Wanderlust is defined as a strong desire to travel in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. I’d say I caught the wanderlust fever at a very young age as I’ve always had a strong desire to travel and explore the world. I can start to feel the fever when I don’t go on any adventures or travel, whether locally or not, after a brief length of time. My bones ache for it and exploring is the only cure.
The idea of giving people the opportunity to travel within the United States began in the 1930s and came to fruition in the 1950s with the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 enacted by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1938 proposed to the Bureau of Public Roads to begin a study of a toll-financed system of three east-to-west and three north-to-south superhighways. It was President Franklin D. Roosevelt that appointed a National Interregional Highway Committee in 1941 to evaluate the need for a national expressway system. Thank goodness they did because their study supported the need for these interregional highways and in 1944, Congress acted on the recommendations.
Prior to the 1930s, think about all the road trip pioneers that ventured across the United States before the idea of any superhighways. These T-model Ford adventurists threw caution to the wind and encountered many treacherous roads and bridges before any President laid a safe and permanent foundation for those with wanderlust. Motorists only had the Lincoln Highway as it was the first transcontinental highway for automobiles across the United States of America which debuted in 1913.
Laying the groundwork and construction was slow for the highways during the 1940s. The decisions on funding was a cause for delay. President Eisenhower enacted the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 which solved the challenged funding encountered. Highway enthusiasts could start revving their engines as this served as the catalyst for getting the highways on to the road to completion. President Eisenhower also envisioned these roads to serve the purpose for national defense as a way to transport troops quickly in the event of ground invasion of foreign enemies.
So the leaders of our country envisioned Americans going many places long before Dr. Seuss published his famous book that speaks of travelling throughout life. I have to say, I may have been one of those early 20th century road trip pioneers as travelling is something that has always stirred my spirit.
And if you’re interested in taking a nostalgic road trip, I must suggest you check out Retro Roadmap before planning your next vintage destination. Happy travelling readers! 🙂