“When you’re in the car with somebody and you’re sleeping in the car, there’s nowhere to run.”
Last week, Greg Cayea found out that he was officially a Guinness World Record holder.
On April 29, Guinness World Records awarded Cayea and his girlfriend, Heather Thompson, the world record for Longest Journey By Car In A Single Country. The couple drove 58,135.87 kilometres (about 36,000 miles) throughout the continental United States over 122 days.
Their trip started on July 11 in Arizona and ended November 9 in New York City — the day after the presidential election.
“Towards the end of the trip, we were pretty done,” Cayea told Travel + Leisure. “We were worn out mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally. We were in Myrtle Beach watching the election and we were both kinda depressed. Heather and I, we were just done after the election. So we said let’s drive to New York and that was the end point.”
On November 9, they pulled into Chinatown and filmed a finale video in the streets of Manhattan.
The video was just one of the many pieces of evidence that the couple had to present in order to obtain the Guinness Record.
Cayea likened the documentation process to a full-time job. At the end of the trip, the duo had to send Guinness a witness log book, photographs of national landmarks, GPS tracking (done in kilometers), witness statements, a mileage book (logging all their stops, including bathroom breaks) and 10 minutes of video every day.
However that doesn’t mean that the trip was all business. Cayea would often jump out of the car and into a lake or cold body of water to keep himself alert; He cites jumping off a cliff into Crater Lake, Oregon as one of the highlights of the trip. The couple was able to explore new cities they had never heard of. And they learned how to be with each other nonstop.
“When you’re in the car with somebody and you’re sleeping in the car, there’s nowhere to run,” Cayea said. “You have to learn how to deal with everything.”
Cayea said that he and Thompson learned more about each other — including the other’s ticks and when it was just best to leave each other alone.
“The mental and emotional exercises that we had to implement every day were probably the most fruitful parts of the trip. You can throw me in a car with absolutely anybody at this point,” Cayea joked.
Cayea is taking some time off the road, but his sense of adventure is still strong. He said that he actively seeks out new parks, trails and towns near his current base on Long Island. “I’m trying to find the pleasure in the moment, no matter where it is i’m sitting,” he said. “It’s been hard but it’s been my solution.”
For those who want to learn more about the world-recording-holding trip and the people behind it, Cayea will begin posting images and stories on his Instagram in the middle of May. He also recently published a memoir.