road-tripWhat does your choice of car say about you? A lot it turns out. I used to tell my husband who has a passion for the preservation and restoration of automobiles, “A car is just transportation.”

Then one day, while attending a professional development event, the ice-breaker at our table of six business professionals required that each of us write down the make and model of our car on an index card. The cards were then put in a pile and mixed up. As each one was drawn from the stack, we had to guess which car went with which person.

In our group of six, we were split evenly into two distinctly different categories of automobiles: flashy sports cars and SUVs. As we discussed why we each drove which type of car, it was revealed that the people in our group who drove sports cars were empty-nesters with the days of carpooling and driving the mom-taxi long behind them, while the other half still had kids at home and required the reliability and size of an SUV to support their multi-person, family travel transportation needs. I had to laugh. Our car choices did indeed say a lot about who we were at that particular time in our lives and proved that cars really are more than just transportation.

From kiddie carpools to college visits, we choose cars to meet our needs and when those needs change over time, we choose a different type of car. When dad Jim Flowers realized finding the right college for his son’s interest in becoming a music major would mean a lot of travel to several colleges, he traded his Tahoe for a Prius. With two road trips to each each school originating from Virginia to Bowling Green, Ohio; Ithaca, New York; Boston, Massachusetts; and Columbia, South Carolina, this turned out to be a very cost-effective family travel solution.

For me, living in the mountains of southwest Virginia mandates driving an all-wheel-drive vehicle; having kids with activities that include baseball, skateboarding, and college visits mandates driving a wagon. What am I ? I’m a Subaru Outback.