Road Trip

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Picture this; a scenic drive along the Mediterranean. Lush, green mountains on your left and a breathtaking drop to a sapphire blue ocean on your right. Passing through quaint Italian, Spanish and French villages. Absorbing the countryside and getting charmed by the cultures. Driving for hours on end and stopping for a picnic on the grass under the radiant sun. Finding a storybook B&B to stay the night in and then waking up refreshed the next morning, ready to do it all again.

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Now imagine this with two, screaming and fighting boys in the backseat.

Me and the husband have been planning for our dream vacation; two weeks of driving through Europe. Stopping wherever we fancied and taking up the architecture, sights, scents and tastes of the historic cities and villages. Start in Spain, and end up in Germany or Belgium or Denmark or anywhere, it doesn’t matter as long as we enjoy the ride in-between. It has been on our minds for so long that we can almost taste it.

But then we had two wonderful, boisterous, driving-us-insane boys and the trip keeps getting postponed. First it was when Adam turns 6. Now it’s when Jo turns at least 8 (he’s a joy to have in the car). And that’s six and a half years from now. The thing is, even though I know it will be a highly educational, once-in-a-lifetime experience for the boys, I just realised I don’t want to do it with kids at all.

What brought on this realisation? Well, on Christmas break we drove over to Vancouver. It’s a 12 hour trip one-way that cut through the Rockies and not much else. Whenever we told anyone we were driving they looked at us as if we were crazy. But we were unfazed. After all, we love driving. Come on, our drive vacation is to drive for two weeks. Right? Wrong. Try driving 12 hours with two bored kids.

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Adam began asking ‘When will we get there?’ 15 minutes after we left Calgary. Jo had finished all his snacks 30 minutes into the ride and was on a sugar high. The boys started fighting and I was going crazy. Thankfully we were prepared. Cars 2, Ice Age 3 and three repeat performances of Toy Story 2 (most of them running at the same time), plus multiple stories read, snacks that turned the car into a travelling garbage can, a Galaxy Tab, an iPod, Adam pretending that he’s a news reporter with Jo screaming the accompanying sound track, four children’s song albums played, one stop at McDonalds and we were thankfully at the halfway point. After that it was smooth sailing, me and my husband switched places (I was driving the rest of the way since my husband is notorious for falling asleep at the wheel), and the kids went to bed. And I drove the remaining 6 hours in peace and quiet.

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I still want to do my Europe road trip but now I’m thinking of ditching the kids before I do it or waiting until I ship them off to college before I can start living again. It also makes me sympathetic with my husband who freaks out at the idea of a third kid. All he can think of when I say baby #3 is,

‘Oh my God, that’s an extra three years added on to my life sentence. Please don’t do that to me. I want to be free.’

 

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8 thoughts on “Road Trip

    • Thank you for your thoughts. How old were your children when you did the journey and how did you manage to entertain them? In spite of my ranting, I actually would want them to enjoy our many planned road trips with us (well not all of them – I need a break too) 🙂

  1. My daughter is older that your kids, but she learned to knit at school, and then she would take up some of the time in the backseat knitting. When she was done, then it would be: Can we stop now?

    • Oh, that is so awesome. I hope that you benefitted from all that knitting though 🙂

      It might get better as they get older but I’m not too optimistic. My eldest is ADD – so good luck with that – and my youngest, well, let’s just say he is a handful.

      But we love the road trip culture and are hoping that they grow up loving it too. There’s so much we want to do; the West Coast, Europe, the Middle East & North Africa….

    • I came this close to telling my husband to take the car home with the kids and I’ll catch a plane. This close. But like I said my husband can easily sleep at the wheel (Which is why I always take the night shift) and then I would be minus one husband and two kids. So I had to reconsider.

  2. We travelled quite a lot in Europe when the children were small, (they’re big grown ups now). As I’m in the UK, driving in France, Spain, etc was frequent. I have driven all over Europe, some countries scarier than others. Of course, for us in the UK, everyone is driving on the ‘wrong side’ of the road, which is dificult to adjust to. When visiting cities I would advise parking on the outskirts and getting public transport in. Most European city centres were built for horse and cart not cars. Great experience for the children and lots to engage them with so I don’t think boredom will be an issue. But just in case, we took lots of cassettes (it was that long ago) of children’s stories and played the usual games. They used to love it.

    • Well you’re giving me hope. Thanks for that. Maybe the day will come sooner than expected. We’re thinking of doing the West Coast in a year or so. I could probably consider it a trial run for Europe.

      And I know what you mean about ‘driving on the wrong side of the road’ I always feel the same way in the UK 🙂

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