“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Mark Twain
What do you remember from your childhood travels? Were they good or tedious memories? We traveled a lot when I was a child; by caravan, ship, train, plane and automobile. Travel was a huge part of our lives; partly because of my dad’s work demands and partly because my family loved traveling. While most of my memories were entertaining, light and even a doozy, there were a few trips along the way that were a drag; the road stretched forever… But that’s not what this post is about. Of all the trips we took, our plane trips, thankfully, were the least memorable. We hopped on and a few hours later, we hopped off. Our caravan and automobile rides were the most entertaining; mainly because they were long distances, required a lot more preparation, took more time to complete, and covered many sites and stops along the way.
What I do remember, even more than some of the road-trips, was the enormous amount of time that went into preparing for our sojourn. Days before we left, the two designated cars were checked thoroughly; tires, lights, gears, brakes and such, then both cars were filled with gas. We often traveled in two cars because, for superstitious reasons, my parents felt it would be wise to have each parent in a separate car. They did this only for road trips… don’t ask. A travel plan was created, mapping out not only the distance and the route to travel, but additional tools to bring along, extra tires and jacks, and where our rest stops were going to be along the way. I remember how much my dad cherished his maps and how carefully the locations; site seeing, food and bathroom stops were circled on the maps. Each car had its own set of maps and we traveled in a mini caravan fashion; keeping track of each other and pulling over when a tire needed changing or one of us kids had a bathroom emergency… Yeah, those road-trips were loooooooooong.
“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” St. Augustine
In case you are wondering how I came up with my 524 mile road trip, I used Mapcrow.info (a great site for calculating distances around the world) to calculate the round-trip mileage for one of my favorite family holiday trips in Nigeria. Check them out and calculate the distances for your trips anywhere in the world. Anyway, once the basic logistics were mapped out, then a list of items to carry was drawn up and some of those things carefully packed away in the trunks of the cars. Since our road trips were during major holidays like Christmas, gifts were the first to be tucked away. Other things we made sure to carry were:
♥story books, paper and colored pencils to share along the way
♥music tapes to listen to and perhaps fight over
♥water containers/bottles which ended being used for spills and cleanup as well as drinking
♥hand towels, paper napkins, tissues and even toilet paper
♥lots of snacks – dried fruits, nuts, chips and other easy to eat finger foods
♥pillowcases to sleep on, to smack each other on the head with and to support our aching backs
♥first aid kit for the occasional accident and a sewing kit for mending shirts caught on bathroom doors
♥Buckets of patience and some sanity 😉
The list above were items we carried in the car and reached for quickly, but we also had ♥extra stuff in the trunk (continued below) which were necessities that made our travels self contained… Our travels always started out with a lot of excitement; with everyone eager to get to the final destination and reconnect with our extended family; relatives we hadn’t seen in almost a year because they lived back in the village. But relatively soon, within an hour or two of our journey, my siblings and I would get antsy and start asking that annoying question: “Are we there yet?” Once that started, it was time for a rest stop or a bathroom break… Then off we went again, hitting the highway, and pretending that this time, we were on a nonstop drive to our final destination… that is until the next child cried uncle or we reached a designated stop. What were your road trips like? I have added the rest below.
“And that’s the wonderful thing about family travel: it provides you with experiences that will remain locked forever in the scar tissue of your mind.” Dave Barry
I don’t know about your travels but we always had one child that needed a change of clothes because of a spill or because one of us barfed from all the fumes and motion sickness that eventually set in. So I’ll add:
♥change of clothes
♥More hand towels, paper napkins, tissues and even toilet paper
♥an alarm clock for those rare nights we checked into a rest-stop
♥an umbrella for inclement weather
♥toiletries especially toothbrushes/paste and soap for a quick wash up
♥garbage bags for all the rubbish tossed around the car
♥utensils for the occasional picnic or to cut fruit
♥extra cash; notes and coins for a variety of things; some of which we got for behaving…
For the life of me, I don’t know what we did for communication as cellphones were a futuristic fantasy… Do you? Nevertheless, people got around and information traveled quickly. Today, I’d take all the things I mentioned with cellphones and wireless laptops thrown in… But then, I’d probably get on a plane and just fly there. I’m a bit partial to flying now. I wonder why… What about you? What are your thoughts? What travel memories do you hold dear? What is your preferred mode of travel? Do share! Thank you. 😉
This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Daily Post: Planes, trains or automobiles? What is your favorite way to travel 500 miles?
Positive Motivation Tip: Travel the roads with an open heart and return home with one filled with awe.
- Top 10 stress-free road trip ideas (holykaw.alltop.com)
- My Longest Road Trip (laurieanichols.wordpress.com)
- Montana road trip: One family’s adventure in Big Sky Country (sfgate.com)
- During my childhood I occasionally took road trips… (traveltalk2.wordpress.com)
- Road Trips: Rules of the road (life.nationalpost.com)