I took my first solo road trip with my daughter when she was only a year old. We drove from where we were living at the time – in the Okanagan Valley, B.C. – to visit a friend in Calgary, Alberta. Roughly a 10 hour drive in total depending on how frequently you need to stop – which is obviously often when travelling with a little one in diapers.
That first road trip on my own was such an empowering experience for me, especially as an at-the-time single mom who was fortunate enough to have very supportive, very involved parents who were an endless source of support for me but who occasionally – through no fault of their own – left me feeling like less of a mom because I needed help (but that’s another story for another blog post, although I would like to make it clear they never made me feel that way, it was other people’s comments that got under my skin. But again, another blog, another day.)
But that trip. I had no one to rely on. No back up. No safety net. It was just me, the kiddo, and the road. Ok and the car. And the diaper bag. And about a million other things packed into the car, you get my point though. It was an adventure for just the two of us, and by the end I felt more confident in my skills as a mother than ever before.
My mom and I used to road trip together a lot. My entire family has always been really into road trips actually. We drove nearly all the way across Canada – twice – first when we moved from B.C. to Ontario, and then back to B.C. a handful of years later. But again, another blog post for another day because this post is about those solo trips. Small 2 hour day trips here and there. To Vancouver and back for a weekend more times than I can count. When my daughter was born, she joined our little road tripping crew and the 3 of us continued our journey all over B.C. and occasionally over to Alberta. Sometimes we had reasons for our trips, such as the time I tracked down where my grandmother’s mother had been buried in Alberta so we drove there to visit my great grandmother’s grave. Or when we wanted to take a Girls Weekend drive to Victoria to visit Buchardt Gardens and the Butterfly Gardens for May long weekend, so we rented a van and drove out that way, falling in love with “Sidney by the Sea” along the way. Sometimes our road trips were just because we felt like going for a drive. On a few occasions we’d just pick a random direction and just head out, just because we wanted to explore.
We’d get snacks. We’d pack CDs (yes, CDs) and whether my mother liked it or not I’d sing to her the whole damn time. (She swears she likes it but I’ve heard myself so I think maybe she was just hearing me through the “I love it because I’m your mom” filter.) When I wasn’t singing, we were talking about every single topic under the sun. When I got old enough to drive we started sharing driving duty, something I’m looking forward to in a few short years when my own daughter learns to drive.
Some of the Reasons Why Taking Solo Road Trips With Your Kids Is Awesome
- Lot’s of quality time for lot’s of quality conversation. Conversation seems to flow better on a road trip for some reason. Maybe it’s the lack of having much else to do (although these days being glued to their phones is still an option, but you can hopefully still get some good chats out of them.)
- New surroundings have a magical way of pushing you into a new place.
- Road trip snacks are awesome and nothing feels cooler than when your mom let’s you pick out whatever snack you want…except maybe growing up to be the cool mom who let’s your kids pick out any snack they want!
- It can be a really education experience, both because of what you’ll learn as you talk along the way, and what you might see and discover on your journey.
- It’s a great bonding experience, and a way to make new memories. Years after you’ll still be laughing sometimes about a funny thing you saw as you drove through an unfamiliar town, or recounting tales of getting lost or any number of things. When my mom and I were frequently road tripping her car would sometimes overheat and we’d be stuck on the side of the road for hours. We hated it at the time but we laugh about it now.
- There are so many different options and no two road trips are exactly the same. Weather, the direction you head, even the time of day you hit the road can all drastically alter the experience (in good and bad ways of course, certain times of the year are not the greatest for long drives.)
Leave me a comment and let me know either the best road trip you’ve ever taken, or the longest one. Or if you’d like, tell me your worst road trip experience ever! Mine is tied between when I got sunburnt in Vegas and had to endure a looooong drive back to BC in a car with a window that wouldn’t roll up, or the time I injured my neck on a rollercoaster in Edmonton and had to suffer through the 10+ hour drive back to the Okanagan, unable to get comfortable the entire time.