The Great American Road-Trip. An art to which I would humbly submit myself as a master. Perhaps not a Da Vinci or Rembrandt, but at least a Jackson Pollack, or “guy who draws Dilbert.” I grew up in a military family, with the transitory lifestyle that goes along with it. As a result, most of our summers began with a road-trip back to Washington to visit our extended family.
I’ve made the trip from one coast to the other, whether it be in the driver seat, back seat, or trunk (just kidding), at least 10 times; with countless slightly shorter journeys in between. At times, the endless hours trapped in the backseat, overflowing with “are we there yet’s,” seemed a mild form of torture. My family always, “made really good time,” but three days sitting still was three days sitting still no matter how you sliced it.
Looking back however, I find myself rather nostalgic about these grueling ordeals. Many of my fondest memories involve me annoying the crackerjacks out of my two sisters while my parents were focused on the road. Even today I get a twinge of excitement at the prospect of hopping in the car with my family to run off on a miniature adventure. Having the opportunity as mini-nomads to see the Grand Canyon, the Mighty Mississippi, and the World’s Largest Ball of Yarn, is truly a gift. More importantly, long after my parents ears stopped ringing, the bite-marks on my arm faded, and the horrific smells left in the car were vanquished, these memories have continued to be a tremendous source of joy in my life.
The value of packing the family up and heading off to experience something magical together, while leaving behind all other distractions is enormous. It can be such a powerful bonding experience.
It’s difficult to find time to get out like this but summer break is a beautiful thing. And how fortunate are we to have such natural beauty at our fingertips in Washington, where a weekend getaway can take you from a rainforest, to an ocean, to an awe-inspiring mountain.
Regardless of what free-time has allowed, I hope you’ve all had a wonderful summer so far, building memories, settling toy ownership disputes, and cutting gum out of hair.
Written by Dan Payne