We were a big ‘road-trip family’ when I was a kid.
Nearly every summer, wedged between hockey camps for my brother and I, and work commitments for my parents, we would go on a family vacation.
Often, we’d head to northern California to visit family, and eventually – after what seemed like an eternity to the two impatient kids – we would reach Disneyland: summer vacation’s holy grail.
We always drove, usually with our tent-trailer in tow. Our entire journey would take about two weeks.
The idea that we would – or even could – fly directly to southern California never even occurred to me until I was older and encountered classmates who were just as confused by my family’s driving holiday as I was by their fancy air travel.
We’d take our time – stretching the trip south across a few days, stopping at whatever roadside attractions caught our eye.
As an adult, conversely, nearly all my vacations have involved flying, partly because we haven’t had the extended holiday time to drive, but mostly because I don’t have the patience of my parents.
Even without the pressure of having to make “good time,” those childhood trips were still long enough to rattle even the calmest, most composed children – which my brother and I were certainly not.
Parents know how those trips go.
“Are we there yet?”
“He’s looking out my window!”
“I have to go to the bathroom!”
We were no different. One summer, during which my brother and I had taken to collecting Topps baseball stickers, my forward-thinking mom bought what had to be hundreds of dollars worth of Topps packs. When we’d start to get a little fidgety, she’d toss a few into the backseat – like a trainer at Seaworld throwing fish to a couple seals – and peace would once again wash over the back seat.
I thought of that trip recently, as my wife and I made the long drive home from near the B.C.-Alberta border, where we’d been camping for a week with friends.
Rather than heed the leisurely lessons from my childhood, we just wanted to get home and into clothes that didn’t smell of campfire smoke.
We woke early and were ready to go before our friends were even out of bed.
We stopped once for gas, and at the urging of my wife, grabbed lunch, too, though I wanted to cancel all non-essential stops in the interest of time, in an attempt to win my race against no one.
Rest assured, it was not nearly as fun as those old trips to California.
Eventually, we made it home – hungry, tired and unshowered. I’m not even sure the clothes I was wearing were clean.
We didn’t stop for any baseball stickers, either.
Made great time though.
Nick Greenizan is a reporter at the Peace Arch News.
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