Saturday, March 3, 2012

Getting Away is Getting Back

I love road trips.

There is nothing like the feeling of leaving your daily routine to pack up the car and take on the open road ahead. The sense of freedom and open skies is the perfect remedy to the claustrophobia of a routine that is set by bells, constant interaction and lesson plans. And that is exactly what I need. So, as a friend and I drove out of town yesterday, I remembered all of the fond memories I have about the road trips I have taken.

I remember a time when my siblings and I fought over the dividers in the back of the family Pontiac. Traveling the highways and byways of Central Ohio we would reach our grandparents' house and shout, "Grandma, Grandpa, Lady Bug (cat)!"

To pass the time, we would play road games. We would scan license plates and signs to see if we could find all of the letters of the alphabet. Or play the infamous memory game of "I'm Going to New York and I'm Taking........."

On  longer road trips we didn't have to worry about cooking and cleaning. When hunger takes over we would experience the adventure of trying new restaurants or grabbing a Big Mac for the road. And I don't even need to explain the fun of hotels!

There is something that happens on a road trip that goes deeper than the more superficial joys I mention above. When you are in the car with people you love for an extended period of time, there is the opportunity to share memories, silly moments, regrets, hopes and dreams. You are given time to enjoy the people in your life without the interruptions of busy routines (if you can manage to put your phone on silent). The road journey with its traffic jams, uphills, downhills, and 80s hits provides space to reconnect to the thread of your life journey. And you hope maybe, just maybe you can stay connected to what's really important when you return home.


  1. Rob,
    You are such a Hilliker. You, Dad, and Chad all love getting out on the open road. I remember sharing the backseat too. As I remember, your section was a bit small. It must have been a challenge to sit between Chad and me. Do you remember when we would decide to sleep we'd put pillows on the floor? One person would sleep on the floor, one one the seat, and one up in the window. Oh, the things we did before seat belts. I remember road trips with all of you, and am reminded of them every time I read "My Brother's a Pain in the Backseat" to my class. Imagine being in a backseat now with cushy seating, movie screens, and iPods. Must be rough!

    I love your last line, "And you hope maybe, just maybe you can stay connected to what's really important when you return home." I think that says it all. Thanks for reminding me of the great times in the back seat.

    Glad you are joining the Slice of Life Challenge. Perhaps it was a matter of self-defense in case I posted crazy stories from your childhood, but it will provide me a little fun reading in the month to come.

    Love ya,

    1. Cathy,

      I do remember our back seat pillow arrangement. What fun!

      In spite of the fact that the divider situation was unfair, I remember purposefully moving beyond my region to test your patience. I was such a brat, but at least I was a fun brat, right? ;)

      Love you too,


  2. I also love road trips. Such a great opportunity to reconnect as a family unit. My family would travel out on Route 66 (before the interstate systems) to visit my grandparents in Arizona every summer. What great trips.

    I'm glad you've joined the Challenge, and thanks for prompting some possible topics for my own future writing.

    1. I live in Arizona. My siblings and I took a plane trip once to visit our grandparents who were in Tucson for a year. Thanks for your comment!