Road trip vacations. Love 'em or hate 'em?

Road trip vacations

Do you travel by car for your summer holidays?

Was that the way you travelled as a kid? If so, this week’s column is for you. I want to know if you love it or hate it. (Please note I have my tongue firmly planted in my cheek at this point …)

As a kid, if you had siblings I am sure you remember the formalities of back seat travel.

“This is my side, you stay on your side” (as the older sibling drew a firm imaginary line across the seat). If not followed, this rule warranted the worst punishment your sibling(s) could think of.

You had to know at least six verses of “Down by the Bay” to contribute in the family sing-along, or suffer knowing you caused the breakdown of a tradition (only parents could end the song).

You had to be ready to play I Spy, Punch Buggy or license plate bingo when asked, or be prepared for teasing and/or grumpiness for as long as they saw fit (possibly the rest of the day).

Road snacks had to be shared equally, which sometimes required counting out kernels of popcorn or chips to ensure no hanky-panky occurred.

These formalities were necessary because the environment of the back seat was cramped and stressful. It was akin to being in a foxhole in wartime. You could never get comfortable, the temperature was never right and you were either drenched in dog drool or itchy from the crumbs of snacks being eaten while driving. The windows had to be open as there was no air conditioning, which meant you had to shout to talk and your hair slapped you in the face constantly. It did feel like a pause in the battle when the drive ended for the day.

I never got to do a road trip with my stepdaughter when she was little, but I respect the work it took as an adult to organize such a voyage. I was astounded at my parents’ stamina, managing all-day drives so we had more time at our destination campsite.

My mom was a master at pouring coffee from a thermos in a moving car. She even knew just where to hold the cup for my dad to grab it while driving—without looking. And her sandwiches were expertly wrapped in waxed paper to maintain them, with road-safe ingredients (egg salad is an no-no in a hot car but bologna works great).

My parents talked them up, but I don’t think they loved road trips. I remember one glorious trip to Long Beach that almost didn’t happen when we arrived late after a long day on those Vancouver Island logging roads. It was obviously tough setting up my uncle’s tent trailer for the first time in the dark. As my brother and I sat quietly in the back seat, I heard my mom swear for the first time when she broke a nail in the process.

Perhaps, today it’s different. We didn’t have travel mugs when I was a kid, much less tablets or (cellular) phones or—can you believe it?—a back seat screen for movies or video games.

Road snacks in my childhood days were often homemade. The convenience goods were saved for camping. Remember the breakfast cereal you could eat in the little box by slicing open the side and pouring in the milk?

Cookies, like Oreos and Dads Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, were reserved for eating when away from home. And what is better as a nighttime snack than the popcorn you shake over the campfire?

Maybe I am overly nostalgic in my recollection of my childhood summer vacations. How do you remember your road trips? For me, they were just the part that “built my character”, as my dad used to say (meaning they make the story even better in the telling).

This week, I’d like to take a poll and see if there are more positive or negative memories out there.

Are road trips a great rite of passage and a wonderful part of vacation memories? Or are they a childhood trauma you prefer not to recall or repeat anytime soon?

Please send me an email here with your vote. I will reveal the voting tally in next week’s column.

However you managed to enjoy a bit of a vacation this summer, I hope it made for happy memories.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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