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Knowing When You Have Arrived: The Family Road Trip

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Chevrolet recently conducted a survey on family road trips where 93 percent of all parents say they like or love taking road trips with their family. And 90 percent of kids admitted to like

spending time on the road with their families. This is music to my ears. In just a few weeks, my family and I will be joining the more than one-third of Americans (35%) who plan road trips every year.

We do a lot of driving for our vacations, often traveling east, through Utah to the Colorado Rockies. Every December we consciously choose to take this drive, it’s a family tradition. This year our destination is Wyoming – 16 hours together from Northern California, over two days. It’s more social than the alternative – a long flight, the four of us sucked into our devices, alone in our seats.

The drive provides a perfect opportunity for us to socialize with one another in a way that ends up being some of the most cherished time we spend all year. 

The drive provides a perfect opportunity for us to socialize with one another in a way that ends up being some of the most cherished time we spend all year.  We play road games like 21 questions and take turns playing DJ. Each of us curates the playlists with songs that we think will be most well-received by the other people in the car. And so, it ends up being a generosity practice. When it’s my turn, I pick songs that I think Joanna or the children are going to love. I look forward to their reaction because there’s nothing like seeing their faces light up when they hear a song I know they haven’t heard in awhile. It’s awesome. 

There’s a peacefulness in a long drive, with the rhythm of the open road. Our lives are typically in a mode of instant gratification, but there is no easy way when buckling in for a 16-hour, two-day drive. I imagine other people might describe this experience as tedious and slow, sort of like choosing to paint a picket fence when you could just as quickly have someone do it for you. For me, the long drive is a form of gratitude that comes with settling in and just doing it. It’s slow, but it’s also lovely. There is a real beauty in arriving at your destination, knowing that you pushed past the discomfort and made it through to the other side.

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