1. At 19, I spent the week before a road trip making mix tapes (CDs, really, but it is cooler, I think, to say 'mix tapes' than it is to say 'mix CDs') for the road trip. Each mix would be so stinking carefully thought out and contain the following: a few of my current favorite songs, a mainstream song that was popular at the moment but which I thought was laughably awful (past the point of hating it right back to the point of listening to it on repeat and actually kind of loving it), some music from "the past" to stir up all kinds of nostalgia and sentimentality, and then a whole bunch of poppy, fluffy, beaty, dance-y songs that could be yell-sung to.
At 27, I grab my iPhone on the way out the door and play either Slacker Radio or podcasts or just whatever happens to be in my iTunes library.
2. At 19, my partners-in-road-trip were usually a bunch of really excitable girls, eager to stuff a car to its full capacity, hence saving on gas, and yell-sing along to my carefully-crafted mix tapes. And talk about relationships (ours and each other's and everyone else's. Relationships: The Topic to Delve Into On Roadtrips).
At 27, my main road-trip partners are Barclay and Sullivan. Barclay does not like to yell-sing; Sullivan only likes to yell.
3. At 19, a road trip was an excuse to eat everything. I packed snacks, and bought snacks at every gas station stop, and drove through all the drive-throughs (that is what they are for).
At 27, if I think of it, I pack maybe a couple of healthy snacks (an apple! An orange?) and...yeah that's it. Maybe, maybe I'll buy a mini chocolate bar at a gas station if I'm dying, but nothing more. Because I am now concerned about things like health and money.
4. At 19, road trips had big shiny destinations: music festivals and best friends' weddings and stuff like that. The excitement of where you were going carried you there, and the excitement of what you had done and seen carried you home.
At 27, my road trips have almost always the same destination: home to visit my parents. Which is great, because I like my parents. (Hi, parents!)
5. At 19, I and my obnoxious car o'girls could only go as far as our limited collective funds will allow. Sometimes we had gas enough to drive to Manitoba, sometimes we had gas enough to drive to Swift Current. Sometimes Calgary!
At 27, road trips are fewer and more purposeful, not as much dictated by funds as by necessity. Also, if my destination is farther than 10 hours away, I'm flying.