A few weeks ago we took a road trip to Northern Virginia for my cousin's high school graduation. The trip was 650 miles each way. We debated taking two days to drive out and back, but were not excited about having four total travel days. We decided to just go for it and drive it the whole way in a day. According to Google, it is about a 10 hour drive with no stops. And with stops? Well, let's just say I was questioning our decision as the date approached.
Turns out, there was no need to worry. The kids did great. Fantastic, really. E was done with the whole endeavor by the end,
but HP was such a trooper. He just sat in the back and talked, ate
snacks, and looked out the windows. He listened to part of one Sparkle Story,
but otherwise was uninterested in activities. I think he really enjoys talking to us when we are not distracted or trying to accomplish
other projects (you know, like cooking dinner). We don't use screens
with the kids, so snacks were the key to a successful trip. I bought a whole
mess of snacks they normally do not eat; some of which were healthy,
like blueberries and grapes, and some of which were not, like fruit
snacks and M&Ms. And I have to say, we got a lot of mileage (literally) out of those M&Ms.
Of course everything did not go smoothly. Exhibit A: we got forty-five minutes out of town and then had to turn around and come back because we thought HP was getting sick (think, writhing in pain like we had never seen before). Then, upon our arrival at the house, he told us he was feeling much better and was ready to go back in the car. I still think we made the right call turning around, but a nearly two-hour delay before we even got going was not the way we wanted to start the day.
The whole experience left me feeling excited for the future. That feeling was bolstered by listening to the Girl Next Door podcast on travel plans in the final hours of the drive home. As we approached Bloomington, HP napped (a feat in and of itself), E happily chatted in the back, and I started making mental lists of all the travels we can do as a family in the years to come. Think: Acadia in Maine, Boundary Waters in Minnesota, the whole state of Alaska, going back to our old haunts (and discovering new ones) in Oregon, and the list goes on (and on).
My overall takeaway from the trip was that it is starting to get easier. It's not easy (sleep was so, so terrible while we were away), but I can see that easy is just around the corner. I am impressed with what great travelers they are now and become practically giddy thinking about how much more simplified travel will be in the not-to-distant future (no diapers! no naps!).
Just you wait, kids. We have so much in store for you.