In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Happy Wanderer.”
The prompt asks how I tend to travel. I found this interesting, because I am the only person that I know (personally) who grew up in a family as spontaneous as mine is.
I live in Florida and I have family in North Carolina. As a kid, every winter there would be a question of whether my family would drive up to spend Christmas with them. It usually started with some skepticism; can we afford it? Do we feel like driving that long?, etc.
And then, one day I would be playing and not even thinking about it and all of a sudden, we were packing our bags. We usually had an old Buick or something, Mama would put two couch cushions on the back floorboard so that my sister and I could sleep on the way there (who needs seatbelts, amirite?) and at around 8 or 9 that night (my dad preferred driving at night) we’d set off on a great adventure!
And adventure it would definitely be, on the way there and the way home. Each time we left, we knew something would inevitably go wrong. Didn’t matter, though, we were troopers.
*Side note: we never had reliable transportation; there was the “Flintstones car” that had holes in the floorboard so that you could see the road as you drove; the “Mosquito Mobile” that constantly had stagnated water in the floorboards which generated many a mosquito, frog, other creatures; and, my personal favorite, the “Junkyard Jalopy”. Daddy bought it off a guy at a junkyard while looking for other parts to kind of fix some other car. Wanna know how much it cost? $50. Got us to North Carolina and almost home, once. That was my first train ride. Oh! And the one that sat in our back yard for so long that a homeless kid lived in it without our knowledge. We found out when someone looked in and saw a bed sheet and some pizza boxes. That one was called the “Palmetto”, because it was full of Palmetto bugs (cockroaches that stink like hell when you crush them). No one was safe in that car.*
Anyway, I guess those spontaneous trips must have rubbed off on my siblings and I, because we continue the tradition today.
There is a camping site called Ginnie Springs about an hour and a half away from our city that my family has been going to since my dad was a teenager. Eleven o’clock on a Friday night and we were all kinda bored? Pack up the van, we’re going to Ginnie!
A few years ago my brother, his wife and kids, Tate and I drove to North Carolina for Labor Day weekend. That sounds reasonable, right? Right…up until you find out that we decided to do this on the Saturday night of the weekend at about 10pm. We got on the road at around midnight, drove to North Carolina, hung out, shot some guns and drank all Sunday, had breakfast on Monday and headed home. It was a great time! We were all exhausted, but it was genuinely fun.
So, I guess you could say that I’m not a planner when it comes to traveling. I like spontaneity in most aspects of my life, especially that. If someone asks me to make an itinerary I will not do it. Or, I’ll just leave it in my bag and go do what I want when the thought strikes me.
Tate was the opposite; his family planned every vacation down to the last meal before heading home. It works, though. He keeps me grounded and in reality when I need to be, instead of up in the clouds, where I like to be. We balance each other out very well.
I like living without plans and structure. Sure, some things need to be planned, like finances and things like that, but I think travelling is not one of them. I go where the day takes me.