Our first experience taking the kids on a road trip adventure wasn’t really planned. It was January of 2009 and my husband had just been laid off from his job. I was a stay at home mom at the time and was doing some parent coaching on the side to bring in extra income. Bret is an actuary, which means that the only way he is able to find jobs is through the use of a professional recruiter. He’d been out of work for a month and his recruiter had just called saying that due to a national convention the following week, he wouldn’t be hearing from any potential employers.
We were both downtrodden and tired. We knew that the average job placement for an actuary was 3 months but we were already tired of waiting and, of course, we were worried. I looked at him and said, “You know, by the time you get a job offer and get started it will be right around spring break. You’ll never be able to take time off then. It’s too bad we can’t just go down to see my parents in Phoenix right now.” It was 4pm on a Friday night. By 11:00pm we were on the road.
The beauty about that first, unplanned trip was that it was so spontaneous. We didn’t worry about what the kids would do in the car. I wasn’t tempted to go out and buy activities to keep them busy or snacks to keep them happy. I went through our pantry and grabbed what would work or what would spoil. I found new crayons and activity books that I kept on hand for rainy days and I packed the clothes that we had on hand. The one purchase we made – two used DS games for the kids’ existing Gameboy systems that required the kids to work as a team to play.
We put the kids to bed in their clothes while we packed, dropped one dog off at a cousin’s, loaded the standard poodle into the truck, filled up with gas, and cranked up our adventure music. We were off.