Obviously, now that I’m a mom and have children of my own, I’ve done my own fair share of car trips with them. With babies in car seats, I learned every changing table between Midcoast Maine to New York City. I learned where every family friendly rest stop was, and what great ‘kid activities’ places were on the drive. When we began traveling in different parts of the country, we learned in just a second, how to sum up the kids’ tolerance level…and if we could squeak just another hour or two in before we stopped. We have had some wonderful memories, listening to books on CD, talking and laughing, and even playing games in the car. Yes, we had times of the children taunting one another with “I’m not touching you”, holding a finger two inches away, and my own brilliant parenting retort of “No one touch anyone every again !”. But, for the most part, our trips were filled with the exhilaration of seeing new places and experiences new things.
Now that my children are in their teen years, our trips have given us more time for in depth discussions. Because my son plays hockey all over the Northeast, it’s given me time to get to know him all over again….who he is now, what his hopes and dreams are, and honestly, to listen to his opinions as a smart young man. It’s also given him pause, as a driver in his own right, to learn that his mom isn’t the best driver in the world. My daughter attends boarding school two states away, and while we miss her horribly, we have come to love the drives back and forth. My husband and I take turns having her all to ourselves. Those four hours in the car give each of us the most amazing quality time for in depth sharing, and a great deal of laughter.
Plane travel is a mode of transportation we have to use, given that half of our extended family lives on the West Coast. It involves long lines, angry people and a great deal of waiting around. It means taking off your shoes, being subjected to searches and lots of delays and lost luggage. We do like that we can go across country in 7 hours by plane. But, I think that plane travels loses something of the essence of a journey…the intimacy of it, and the ability to fully enjoy the trip. By car, there is no danger of lost luggage or an overbooked flight.
Long car trips aren’t without their drawbacks, of course. Stiff backs, aching muscles and too much fast food can wreak havoc on our bodies. One of the best twists in Yoga is the seated twist. This can relieve back pain and help to reset your spine. It can easily be modified to do in a chair (at a rest area) or even if your own car’s seat, when you’re not driving. Keeping both hands on the back of the seat, and bringing your torso to face the back, you will be able to alleviate all that tension very easily, by breathing into the twist, and doing the pose slowly. Of course, taking breaks to drink plenty of water, to eat healthy food, and to go for walks, are also simple ways to fight car trip fatigue.
So, pop in a great book on tape, or blast tunes from your favorite CD, and hop on the road. You never know what adventures will take place along the way.
Travel is more than seeing the sights. It is a change that goes on deep and permament, in the ideas of living. ~ Miriam Beard