It's that time of year again... there's a chill in the air... a major holiday is coming up... I've survived the majority of the Fall Semester--we must need an Austin Family Road Trip!
In November 2012, my family and extended non-blood related siblinglike-friends had plans to travel to the Holy Land! It was never particularly on my heart to go to the Holy Land--I think this is a pilgrimage that some of us feel called to and others never have the inkling. I was in the nevers, but when my friends signed up, like other cliff-jumpers, I followed. Not to be left out, my parents also signed up.
Days before we were supposed to leave Hamas decided to send some rockets a little too close to where we were travelling and the trip was cancelled.
With our bags virtually packed, and the envie to travel unrealized, we set out on a road trip... and what you now know as the #AustinFamilyRoadTrip was born. That unHoly Land Pilgrimage gained a new destination... The Grove Park Inn at Asheville, NC.
Growing up the only child of a family that owned a small business, I was blessed to take a number of long family road trips in my youth. We are a driving family. We love being on the road... this is not for everyone, but if you are thinking of giving it a shot, here are 3 recommendations on how to get started! There will be a follow up post about what to pack & what to do once you're on the road!
STEP 1: Plan to Not Plan
Remember... we're talking about a Road Trip. The etymology of the word "Road Trip" is a combination of the words road as in what you drive on and trip the experience. That means the JOURNEY is 75% of the experience. Often when deciding to drive to a set destination, people plan to get up super early, take shifts, drive through the night... all of which are pretty unpleasant experiences. The motto "hurry up and get there so the fun can begin" is the opposite of the Austin Family Road Trip. Let go of hurry. Let go of the plan. And let the road, the crazy small towns, the wildlife, and the interesting people along the way shape the journey.
STEP 2: Pick a destination and route
While we have just resolved to plan not to plan, you should at a minimum plan on an “ultimate” destination (your farthest point from home)… it could be OBX, Niagara Falls, Key West, Every Winery in the Texas Hill Country, etc.
NOTE: Let go of the idea that your ultimate destination is where you will spend the bulk of your trip—remember this is about the Journey...
The good news about driving anywhere is that you have to drive back (YES! I said good news.) This means that you DOUBLE your road trip opportunities!! Tip #2 includes this critical sub-suggestion: Go home a different way. America has a lot of roads--use them! e.g. our infamous #AustinFamilyRoadTrip to Key West over Thanksgiving 2015 took us to the Atlantic side of FL (I-95) and the Gulf Coast of Florida on the way back (total trip 2500+ miles). [Spoiler Alert: What to do on the road will be coming in part three of this series!!]
STEP 3: Fall in Love with America
An important part when planning your unplanned trip is to leave room for small town excursions. There are so many amazing things to see in this great country… Did you know the World’s Largest Pecan is in Seguin, TX? The Greatest Caramel Sheet Cake in the World is at Diamond Jim & Mrs. Donna’s in Livingston, AL? There are about 10 churches per block in Port Gibson, MS? That Pedro’s South of the Border (literally south of the NC/SC border) is a thing—in modern America? No, you don’t because you haven’t driven through these fine towns. Take the side tour, do the wine tasting, buy the t-shirt. Make your trip the memory.
See you on the road,