Nicky Park: Why roadtripping rules

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New Zealand is a great country for roadtripping.Photo / Nicky Park
New Zealand is a great country for roadtripping.Photo / Nicky Park

I love getting on the road. Throwing the tent in the boot of the car and heading out of town makes me feel free. I prefer to head where the sun is shining - but the destination doesn't really matter. Because of it's size, New Zealand is one of the best countries for filling this aspect of thriving for me.

Recently I was lucky enough to borrow a flash new navy blue Volkswagen Touareg for the four-hour-ish drive to Hawkes Bay. I recruited my manfriend and a couple of his mates from back in the Bay and we headed out of town for a long weekend.

It was not ideal driving conditions. A storm was brewing, nightfall was setting in and I hadn't tackled the winding stretch from Taupo to Taradale before. But as the road trip driver, I was well-appreciated. Being behind the wheel can be an exhausting job. It hinders your involvement in the chat and limits your capacity to play DJ. But you always get a pat on the back for staying sober and ensuring everyone arrives safe and sound.

I reckon the most fun roadie role is as passenger.

The guys in the back - they've got the most chilled job in the car. They bring the banter, tend to suckle on a few beers en route and handle most of the snacks. They even have the luxury of a wee kip on the road. The only pitfall they face is being forced to get comfortable amongst pillows, a guitar, the fishing rods or next to a poorly-picked hitchhiker.

The front seat passenger - that's a mighty task. It has to be taken by the most musical member of the roadtrip (unless there's the threat of a passenger copping car sickness).

Front seat friend is in charge of keeping all the ears in the vehicle happy. They also man the map and will be blamed for any wrong turns. (Harsh, but fair).

I also throw in a personal rule of mine - the front seat sitter has to stay awake for the duration of the journey. They have to keep the driver inspired and alert.

During my most recent journey, my manfriend took up post as DJ. I asked him to compile his perfect playlist for the road. He admits they're not your traditional roadie tracks (and he intentionally left off Red Hot Chili Peppers Road Trippin' because it "tries too hard").

But he says these are "groovy tunes" that will make you feel good, or as he put it: "It's a concoction of highway harmonies fused together with some silky symphonies."

1. The Reckoner - Radiohead
2. Girl on a wing - The Shins
3. Home - LCD Soundsystem
4. Tones of Home - Blind Melon
5. Oh my God - Kaiser Chiefs
6. We used to vacation - Cold War Kids
7. Set me free - The Kinks
8. Long way to go - Liam Finn & Eliza Jane
9. Revolution Blues - Neil Young
10. The Passenger - Iggy Pop
11. Miami - Foals
12. Jacqueline - Franz Ferdinand
13. Standing on the Shore - Empire of the Sun
14. Make It Wit Chu - Queens of the Stone Age
15. Road to Nowhere - Talking Heads
16. Motorway to Roswell - The Pixies
17. Obstacle 1- Interpol
18 Gypsy - Fleetwood Mac
19. John's Star - The National
20. Story - Willoughby

Do you intend to hit the road over summer? What are your favourite roadtripping tracks?

Follow Life & Style Editor Nicky Park on Twitter and Instagram.

* The car for this roadtrip was lent to Nicky Park by Volkswagen.

Nicky Park

Editor of Life & Style.

Nicky lives to wine, dine and thrive. As Life & Style Editor at the New Zealand Herald online, she feels lucky she can call this work. Nicky crafted her writing skills as a cadet for an Australian news wire. Amongst the coverage of sport, news, finance and courts she found a favourite in features. A stint as a foreign correspondent sent this chipper Aussie across the Tasman, covering the big issues of the Pacific Islands. Every single day Nicky relishes the opportunities she has to mix and mingle with interesting people, feast on delicious food, visit new places and write all about it. Nicky wants everyone to make the most of their minutes, learn lots and live their best life.

Read more by Nicky Park

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