When I was a child, we traveled. Almost all of travel was in the car (as was Dear Hubby’s); nonetheless, I saw many National Parks and traveled through a good many states in my short 18 years at home. When I was a child, I thought four kids constituted a small family!
We travel with our kids, five in all. We started traveling when our oldest was an infant, and we’ve just never stopped. Everyone thinks we are crazy. They think it even more when they find out most of our travel is by car.
Dear Hubby and I talked a lot about travel before our first daughter came along. We agreed that in air travel, something is lost. When our oldest was just a baby, my dad said, “It’s good for kids to be bored.” I embraced that theory. I think it is good for kids to be bored. I think it’s great to just stare out the window a while or cat-nap in the back seat. We have never had a DVD player in our car. We’ve had audio books. We’ve had car games. We’ve had adventures. We’ve had long hours of staring out the windows.
On one memorable trip that spanned six weeks, we were in our third full day of desert. I admit that I was starting to wonder why we’d chosen this particular route when I overheard the girls talking to each other about how this desert (in western Ariziona) differed from New Mexico’s desert, which differed from Texas’ desert. They had a pretty long conversation about it, each arguing merits of different deserts. This epitomizes why we travel by car; we love the experience of really being in the landscape. That is also why we camp on our “vacations.” Yes, you read that right, we camp. We absolutely love it, too. Yes it’s work, especially for me. But it’s also incredibly fun. Our kids have had a lot of adventures, and most of them involve camping. We’ve camped in the wilds and in cities like Memphis. You can find an oasis almost anywhere.
But back to why people think we are crazy. Most large families these days– i.e. more than three kids– do not travel. Probably because air travel for seven is prohibitively expensive. Yet we took our first trip (ironically by air) with the “new” kids only 10 days after they came to us. And as you read this I am with all 5 of my kids, sans hubby, on a road trip that will tip the scales at 5,000 miles round-trip. And yes, we’re camping. Cheers!