Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Evolution of the Road trip...

The idea of a road trip has always been near and dear to my heart, however, it has evolved over time and probably will continue to do so.

My family lived in a small town when I was growing up. We did not live near any extended family so our road trips were mainly trips to visit grandparents who doted on my brother and I. They were long, boring, motion sick trips that involved a lot of poking and bickering about who was allowed which part of the enormous bench seat of the ancient Jimmy my parents owned. However they always ended well with a great visit with relatives and shopping trips to the big city malls! When I was older and involved in more sporting events road trips had more purpose such as weekend swimmeets and school volleyball tournaments. Mostly it was social where I got to hang out with my friends and eat at fast food places (Mclishious)!! When I got my drivers license my mom would let me borrow her car for daytrips so that I could drive 3hrs each way to go shopping with my friends!

When I met my husband we would take great road trip adventures! We'd leave around supper time on a trip where our destination was at least 7 hours away... finally arriving around midnight with no problems getting up the next day, staying a couple of days and then repeating the trek home again. After we were married we moved to Northern Alberta where even the simplest shopping trip was hours away, but that didn't stop us! We'd make mixed CD's to commemorate the drive and listen to them endlessly, much to my hubby's chagrin!

We were fearless of weather and mindless of time. We ate when we were hungry and didn't worry schedules! That was then, this is now. Fast forward several years, a major move, 1 dog and 2 kids later. Road trips are not spontaneous events, they are meticulously planned out trips with multiple contingency plans. There is a DVD player to entertain bored kids (and hopefully lull them to sleep), snacks to feed 10 people (even though there are only 3 or 4 travelling).

On trips that I travel more frequently I start taking note of all the handy playgrounds so that we can stop and run the kids! There are no side trips or backroads or lingering dinners. There are potty breaks, accidents and the occasional vomiting incident. There is trying to distract a child by pointing out interesting things so they don't ask, "How much longer..." (in the whiniest voice ever) 30 minute into the 7 hour trip. Now the CD changer is no longer filled with the latest and greatest hits... its filled with stuff that was new about 5 years ago, but is losing ground to the kiddie CD's!

However, despite all the changes to my road trip style I refuse to stop taking them! I am not afraid to travel 7 hours (or more) with my kids with or without my hubby. I will not become one of those people who don't travel more than an hour from their home unaccomanied because little johnny or suzy don't handle car rides. I figure that this gives us some much needed together time when Mom and Dad don't have other distractions such as social media (which I love) or obligations such as cooking and cleaning (which I hate). Plus you never know you just might learn something new about your kids or you might meet interesting people who seem much more likely to talk to you when you are traveling with little ones.

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