Take 3 kids, put them in a car, and drive north for a total of about 8 hours. What could possibly go wrong? Well, more importantly, what great things could happen? How is this all affecting me from a writing perspective?
We’d never done a family road trip before, so that in and of itself would be a fun and challenging experience. I had the benefit of having gone to Montana with my 4yo in March, which was a shorter drive but my strategies then worked well, so I scaled them up. Here’s a tip, how do you connect an iPad to the back of a passenger or driver’s seat? Tomato gardening tape. ‘Nuff said.
My wife and I are usually very Type A people, though over the past year, I’ve started to wonder about that. Had years and years of doing things a certain way just melted away? Or were we living dangerously? Caution? The wind’s waiting for you.
We decided to stay with my brother-in-law an extra day, and then on our way down to Edmonton we stopped at a small town’s water park. Holy moley, the town might have been small, but the water park (which was free, for the record) was awesome. I rushed over to Canadian Tire (5 minutes away, this is rural Canada, there is ALWAYS a Canadian Tire 5 minutes away) to get inflatables and a pump, stopped at the 7 eleven for some popsicles, and picked up some nachos chips to add some crunch to our pic nic, and bam, a one hour stop become 4 hours long.
You know, I’ve never traveled like this, or more importantly, I’ve never felt free inside to just truly play something by ear. It’s weird, it’s like I’ve always wanted to feel this inner freedom but until now, I couldn’t, and yes it did take a little effort, it was only really the effort of not rolling back into the rut of many years.
One of the things it’s given me is some time away from my own sense of obligation of working on the current book, the next book, planning the books or the signings or the … MORE the MORE… It’s allowed me to have a pause that I can feel inside and accept as genuine. I need more of these, particularly as I build a pattern to become a successful author.
Growing up, I didn’t have lots of moments with my dad that I think back to now. Yesterday when we went to a camp ground to check out a few things and spent an hour or two with the kids just playing with mud/clay in a river, it was simple and eternal and cool and fun.
Every day my 4yo has said has been the best day ever. My 10yo is finding the brooding teenage-hood has started, but being together I can point these things out to her, help her understand them.
My wife and I get to have a new experience of the family road trip, and exercising sides of ourselves that we don’t usually get to, whether because of opportunity or because of habit. Having been together 20 years now, it’s vital to find those so that there can be another happy 20.
Will there be another family road trip? Absolutely. Will we be looking for more opportunities to challenge ourselves and grow together? That goes without saying.