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Ode to the Road The Road Trips of our Lives

Recently, in the early morning dawn, I dreamed I was a child again, helping my parents to pack up our white Rambler for our annual summer vacation. When I awoke, I had a yen to pack up my car and take off. This feeling is not unfamiliar to me. It reoccurs every summer and seems to be imbedded in my subconscious by wonderful, childhood vacation memories. I encourage you to take a sentimental journey by reminiscing on your own childhood family vacations, and then on trips taken later on in your life.

Although you might not remember what you did last week, vacation memories are often surprisingly vivid even those from long ago. Road trips reflect how we viewed life at various ages and stages of our life. Take time out to remember the excitement you felt as a child, a young adult and perhaps as a parent-as you left your every day routine behind to explore and share exciting new places with your family. Childhood Vacations: The most wonderful thing about our childhood vacations is spending time together with our parents, brothers, and sisters. At no other time is a family more of a cohesive unit than when traveling together-especially on a road trip.

When I was a child, our family vacations were spent in the beautiful outdoors. I loved being near the water and fondly recall lakeside vacations that were spent water skiing, swimming, and boating. Reminisce on the places and activities that kept you happily occupied on your childhood vacations. These memories hold the key to places and interests that are just waiting to be rediscovered. Teen and Young Adult Years: Life is exhilarating and we're likely to impetuously seize opportunities to independently travel with our friends, rather than our parents.

Problematic scenarios such as running out of money or having car trouble are the furthest things from our mind. Looking back at my own naivety and lack of sensibility reminds me why I question the judgment of my teenage daughter. Mark Twain's quote could certainly have been written by me, "Providence protects fools and idiots. I know because I have tested it." The Parenting Years: Anticipating problems becomes very important to us when we're parents and the well-being of our precious cargo is foremost on our minds. Parents have the responsibility of planning, packing, and paying for their family's trip as well as making sure that it's fun and safe.

Vacations can be quite arduous, especially when our kids are young. And yet-the memories of those family vacations will warm your heart and make you smile for years and years to come. And one day your kids will remember their wonderful family vacations and pass the legacy on to their own children. The Kids are Grown: My most recent road trips demarcate a new phase in my life. With all three of my children over the age of 18, I've returned to the days when I can take spur of the moment road trips.

They are as exhilarating today as they were when I was young, but now I have the common sense that I lacked as a teenager. For the first time in decades, I've taken childfree trips with my husband and several of my friends. I've also taken several long distance road trips by myself. If you need to clear your mind or get your creative juices flowing, I highly recommend that you take a road trip on your own. The task of driving occupies enough of the left-brain to free your right-brained creativity. Solo road trips can be a spiritual journey, helping us to learn to listen to ourselves.

We can stop whenever we like, wherever we like, for as long as we like. And it gives us the opportunity to reminisce on the road trips of our lives.

Patti Teel is a former teacher and the creator of an award winning audio series for children. Her book, The Floppy Sleep Game gives parents techniques to help their children relax, deal with stress and fall asleep. Get R&R tips and sign up for her newsletter at You can listen to her online radio show at

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