There’s just about nothing I like more than a road trip. I love seeing my country through my car window – driving through cities, crossing state borders, experiencing our great nation in a one-of-a-kind way.
A few years ago, my husband and I were talking about things we’d like to see be a part of our family. One thing important to us is unplugged family time. We want to intentionally connect with our children in environments and situations that don’t include screens or devices. We wanted to experience nature with our kids. We wanted to ask them questions and listen to their stories. As parents, we were committed to intentionally creating “heads-up time” together as a family.
David and I decided that travel (and even smaller outings) is a way we can bond as a family, and create life-long memories for our children.
We set a goal to take our children to all 50 states before they leave the house. We want our children to see and experience our country – the sights, landmarks, national parks, attractions, and natural wonders.
We’ve driven from southern Washington to southern Ohio. We’ve done quicker 2 day trips to Southern Cali and 2 weeks+ trips across the country. We’ve driven all across this incredible country – and done it as a family. All 6 of us – in it together.
Does it always go smoothly? Haha – what ever does? Is it worth it? You bet.
So many parents have told me they’re too afraid to take their kids on a road trip. I’ve heard it all. “Will they sleep?” (Probably not as well as they do at home.) “Won’t the car be noisy?” (Sometimes!) “I think the kids will get too antsy in the car.” “My kids can’t sit quietly in restaurants.” “We’re potty training right now.”
There will always be an excuse not to do something if we look for one. There will never be a “perfect time” to go. Sometimes we just have to make the decision and get out there and TRY! Kids are amazingly adaptable – and if they’re not – learning to be flexible and cope with change are life-skills we could all use some growth in! Kids will never learn to travel if they never travel. Kids won’t learn how to behave in restaurants if they never go to restaurants. Kids won’t learn how to wait patiently in a line if they’re never given opportunity to.
It will be loud and the kids might bicker. There could a problem with the car. You might get sick. You could find yourself pulling into the sketchiest hotel this side of Nebraska. (We can check all those boxes.)
BUT – it’s worth it. It’s worth it every time. (And I’ve cleaned off a puke-covered child on the side of the California highway at 11:30 pm!) Worth it!!
I understand that there may be special needs and/or extenuating circumstances that may prevent you from going. There may be financial hardships. (We have been there!) But, if fear, worry, or all of the “what ifs?” are what is holding you back from going – GO! Try. Start small and head somewhere an hour or two away. Start with gusto and head across the country. But, I urge you to go -and experience time with your kids in a wonderfully unique and memorable way.
It won’t be perfect. (Nothing ever is!) Even with the best planning, it won’t all go as planned. But oh – that time with your family, the memories you make, the adventures you go on, the things you see and experience – it’s the stuff family bonding is made of.