Friday, March 14, 2014

Road Trip

I love vacations. I love traveling the world and road trips can be very fun. However, there is something about traveling that is just not fun when you have kids. Between the packing and all the laundry and forgetting items and cranky kids it puts me in a terrible mood. Usually most of the packing is left up to me and let me tell you it is a lot of work keeping tabs on 5 people's stuff. It is enough to make me want to throw in the towel and stay home. It is exhausting.

However, I have learned that a couple things make our travels so much easier. They are not fool proof but they seem to keep us from kicking each other out of the van to go take a hike. In fact, if I listed the most important things there would be three things we do to make our trips more enjoyable.

  1. Travel light. The more you pack, the more of a burden it becomes.
  2. Start with a clean car. If you are going to be stuck in a car traveling with 4 other people for over ten hours you might as well start with no clutter and obstacles.
  3. Load up on healthy snacks, water and even some caffeinated beverages. These give us energy and keep us going in those umm, less that fun moments. The kind where one kid is screaming because they want to watch a movie for the third time, one kid is crying because they want to sleep, and the other one won't stop asking if we are there yet.
I think our journey through life can be like these 3 things too.

If we go through life carrying too much baggage we get exhausted. Our baggage can be anything that drags us down. It could be unhealthy relationships, grudges, regrets, or even expecting too much of ourselves. By letting go of these things we free ourselves up to focus on more important things and try something different. 

Also, sometimes it is really easy to accumulate unnecessary items or junk. It might even just be too much of a good thing. A closet that is always overflowing or a pantry or refrigerator so full that you forget to use something before it goes bad. It happens but it becomes extra work and an obstacle at times. Sometimes we do this with our soul too. We don't give priority to spiritual growth or growing our faith. We clutter our faith and push God out.

The last thing is we have to be conscious of is providing what not just our body needs but our soul needs too. Our body needs fuel to run. Our soul is just like this. We need time to re-energize and relax. Mental breaks are important to the soul because they give us time to process information which helps us use good judgement even in tough situations. We have to give ourselves permission to recharge from time to time.

All of these things make the journey easier. Things will happen, detours in life will come up, and our destination will sometimes feel out of reach. Sticking to these three rules prepares us for anything though.  Just like family road trips, life can be a drive down a highway too. We need to let go of unnecessary baggage and clutter in our lives and add balance by using this freed up time and energy on things that make us enjoy the journey. Our perspective changes with this freedom and we become ready to face even the biggest road blocks. It makes us want to grab the keys, jump in the driver seat and yell road trip!

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