Many times when we hop in the car for a road trip, we get so concerned with the destination or arrival time that we forget to enjoy the journey. I remember once when the kids and I took a road trip and headed out to spend time with family and make some memories. We thought we knew where we are going so we just put a general destination into the GPS. We quickly learned that sometimes enjoying the journey is more important than rushing to the destination.
5 Tips for Enjoying the Journey
When the kids and I took off on the road trip, we thought we knew where we going so we didn’t take the time to consult a map. Two hours late we finally arrived at the first leg of our journey. Along the way, we ended up meandering through the Daniel Boone National Forrest, on boat ramps, curvy roads, and beautiful mountainous scenery.
At one point along the winding journey I realize that I was frustrated and putting the entire family into tense mode because I was so concerned about the destination that I forgot to enjoy the scenery around us. We had to take a minute and regroup so we could enjoy the journey.
My mom and aunt recently took a road trip down to Alabama. This was a 12 hour trip that they could have made in nine hours had they taken the interstate. But they were convinced that there was things to see and memories to be made by taking the road less traveled. Along the way they saw waterfalls, stopped in to see family, found some fun local shops and enjoyed some beautiful scenery. They both realized that their journey needed to be just as important as the destination.
Get off the interstate.
Sometimes it’s important to take the shortest route from point A to point B, but when we focus on the destination we often forget to enjoy the journey. Is there a smaller road that you can take that will let you wind through the country instead of just staying on the interstate? I love the line from the Pixar film, Cars where Sally says Back then the road didn’t cut through the land like that interstate. It moved with the land, it rose, it fell, it curved. Cars didn’t drive on it to make great time. They drove on it to have a great time.
Build in time for unexpected stops.
As you are driving, be on the lookout for unusual landscapes, landmarks or unique places to stop. Even on the interstate, you can find some great places for stretch breaks. While traveling south on I65 recently, we found the best place to stop for local produce and peaches in Canton, Alabama! On another trip, we saw a brown historical marker telling us that we were one exit away from President Woodrow Wilson’s birthplace. Of course we stopped and took 20 minutes to explore the grounds.
Even the most adventurous members of the family become bears when they get hungry. On one family trip we decided to take a detour and go explore President James Buchanan’s birthplace monument. It was getting close to supper and the family was ready to eat. Fortunately, we had snacks in the car that helped tide us over while we did some exploring before we got back on the road.
Always carry a camera:
Even a simple detour that only takes 20 minutes can create lasting memories. You want to capture those unexpected memory moments with a picture. When we realized that our travels had brought us to the highest point in Kentucky simply by accident, we had to stop and take a picture of the moment. On a trip through Pennsylvania, when we saw a huge truck sculpture on the side of the road, we knew it was the perfect photo opp for a family memory.
Use your smart phone:
As you travel, utilize your smart phone! Remember that huge truck sculpture? We did a quick internet search and found out that it was just one sculpture in a series called Roadside Giants along the Lincoln Highway! That made us start looking for more! We learned something about our family adventure. Anytime you see something that stands out on your journey, take a minute and learn about it!
Next time you hop in the car, think about whether you can make the trip a little more enjoyable and fill it with a few more memories by focusing on the journey rather than just the destination?
Sharon Williams is a mom of 3 who loves to read, travel, take pictures, work in the flowers and spend time with family. When she’s not blogging, she’s probably out enjoying life so she’ll have something fun to blog about tomorrow!