Yes, road trips with kids can be difficult. The endless “Are we there yet?s and requests for a snack, a drink, a bathroom stop can make us all hang the keys back on the key rack and stay home, but it also limits us all. Instead of wandering sandy beaches and dipping toes into the water, instead of eating new foods and experiencing new cultures, we stay home, eating the same old food and dipping our toes into the regularly scheduled bubble bath.
There’s another perk to road travel, which my husband and I discovered on many a late-night drive home from wherever it was we went to at night back when we didn’t have kids: those long car trips are an incredible bonding opportunity. Fueled by coffee and the desire to stay awake so we’d make it home in one piece, he and I would talk … and talk, and talk and talk. Something about being in such close proximity to each other and the darkness surrounding us freed us up to talk about all sorts of things — politics, relationships, our childhoods, you name it, we covered it.
It’s the same way now with our daughter. Those car rides have provided some interesting conversations and a wonderful opportunity to get to know her better and to share. They are memories that we’ll all have with us when she reaches the age where she’d rather tune us out and turn up her iPod, play video games instead of car games, and talk to her friends on her cell phone instead of boring old Mom and Dad. But, in the mean time, we’ll keep traveling together and sharing the joys of road trips.