Ep 08 | What We’ve Learned After 50,000 Miles of Road Tripping with Kids, pt. 2

If you missed Part 1, head here!

Where You’re Going (and Stops Along the Way)

  • Find hidden gems!
    • We never really think we’re doing anything special until we come back from trips and have friends tell us – “you always find the best spots!” We don’t always hit the jackpot, but we are constantly on a treasure hunt for the best hikes, gorgeous waterfalls, fun/unique playgrounds, bike parks, geocaches, Little Free Libraries, etc!
      • It’s usually our goal to find a quiet spot where we can’t see another human, especially in national parks!
    • We have found that bucket lists can be great for inspiring a vision for road trips:
    • Best coffee shops
    • Gluten free bakeries
    • Recently we have started looking for the best libraries in America, and Outstanding architecture in each state.
      • These things often take us into urban centers or off the beaten path and break up the trip and add highlights on the long route to a destination. 
    • Google Maps
      • Ray is incredible at scouring Google Maps for open green spaces and bodies of water. He flips back and forth between satellite view and map view to find hidden gems of what’s nearby and tags them for a possible future visit. These are often our greatest discoveries!
      • Museum Passes… ASTC
        • Google Map
    • Instagram via hashtags or the location tab.
      • Follow local travel photographers on IG, search by hashtag or location; then we tag those places as ‘want to go’ on Google Maps 
    • Ask the locals.
      • Learned this one from my dad ;) Ask waitstaff, people walking their dogs, anyone who looks like a local what their favorite spots are… the ones only the locals know about, away from tourists. We have found some of the most amazing beaches and lookouts this way! (Ray said don’t ask them for coffee recs, though, ask him about that or download the Source Coffee App or follow him over @rayandcoffee)
    • A few more favorite apps specific to hiking
      • All Trails is our go-to for searching out spots to hike, and saving maps offline
      • Mountain Bike Project – a favorite for pump tracks/bike parks
      • Geocaching – keep some small items stashed in your car to exchange!

We’ll be honest, we win some + we lose some. We don’t always find gems, we lose shoes (so many shoes), we wear the wrong attire, we deal with crabby attitudes, our kids need to use restrooms at the most inopportune times, etc! It’s all part of the adventure…

Mindset check – for the WHOLE family

  • When everything is awesome, nothing is awesome.
    • We kept that in mind whenever we felt this compulsion of, We need to make everything A GRAND EVENT. When really, if we did too much of that, it watered it all down.
    • Also a great life lesson about what does that mean about real life back home and how we traveled.
    • Maybe it’s okay not to see everything and the point is more of the togetherness than the checking off things on a list, you know?
    • Our kids appreciate the downtime almost as much as we do. :) 
  • Stay open-handed with expectations, hiccups might turn out to be some of the greatest bonding times.
    • Some travel moments are pretty amazing. 
    • And then there are those other moments… like flat tires, sick kids 😷, the stress of trying to keep little ones quiet+walking in public places when they’ve already sat in a car for 8 hours and just need to shout+RUN 🏃, kids who wake up early because of time changes, or who haven’t slept enough and then won’t stop complaining about  e v e r y t h i n g , traffic that triggers anxiety, a toddler who screams and screams in the car for way too long, the bummer of not always having easy access to real food…  we could go on and on, but –
    • Travel is a package deal: good and bad, easy and hard, magical and maddening. You don’t really get one without the other. The thing we love is how much it stretches us and challenges us. EVEN IF the good and bad are imbalanced more toward the latter, we’re still convinced that it’s worth it and we count it as joy when these little trials come our way… we also cling to the fact that it’s producing perseverance/growth/endurance/patience. 😊 We all grow up a little bit on these trips.

“It’s not an adventure, unless – at some point – you wish you hadn’t gone!” 

– Ray :)

The more you do it, the more they (and you!) get used to it (so just GO FOR IT!)

I am also here to say – especially if you have little ones – IT GETS EASIER + the more you do it, the more they get used to it! At some point, you just GO and you learn as you do it. There’s no way you’ll ever be 100% ready. It’s the same thing here. We realized, “Oh my goodness, we’re NEVER going to get all our ducks in a row. At some point, we just need to do it.”

We really do believe that kids become better travelers when they have travel experience. A lot of times, when people say, “Oh my, my kid couldn’t manage 12 hours, let alone 2,” we typically agree that it does start out that way, but then make the argument that they get better the more they have experiences.

So like we said in the beginning, start small –  go somewhere within a 1-2-hour driving radius of where you live. Try that first, especially if you have little kids, and then go a little further and then a little further to where you might actually one day legitimately do an East Coast or West Coast road trip with your kids and actually LOVE it because it really is fun!

“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.” 

Tsh Oxenreider, At Home in the World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe

Ok, that was a LOT! But really truly, we would love to hear from you and continue the conversation – send us an email at podcast@rayandkelly.co – and btw, if you are enjoying these episodes, we would LOVE if you could take a moment to write a quick review on iTunes!

Family Culture-Making, Podcast, Work/Life