That is how far we traveled on our recent summer road trip. It took us 26 days from start to finish. When I say us, I am referring to myself, my husband and our 2 kids ages 4 and 9.
Where did we go? We drove from California to Texas and back again.
When we told people our plan to travel that far, for that long, in a car, with two children, here is the response I would get, “Are you crazy? My kids would go nuts, why Texas? It’s so humid there.”
Here is my response to those people; maybe I am a little crazy, you could do it, and Texas – why not?
26 days, 9 hotels, asking a stranger to jump our car 5 times, 2 water parks, visits with family we never get to see, discovering an appreciation for the beauty of Texas, two 4-year-old meltdowns, 3 swimming pools, endless take out, the white sands in New Mexico, one Texas Ranger baseball game, the butterfly museum, the natural science museum, the heat, shopping in Bandera, the flowers in Fredricksburg, the quirkiness of Austin, the lightning storms, the river in San Antonio, the rides in Galveston, the upset stomachs and headaches, the joy on my kids faces, the humidity, the romance my husband and I lovingly call “Bandera Nights,” the Dairy Queens, the bats in Carlsbad, the meteor site in Arizona, the Grand Canyon, the memories.
This was not our first endeavor on a long road trip with children. When our daughter was a baby we drove up the coast to Canada. Let me just say, if you haven’t driven the California and Oregon coast, you should consider adding that to your bucket list. It is beauty beyond words. We have also taken road trips through New Mexico, explored Colorado and sat in awe in Utah.
Although, not my favorite thing to do, we fly too. Last year we flew to Florida and explored the Keys and we have traveled through Wisconsin and Hawaii. All with our children.
Summer vacations were a tradition when I was growing up. Once we took a 3 week road trip from California to Washington DC.
My husband didn’t travel as a kid. His family didn’t have the money or really the thought to do so. I remember thinking how sad it seemed that he had never been to Yosemite or the Grand Canyon. Two sites everyone needs to see.
When husband (then boyfriend) and I were 18 we started our own tradition of taking a big vacation every year. Back then it meant staying in dive hotels and living off peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Kool-Aid.
Now, we still live off peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but we stay in nicer hotels.
If I look back on all of my years, the memories that stand out the most are those from family vacations. From squishing in the front seat of my parents car, marveling at the Smithsonian, getting my foot stuck in the Texas mud, to unexpectedly camping in Bryce Canyon with my husband with no tent, carrying my daughter on my back on the suspension bridge in Vancouver, being overwhelmed by the sunset in Kauai, to an unforgettable night on the lake in Wisconsin. Each unforgettable memories.
Don’t get me wrong. Traveling is not all rosy. Living out of a suitcase gets old, trying to entertain two children continuously is exhausting, and arguing with husband about what we should feed the kids is ridiculous.
I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
What a family vacation does, for us, is bring my husband and I closer. He is able to focus on me rather than on work and I can stay up late snuggling because I don’t have to worry about getting up early the next day. It gives us the ability to give our kids the undivided attention that they always crave and gives us shared memories we will never forget. Like the scorpion in our room in Bandera, TX. A real scorpion!
I have learned a few things though, about how to make a trip successful. Especially a trip with children. The last thing that you want is to be at each other’s throats, because you can’t stand to be together for another minute.
Stay tuned for some of the travel tips that I have learned through our years of family vacations.
Today’s lesson in improving my marriage: Talk about where we want to go next year!