT–and no one is going to believe you and they will all think that you bats in the belfry nuts but that is better than being dashed to pieces like a Twister cow….
  1. Deploy point person, who will deploy the medication that you wouldn’t even have if not for the LIST–so in a way, you’re saving the day almost as much as the point person who is now frog-marching your drugged form into the car. Except not…..

Kelley Jo Burke is an award-winning Regina playwright, creative nonfiction writer and documentarian, and was for many years host of CBC Radio’s SoundXchange. She was the 2017 winner (with composer Jeffery Straker) of the Playwright Guild of Canada’s national Best New Musical Award for Us, which premiered at the Globe Theatre 2018. Her new musical The Curst will premiere at Dancing Sky Theatre in Saskatchewan when the pandemic says it can. Her work includes four books, a dozen or so plays, and eight creative nonfiction documentaries for CBC Radio’s IDEAS. She was the 2009 winner of the Sask. Lieutenant-Governor’s Award for Leadership in the Arts, the 2008 Saskatoon and Area Theatre Award for Playwriting, and has received the City of Regina Writing Award three times. Wreck: A Very Anxious Memoir is her latest book.