No, gas isn't free and no, we shouldn't jump into the car willy-nilly and waste resources/increase pollution on whims. And I don't. If I can walk somewhere instead of drive, I generally do just that, because I'm not a gym person at all, but I do believe in the value of exercise. My goal is a lifestyle where I have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to be doing in a day, and the calorie-to-energy ratio that the activities will require, and I can eat accordingly. For example, on Sundays, I could easily get by without eating at all, heh heh...but I digress. This post is to celebrate five reasons why it's good for the soul sometimes to just load everyone up in the car and...go!
1. Spontaneous new experiences.
I once read that we spend hours, days, maybe even months pondering big decisions, like where to go to college, when to marry, should we take a certain job, etc., but it's the little, quick decisions that have the greatest impact on our lives, like should I go out with my friends this Friday night or stay home?
When I saw this flier on the message board at Daily Groceries, I was intrigued. So I decided, then and there, even though we were just returning from a mini-break and car taxes are due at the end of this month, that I would somehow scrape together the means to go. So I did. Gas money and a picnic lunch, and we were on the way!
For more information about the amazing things that Maria at Field to Cup Project is doing, visit here!
2. Your child/children need glimpses into your childhood.
My parents were the original day trippers. I can remember many picnic lunches in unusual places, seeing the sights that growing up in a rural community offers. Covered bridges were a main attraction, so it was a delight to come across this gem yesterday, and be able to tell my son the stories of visiting covered bridges with my parents years ago. Jumping in the car and heading out to places you visited as a child, or similar places, can afford you the chance to share stories from your own childhood and connect with your children.
My son loves hearing me talk about growing up in the '80s and often says he wishes he was growing up in the '80s, because it seemed like my childhood was more fun. What was different? The '80s were a simpler time, without so much focus on television and technology. I heard my son's words, and I listened, and I make sure to keep his childhood simple as I remember my own being. This is connection. This is what we learn.
This particular covered bridge in Watkinsville, Georgia, was originally built in 1897 and moved to this location near a grist mill in 1924. The grist mill has not been functional since the early 1940s.
3. Meet new people. Make new friends. Connect and share ideas with like-minded folks.
Sometimes it's difficult to bloom where we are planted. Often, we find we struggle to connect with others around us because we haven't much in common with them beyond working together or living in the same neighborhoods.
Venturing out can afford us the chance to meet new people, make new friend and make connections with like-minded folks who share our passions and interests so that we can bring this inspiration home to help us bloom.
Little Rose Nature School has a truly amazing vision and I can't wait to hear more about what they are doing there. Learn more here!
4. A chance to explore new woods.
I often say I've raised my son in the forest, because we are blessed to live beside a wonderful, protected woods right in the heart of town. All manner of wildlife visit us here, including - and unfortunately for the outside cats we once had - coyotes. Sometimes, deep on a trail, it's easy to forget that there are cars and buildings not so far away.
It's a wonderful thing, however, to visit a new woods, to go off the beaten path somewhere deep in, to wade in cool water and hop along river rocks.
I couldn't resist getting in on the action myself! But nature is as good for the adult soul as it is the child. I read a disturbing report recently that stated prisoners get more time outside than elementary aged school children. I can't imagine that! I am so glad this is not true for my child or the children around us, but it hurts my soul to think it is true for some. I'm starting a book soon called Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. You can see why I was so excited to meet and connect with Little Rose Nature School!
5. Taking pause in a different place. (Or, sipping tea/coffee in a different place!)
If you know me personally, then you know I love coffee and tea. And I love coffee shops, trying new flavors and varieties when we travel. I always tuck away a few dollars on every little trip for stops by local coffee shops we may come across. It' also great when we can sip coffee or tea in beautiful areas of a home or yard. It's a break time, a relaxing moment, time to sit and process all we are doing and have yet to do.
More importantly, however, it's a time to be in the moment, in the now, enjoying the scents and sights around us that a new place offers. A pause. We enjoy this often on our own patio; but it's great to be in a new place, taking a pause.
My parents used to load us up in the car without any real destination in mind at all, but I remember these excursions fondly. They were simple and generally free, save for gas money and picnic lunches. Good times don't have to cost a fortune! As a parent, I strive now to live on less and less, giving my son experiences instead of things, indulging that simple '80s lifestyle that he thrives on. I am always looking for ways to enrich our lives that afford adventure without involving expense, something my own parents seemed to have mastered as they loaded us up in second-hand cars without air conditioning to show us the world, or at least the world around us.
It's one of those simpler-times-parenting-skills that seems to be falling by the wayside, along with family dinners and hand-me-down clothing.
Let's not let that happen.