I’m excited to kick off the month of May with my plan to cross off one of the items on my 100 Things List: The Great American Road Trip. At the end of this month, my family and I will embark on a cross-country trip traversing fifteen States.
However, before getting into the logistics of the trip and our plan, I want to address my hopes and fears for this travel series.
My Hope for this Series:
At it’s best; this series will do three things. First, selfishly I want it to be a record for my sons of our travels and experiences together. To be a time capsule for the stories that pictures can’t capture.
Second, I want it to inspire. To encourage exploration and foster the idea that the world is a lot bigger than what our day-to-day experiences tell us. I once heard Andrew Zimmerman (of Food Network’s Bizarre Food with Andrew Zimmerman fame) say, ‘we are at our best when we travel. Our most patient, our most understanding, our most inquisitive and curious.’ (I may be paraphrasing a bit.)
Being exposed to travel at a young age helped foster my curiosity, patience, and understanding. I want to inspire those values in others, most of all my boys.
Third, I want this series to help me view travel differently. By documenting our trips, I want to alter my perspective of our time together. Not view the inconveniences of travel from the grid of an impatient father. Rather I want to see these inconveniences as shaping my boy to be patient and understanding versions of themselves.
I don’t want to be so focused on a travel agenda that I quash my kid’s natural curiosity. By putting on my blogging alter ego, I hope to change how I approach our family trips. I hope to be the best version of myself and inspire my boys to be the best versions of their selves.
My Fear for this Series:
At it’s worst this series will be the blogging equivalent of the 70’s family who would invite you over to look at a slide show of their family vacation. Only you won’t have to pretend to feign interest in the 5th picture of the teacups at this quant little B & B we stayed at.
You won’t have to prop your eyes open with toothpicks to prevent yourself from falling asleep, you can just click onto another blog. No need to humor me, my analytics will tell me that I’ve crossed the line. If that happens this series will be revamped or scrapped.
I also have some anxiety about live blogging the trip. Up to this point I’ve generally had the opportunity to edit my work well in advance of posting. Now I intend to blog from the road with unknown Wi-Fi connections. A hectic schedule of driving, sight seeing, and family visits. I don’t want it to feel slapped together. And I don’t want to feel stressed to produce something just to produce it.
Blogging from the road is an added challenge. If the results end up doing an injustice to the series, I’ll head back to the drawing board and again either chart a new course or rethink the entire undertaking.
With my hopes and fears out of the way, let’s move on to the plan.
Here are a few of the highlights:
- The Archway to the West
- San Antonio Area (Visit my wife’s sister and her family)
- Grand Canyon
- Las Vegas, NV
- Southern California (the purpose of the trip is to surprise my brother on his 40th birthday)
- Mount Rushmore
- I hope to spend no more than 5 hours in the car on any given day (with the exception of maybe the first day and the last day or two). Two boys with a lot of energy stuck in a car for 10-12 hours just isn’t my idea of a fun vacation. I don’t mind taking a little longer to get to our destinations.
- Limit the use of technology (iPad, phone, etc.) to a total of 5 hours for the whole trip and only on driving days. Technology has made it a lot easier to travel with kids. Putting on a movie or a video game will pacify/entertain them for hours. But for me, the point of the Great American Road Trip is to connect with my family. Play car games, sing to music together, and talk. I want my kids looking out the window and seeing the country, not starting down at a screen.
- Learn something new about every State that we visit.
- No Fast Food. This one will require some planning. Outside of the convenience, there is just nothing appealing to me about fast food. It doesn’t taste that good to me, and I never feel good after I’ve eaten it. It costs way too much for what you get: $7 for suspect “beef,” a stale bun, greasy over fried potatoes, and a half-gallon of sugar in beverage form. No thank you. I’ll happily make a few fresh sandwiches accompanied by fresh fruit from the grocery store.
- Create a State specific care package for my kids to open as we cross the boarder of each State. This won’t be anything too extravagant, likely just coloring pages of quintessential things from each state. Maybe some facts to learn, such as State Capitols or the State motto.
I’d love to hear from you. What suggestions do you have about roading trips in general or road trips with kids?