Road trips have always been a popular theme in literature, film, and music. The sense of adventure, freedom, and self-discovery that comes with traveling on the open road has inspired many great works of art. In recent years, the road trip has become a popular setting for romance novels. The combination of travel, romance, and self-discovery has created a subgenre of romance that deserves to be recognized as its own unique category. In this article, we’ll explore why road trip romance deserves to be its own genre in romance novels.
The Allure of the Road Trip
There’s something about hitting the open road that appeals to many people. The sense of freedom and adventure that comes with traveling is a powerful draw, and road trips offer an opportunity to explore new places, meet new people, and experience new things. In a romance novel, the road trip setting allows the characters to step outside their comfort zones and embrace the unknown. This can create a sense of excitement and tension that adds depth to the story.
Self-Discovery and Character Development
Road trips are often associated with self-discovery and personal growth. In a romance novel, this can be a powerful tool for character development. The journey can force the characters to confront their fears and weaknesses, and to discover new strengths and abilities. This can lead to personal growth and transformation, which can be a compelling element in a romance novel.
Relationship Building and Intimacy
The road trip setting can also be an opportunity for the characters to build their relationship and deepen their intimacy. The sense of adventure and shared experience can create a bond between the characters that might not be possible in other settings. The journey can also provide opportunities for the characters to open up to each other and share their thoughts and feelings. This can create a sense of emotional intimacy that is essential to a successful romance novel.
The Challenges of the Road Trip Setting
While the road trip setting offers many opportunities for romance and adventure, it also presents unique challenges that can make for compelling storytelling. Some of the challenges that the characters might face on the road include:
Traveling on the open road can be unpredictable, and the characters might face a range of logistical challenges, from car trouble to unexpected weather conditions. These challenges can create tension and drama in the story, and can also provide opportunities for the characters to work together and support each other.
Spending an extended period of time together in close quarters can be challenging for any relationship, and the road trip setting can amplify these challenges. The characters might disagree on where to go or what to do, or they might have conflicting personalities that clash under the stress of travel. These interpersonal challenges can create conflict and tension in the story, and can also provide opportunities for the characters to learn how to communicate and compromise with each other.
Examples of Road Trip Romance Novels
There are many great road trip romance novels that illustrate the appeal of this genre. Here are just a few examples:
1. The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
The Simple Wild tells the story of Calla, a young woman who travels to Alaska to reconnect with her estranged father. Along the way, she meets Jonah, a handsome and rugged pilot who helps her navigate the wilds of Alaska. Their shared journey brings them closer together, but also forces them to confront their own fears and weaknesses.
2. Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely
Wanderlust tells the story of Joy, a young woman who embarks on a European road trip to escape the monotony of her life. She meets Griffin, a charming and adventurous travel writer, and they decide to travel together. As they explore new places and experience new things, they fall in love, but must confront the reality that their journey will eventually come to an end.
3. Love and Other Train Wrecks by Leah Konen
Love and Other Train Wrecks follows the story of Noah and Ammy, two strangers who meet on a train bound for upstate New York. When their train derails, they are forced to travel together to reach their destination. As they navigate the challenges of their journey, they begin to realize that they have more in common than they thought, and a romance blossoms.
Road trip romance offers a unique blend of adventure, self-discovery, and romance that sets it apart from other subgenres of romance novels. The road trip setting provides opportunities for character development, relationship building, and emotional intimacy, while also presenting unique challenges that can make for compelling storytelling. As the popularity of road trip romance continues to grow, it’s clear that this subgenre deserves to be recognized as its own unique category in romance novels.