Yesterday morning, two of my children and my niece hopped into the car to meet up with my sister in order to safely hand back her precious daughter. I have found that I love to go on a short road trip for a number of reasons. Here in the upper Midwest, if you are going to drive for two hours, you are going to conquer a fair amount of miles. At 70 to 75mph on the interstate, you can get a pretty good distance away from home. Sometimes the landscape changes, but inevitably, you are going to have a trip which will showcase God's beauty and time to reflect on the marvels of his creation.

Traveling with my kids often times provides me a lot of thinking and "zoning out" time. On the way to meet my sis, all of the kiddos were involved with reading joke books and picking out their favorites. Every once in awhile, they would share with me one of their favorites, but all in all, they giggled and laughed to themselves. On the way home, both of them zonked and I had a blissfully quiet trip, complete with talk radio so I could get educated on what is going on in the outside world. Needless to say, I relished the time, and treasured every second.

This particular road trip started me thinking about how different and how much we have changed in a generation. These are some generalizations I noticed that show the differences compared to when I traveled as a youngster...

1. I could stop at any given drive through along the way to purchase a coffee - it would have been brought in a thermos from home in the past
2. Rest stops are for bathroom breaks now - but we used to bring a cooler and have lunch at a picnic table
3. We have air conditioning - need I make the comparison?
4. My kids were safely buckled in seat belts and car seats - my sister and I would lie across the back window or on the floor to get comfortable
5. Each child has their own seat - no rubbing across potentially scratchy legs and complaints of "you're touching me" are greatly reduced
6. Although I don't have one, if my kids asked if we were there yet, I could probably check my GPS or direction finder...
7. Cruise control
8. Bathrooms are plentiful as are gas stations - from point A to point B, I had a tremendous selection right along the interstate
9. My cell phone was ready and available - not only for emergencies, but just to pass the time away. Heck, my sis and I were able to determine a meeting site in the town rather than plan ahead just by calling each other on the road
10. Books and songs and license plate games have been replaced by movies, ipods, and handheld games (however, disclaimer - we still do the books, songs, and games..)

There was one thing that does remain the same - road construction. :) But, if I plan ahead and can determine a different route in a touch of a button.

The other thing that is the same is the joy of having a family to travel with and how we still enjoy being together. Whether a short trip, or a long marathon, time spent together makes you stronger, more patient, and understanding. While I may not always learn these lessons at the time, I do look back on travel time with my kids as precious memory building opportunities, and character testing as well. I wouldn't have it any other way.
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4 Responses
  1. Tiffany Says:

    Funny...the comparisons I mean. I remember plenty of road trips with my family where we were sprawled across the car--never in seat belts. And, the bathrooms were always nasty no matter where you stopped, unless it was a restaurant. I'm thankful that has changed! And, I truly can't imagine a road trip without a cell phone!
    Glad you had a good trip and had some time to chill, watch the miles fly by, and think.

  2. Bonnie Says:

    i remember walking around in the van while we were on road trips ! can you imagine ?? i don't even let my kids take their seat belts off to get the food they've dropped on the floor ! ha ha. times sure have changed. loved your comparisons !

  3. Amy Says:

    LOL! I hear ya on the all the conveniences our kid's have as opposed to what we had to do to entertain... man, I just remember looking out the window ALOT! And playing Madlib, and looking forward to all our bathroom stops at Stuckies :) It's so different now! Hope you had a beautiful time with your seeester! Hugs to you! Amy

  4. Joyce Says:

    Hi, Sarah,
    So glad you had a great road trip with your children, and got to visit with your sister!

    I enjoyed your comparison of road trips 'then' and 'now'. I am older than you, so maybe your family never did this, but we took along a 'port-a-potty' on long trips. The open van doors provided 'privacy' from motorists, while family members looked the other way! :P This was probably done because, as you mentioned, gas station bathrooms were uniformly dirty.