If there’s one tradition my family has continued throughout the years, its travel and road trips. We’ve traveled to the eastern United States to visit landmarks in Gettysburg, Maine, and Washington D.C. when I was in middle school. A couple of years ago, we took a tour of China to Beijing, Shanghai, and Xian. With me and my sister, Ming, in our thirties, you would think our family adventures would be over. However, after my sister learns we’re planning on visiting numerous National Parks in the western United States, she’s eager to join us. Although we’ve all changed and grown in different ways, it’s clear that some things have remained the same. Our red minivan may have been replaced by a tan Toyota Sienna, but not our family dynamics. Here are a few things that remain a part of our family vacations:
- Although some of our junk food and snacks have been replaced with fiber and trail mix alternatives, that hasn’t stopped us from craving our favorite: CHEETOS. We refrained from purchasing them, but it didn’t stop us from indulging in Keebler Pecan Sandies and Twizzlers.
- Speaking of eating, Ming and I clearly recall sitting in the backseat eating snacks during our family’s trip to Wyoming, Montana, and Canada. The only difference from our Canadian road trip to this time is the lack of acquired TY Beanie Babies we had to declare at the United States-Canadian border.
- No Vlasich family vacation would be without our favorite car games. On our road trip to the east coast, we would find as many different license plates as we could to distract ourselves from the long car ride. We were awestruck by license plates from Alaska and Hawaii whose travelers had come a long way to see the nation’s capital. This time, our game instigated by Ming involves naming subjects of various categories, which my dad finds an opportune time for all of us to name baseball teams. When we get to United States Capitals, I find I’m very rusty since my childhood years.
- The state capitals category brings up a constant disagreement in our family when I ask, “Is Providence the capital of the state we drove through that Mom and Dad don’t think we visited?” Whether or not we’ve been to Rhode Island always finds its way into our conversations. My parents claim we didn’t visit it. Ming and I clearly recall a scenic route through this northeastern location.
- One thing Ming and my dad can agree on is history. My father has always been a wealth of historical knowledge, and now he’s joined by my sister who is an elementary school teacher. As he states historical facts, he’s joined by Ming’s singing of school tunes describing these bits of history. This leaves my mom and I wondering, “Dude, where’s my stamp?”
- Besides knowing history, my dad strives to relive history. Whether this means revisiting places our family once stayed at or searching for the downtown area of a city we’re lodging in, my dad enjoys the familiar. He always adds to the authenticity of the setting by talking to our car like it’s a horse-drawn carriage. He’ll say, “Whoa big fella. Easy now,” and breath like a horse. Leave it to my dad to set the tone.
Each evening we’re ready to settle in before another busy travel day the next morning. Ming and I follow the same protocol of Instagram and giggling on the bed as we share stories. My dad checks the TV and his satellite radio for Los Angeles Dodgers’ scores, while my mom unwinds with a game of Candy Crush Saga. It seems that although we may change or not live near one another, our relationships and daily activities during road trips haven’t. None of us knows where we may end up in the future or if we’ll travel together again, but we can enjoy the traditions we have now and know they’ll always be there.
What family activities do you have during road trips? Where have you traveled with family?