A few weeks ago, we pack our van with camping supplies, a few changes of clothes, and our little family of eight and we hit the road. We said we weren’t stopping until we hit the ocean.
We made some stops, but we finally dug our toes in the sand and looked out across the vast Pacific Ocean.
Packing our family in a van and not looking back may have been one of the single best parenting decisions we ever made.
Paradoxically, when you stick them all together with only each other – no other friends, no social media – they realize that they actually like one another!
We encountered very little bickering, but a car load of laughing, joking, and general goofiness. It was a real blast and a great renewal for a family that is seemingly always running in a hundred different directions.
It takes a lot of team work for a big family to camp for two weeks straight. It also takes a lot of patience. I was thrilled to see both grow out of this crazy adventure. We drove most days, stopping at National Parks as they came along, and then camped each night. This required a lot of effort in set up and tear down of camp each day. By the end of the weeks, routines had been established, making this a pretty slick production.
One key to this success was a very intentional abandonment of social media. As a bonafide addict, I take no credit for this wonderful decision. We had no distractions and were able to fully immerse ourselves into the trip and each other. Social media has it’s place and is a fun tool and toy, but real life always trumps it. And real life is meant to be lived, experienced, and loved. Not posted in pictures and snippets.
The west US is some of the most beautiful land on earth and we were able to share it with our favorite people. Nothing can beat that. Our life experiences are what shape and form us into the people we will become, especially for children who are still growing and learning at an incredible pace. Being together without distraction enhanced the growth and learning that was available in this amazing experience.
I was a bit nervous when we set out, that the kids would bicker and argue. I’ve never been so happy to be wrong! They rose to the occasion, deepened friendships, and discovered a greater appreciation of the wonderful people they are so lucky to grow up alongside. Sibling are such a gift. I’m glad that my kids had the chance to be reminded of how lucky they are to have one another!