By Professor Elemental


So, you’re considering a Steampunk road trip are you? Jolly good. The open road, the wind in your hair, the bugs in your teeth,* the locals staring at you when you stop somewhere for a tinkle. All jolly good fun I’m sure, but HOLD ON. What if it goes horribly wrong? It’s all fun and games until someone’s home made mechanical wings get caught in a revolving door or you end up stranded in Swindon without your disco trousers.**

You need help. And advice. The kind of advice that only a seasoned traveller with miles on the road and bags under his eyes can give you.

Here then, is everything you need before embarking on the road.


It’s worth having somewhere to go, otherwise you’ll drive until you run out of petrol or drive into the sea- but before embarking, do check that the place that you are going is worth your while. Make sure you know someone putting on the steampunk event or that you’ve have heard it’s good from someone else. Ensure that, if performing or selling stuff, the event has got the basics in place. Getting to a convention to headline a show and then finding that not only do they not have a sound man, but are also lacking a sound system is not a lot of fun**.

If, after careful research, I find my destination sounds a bit rubbish, I tend to go there anyway- but I take extra care to ensure the journey includes some lovely roadside attractions*** and some luxury when I arrive. You can’t guarantee every steampunk event is good, but you can make sure you sleep somewhere with nice pillows.


I quite like people, but can usually only stand them for short periods of time before they begin to annoy me. And I’ve been told it’s rather bad form to throw a companion out of a moving car because they are telling you a really long story about their gall bladder operation. That’s why I tend to travel alone****. You might be different. Maybe you have friends whose company you enjoy over long periods. Hang on though, think carefully: Are any of them prone to random acts of flatulence? Have they ever expressed a liking for the music of Robbie Williams? Do they enjoy eating pickled eggs wherever they go and always carry their own jar? Have they got a really weird laugh? If the answers to any of these questions are yes, well, personally I think it might be time to move house and find some new friends, but outside of that, for goodness sakes don’t travel about with them. Make sure you thoroughly vet all travel companions for general decency (or indecency, depending on your preference).

Car games

Are shit. Don’t bother.

Good Music

That’s more like it- certainly essential for any journey from epic adventure to a walk to the corner shop. I could use this section to direct you to my patreon, ( ) where for a simple dollar a month you get access to 12 compilations of great tunes I’ve got in my collection. However, this isn’t the time or place to promote myself or indeed my own collection of excellent travelling music all available at reasonable prices at No, that would be crass. You make up your own mind as to whether you choose my music or something not as good.


If you are a cosplayer or a band on a budget, then you are probably better at packing a car tightly then any of us will ever be. Get those wings folded down, the corsets strapped in and the top hats on top, keep to the essentials- usually just a couple of tea pots is enough for a small group, so long as you have enough hot water and milk. Personally I travel so lightly that I frequently forgot half of my outfit, leaving me to make desperate begging posts on facebook for trousers, like some kind of Steampunk tramp. Which in many ways I am.

Road Food

Gone are the days when all there was to eat on the road was a dry egg samwich or a pickled egg from that weird friend’s jar. These days, you can get a decent thai curry on the m23 or Vegan platter in a little chef*****. There is no excuse for bad eating on the road, which is a shame, because the combination of boredom, tiredness and journey length makes eating bad food so damned tempting. That’s another adventage of travelling alone, no one can see your secret shame when you devour an entire box of Cadburys celebrations meant for a family of eight, in a single sitting.

So there we have it. Keep safe, take lots of breaks, avoid the pickled eggs and don’t forget your trousers. My whole year is spent bouncing from one steampunk shindig to the next and they are always worth it, so make sure you go somewhere new this year. I’ll see you there. Well, either there on in the car park asking random strangers if I could borrow their trousers.

*Motorbike road trips only

**True story

***Strange backwater home-made raccoon zoo if in America, National trust park if in England

****Well, that and the fact that I am a solo performer and none of my friends really ever want to see me perform Cup of Brown Joy ever again.

*****This might not be true, but none of you are going to go to a Little Chef****** to tell me otherwise.

******American readers, Little Chef in this instance refers to a very 1980s chain of roadside cafes where, if you were a lower middle class kid in the 80s, your dad might sometimes take you as a ‘meal out’ and you could eat egg and chips amongst dead eyed lorry drivers. It does not refer to a dwarf in a chef’s hat with a tiny little roadside café inside a spotted red mushroom, however adorable that might sound.

Published in: on February 6, 2018 at 8:57 pm  Comments (2)  

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  1. […] Professor Elemental – The Steampunk Road Trip Manual […]

  2. Reblogged this on Karen J Carlisle.

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