The most beautiful views always have the most strenuous hikes that lead to them. Anything worth accomplishing is sure to be accompanied by struggle. This is a fact of life that applies to everything, but especially travel. In our house, the twenty four hours before a road trip is always the most stressful point of an adventure. You know that patience is running on empty when a screaming match surfaces over a bowl of Kraft Mac n cheese. Conflict always arises when there’s a long list of tasks to be completed and a very limited amount of time. The funny thing is, everyone knows that chores are necessary in order to leave a house empty for three weeks. But for whatever reason getting them done causes tempers to flare up faster than lighter fluid. Each person in our family has a signature “angry look” which everyone enjoys mimicking. Nobody laughs however, until we leave Cincinnati and our list of chores behind. It seems that every year there is a series of events that lead to a major fight, just like several smaller battles always come before a war. It begins when one person asks another to do “a job.”
Early on in the day before we leave for a trip, there is plenty of motivation and work is done easily. But as the hours slide by the smiles are replaced by irritated glares and a lot of sighs that suggest “why can’t you just do that yourself?!?!” Unfortunately arguing about who does a task does not make it complete. There is laundry to be done, sleeping bags to roll, food to be bought, trash to be taken out, camping supplies to be organized, and a car that needs some serious maintenance before it is ready to drive across the country. As the list of things to do expands from 5 to 50, the attitudes often change from slightly irritated to furious. I am not exaggerating when I say that a three week backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon and several other national parks was nearly cancelled due to a dispute about hiking socks.
Every year we tell ourselves that we won’t fight the day before we leave on a trip. And every single year we do. No matter what. The funny thing is, when we return from a trip we always come back closer than we’ve ever been. I truly think that the stress of packing for a road trip for a whole family is inevitable, but the laughter, memories and adventure that will be earned from the struggle is well worth a petty argument (or few). If I could give any advice to a family struggling to pack for a camping trip, it would be to grin and bear it. Just put some headphones in, take a deep breath and get to work. Nothing worth having comes easily, especially a new experience. Sometimes the stress of planning, packing and preparing for a trip makes you question whether you should take on an adventure. The truth is, once your on the highway, in the woods, on a mountaintop, or wherever your travels take you, you’ll be very glad that you did.
Sophie Manaster is getting ready to start her Senior Year of High School. Even with the inevitable fighting that preparing for travel causes, she loves to go on adventures- especially when there are mountain views involved. She loves backpacking, but hates bugs. This is Sophie’s first writing contribution to Road Trip the World.