Road TripWritten by Shantel Parks
From VACATION Story Dailies
Where did you choose to travel or spend your vacation?
My only uncle on my mother's side of the family passed away in April this year and while the family was gathered together for his funeral, my aunt insisted that we all make plans to get together under happier circumstances later in the year. She had excellent reasons; aside from the sadness of the occasion that originally brought us together, I hadn't seen her or my uncle and cousins in 12 years. So plans were made and a glorious oceanfront beach house was rented in Ocean Isle, North Carolina.
How did you travel? Describe any memorable experiences that occurred as a result of this choice. How long did it take to get to your destination? Were there any layovers or stops?
That is how I came to spend 6 and a half days in a Suburban driving across this great nation of ours; 3 and a half there, 3 back. Why so long, you ask? Well, I'll tell you exactly what I told my cousin - sleep is necessary. Not only for safe driving, but also for the health and well-being of my four children. Sleep = a well rested mother and well rested children. Well rested mother = higher bickering tolerance. Higher bickering tolerance = alive children. Alive children = pleasant trip for all parties involved. So, no crazy driving straight through 34 hours like my husband and I had done in the past. How on earth we ever managed that and still functioned the following few days, I am in awe of now! My only explanation is that we were much younger and far more foolish then.
Everyone I told about this trip automatically assumed that since we were going so far we would be flying. And when I smiled and said that we would be driving because we could do the entire trip - lodging, food, gas, goodies, souvenirs, extras, etc. - for what plane tickets for the 6 of us would cost just to get us there, they said I was crazy. They said the kids would fight the whole time. They said it was going to take sooooooooo long. At first I was annoyed, as though they thought I hadn't thought through any of this and I was being stupid. And then I got nervous and started second guessing myself. What if I was really being naive? What if it is just the most miserable thing ever in the recorded history of road trips?
Guess what? They were wrong.
Sure, there was some bickering. And yes, on the last day, we were all ready to be out of the vehicle and at home in our own beds, but I feel that way after most trips, anyway. And maybe I am crazy, because I'd do it again in a heartbeat! Not for the beach house, although i will not even lie, that was entirely made out of fabuous. No, I'd do it for all of the uninterruped time I had with my monkeys while we were driving. I know when I'm at home I am often guilty of wishing for time to myself. But this was unique and I don't know that I can adequately explain why. I know that my kids have great memories of the time spent with their cousins at the beach. But I also know that a lot of their favorite moments happened when it was just our family, either in the car or at one of our pit stops along the way, and it thrills me that those are the ones I hear about the most.
As an example, we stopped along the way to take som epictures of a historical site. While my husband was driving around trying to find a place to park, he rolled the windows down so I could still take pictures at various angles as he drove. Because there were several people on the sidewalks around the site and within hearing distance of our vehicle, I was speaking softly to him, saying I wished I could take a picture but some of them were in the shot. He didn't quite hear me, or know why I was talking quietly, so he stage whispered, "Why aren't you taking any pictures?" I responded, in the same exaggerated whisper, that there were people in the way so it wouldn't make a good shot. This loud whispering went on for several exchanges, increasing in sarcastic intensity, when I realized suddenly that it was all quiet in the back of the vehicle. I turned around to see what was up, and one of my kids wispered, "It's like we're on a spy mission to get some pictures and we can't let anyone hear us." Cue the Mission: Impossible theme, supplied by one of the other children, and until we left the site, all conversation was conducted in urgent whispers. Now that we are at gine if anyone loudly whispers, "Please pass the milk," giggling remembrances ensue.
However, if I could change one thing, i would not do my vacation the last week of summer and drive all night the Saturday before school is supposed to start. THAT was obviously not well thought out!
For more ideas, check out our Vacation story starter.
Shantel's love of story began in her childhood with fairy tales. As a wife of 13 years and a mother of 4, she gets a daily sampling of the many genre's of story, including (but not at all limited to) - humor, alternate history, dramatic interpretations, tall tales, tragedy, and a smattering of anecdotes based on true stories. A sometimes blogger, a frequent do-it-yourselfer, and always fond of Cadbury Mini Eggs, Shantel can be found, most days, going 5 different directions, but usually ending up in her favorite place - at home.
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