It’s About Time: The Value of a Road Trip

Growing up, most of my family’s vacations were road trips. My older brother and I would start the adventure with an invisible line drawn in the middle of the seat. Each of us would tempt fate by inching a pinky to the line’s edge, test the boundary on the floorboard by putting a big toe across it, or breaking the neutral zone with a flying shoe.

“You said I couldn’t cross the line, and I didn’t,” I’d say. “It was a shoe. The shoe wasn’t attached to ME!”

A wrestling match was inevitable, and it would only be stopped by our referee of a father threatening, “don’t make me pull over!”

As much of a pill as my brother and I were, my mind is full of all the beautiful things we saw and experiences we had. The blur of colors in the window as the car zoomed through trees, mountains, and flat desert land. Cavern tours. Deer sightings. Swimming in lakes and oceans. Climbing trees. Hiking mountains. Feeding raccoons marshmallows.

Wonder awaited around every corner.

There’s something unifying about creating road trip memories with people you love. It’s about the time together in a forced community. That’s why, when my husband and I had kids, we knew road trips would be part of our journey. We started our camping road trips when two of our three kids were still in diapers and training pants. The goal: visit every state park in Texas.

Our kids are now teenagers, and road trips have become less desirable than roller coasters and race tracks. But COVID re-centered us by reminding us of what’s important.

For my husband, Wonder Voyage board member Brent Richardson, the hunger for the road started a few months back when five men started planning a Boundless Expeditions trip to Big Bend. Four drove, and one flew.

The road trip route went from Dallas to Fredericksburg where they learned the story of a local boy turned military hero at the Nimitz Museum and saw the little-known Texas Stonehenge.

The group hit some food dives, exchanged stories, shared music, and were forced into a deeper conversation than is usually squeezed into a coffee break. No interruptions. No agenda. Just four men, one car, and a dot on the GPS that would take a couple of days to get to.

Once in Big Bend, they met up with Shawn Small at an epic, off-the-beaten-path housing opportunity.

At the Rio Grande River, the men split up amongst the canoes and were joined by a guide who filled their minds with stories of the area while their bodies grew sore from trying to both row and not tip their vessel.

They immersed themselves in the culture, enjoyed sunsets on the deck, ventured on an epic hike, and laughed about the legend of the Marfa lights.

Rather than taking the same route home, the men drove through San Angelo and visited military barracks, a haunted bordello museum, and toured the old stomping grounds of one member of the crew.

On this week-long tour of Texas, they left the worries of home behind. They escaped COVID and headlines. Social media took a backseat, and real conversations took center stage.

As soon as Brent got back home, he started planning the next adventure. In April, he and I will hit the road to New Orleans on a Legacy trip.

No kids. No to-do list. No invisible lines, no “don’t make me pull over” rants, no “are we there yet?” inquisitions. Just two people in a truck, surrounded by the beauty of the land, uninterrupted conversation, and a dot on the GPS.

It’s a taste of our retirement plan.

COVID has taken a lot from us over the last year, but it hasn’t stopped the beauty and escape that a road trip can offer.

If you’re itching to get moving again… wonder is closer than you think.

Jamie has been involved with Wonder Voyage for over 15 years. Her passion is connecting givers with worthwhile project as our Legacy Director.

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