Saturday, November 29, 2014

Traveling in the Modern Age

Warning: This is definitely going to get a bit "in my day, we walked barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways, just to get to the car..."

As many of you likely did, we've been traveling this weekend for Thanksgiving. We went up to spend the holiday with my mom's family in Tacoma - which is fortunately a shorter drive for me now (about 2.5 hours) than it was coming from eastern Washington.

But when I was kid, we'd often travel to relatives' houses - about 6.5 hours across the state to Tacoma for my mom's side, and a couple hours up to Spokane for my dad's side. Our biggest vacation trips were also via car - we drove to California and to Texas on summer trips.

How did my sister and I keep busy on those long drives? We had a lot of books to read (both of us were avid readers from an early age, and eventually were big into Agatha Christie mysteries). We listened to NPR and tapes from NPR shows, specifically Car Talk and Prairie Home Companion. We played car games like the alphabet game, and had Klutz activity books and kits (in particular I remember a travel game one, that included parcheesi with little sticky cubes for the pieces that stuck to the board). 

When traveling today, I'll admit to being a bit too reliant on my phone for entertainment (when not the one driving) (though, smartphones also have some important uses while traveling, too!). But I'm trying to use the time instead to be engaged in conversation with Abe, listen to the radio, and read actual books.

This got me thinking about what we'll do when we have kids. Do kids these days ever not stay occupied with electronics on road trips? I see movies playing in vans virtually all the time! I hear parents talking about ipads for their toddlers. Do these kids even know how to entertain themselves? 

It seems like families focus more on not letting their kids get bored during a road trip - but what better opportunity for several hours in the car than to teach your kids how to occupy themselves and their minds? Easier said than done of course, as I have yet to have to up with a kid in a van for a day! But I'd like to think it can still happen.

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