A true account: Real life family road trippin’ – Dayton Parent Magazine

real life family road trippin _ Dayton Parent

I lived in a nineteen foot camper with my family for seventeen days and lived to tell about it. It was touch and go for a little bit, but we made it through.

Remember a few months ago when I told you about our new camper, Betsy Ross, and our big summer travel plans? I was so excited.

I was so naive.


I’m not going to lie, Pinterest, Instagram, and beautifully-styled blogs got me really pumped to travel the west with my little family. We were even taking our dog. It was going to be magical, serene, and I was going to come back wise and rested.

Instead, it was really stressful with a little magic thrown in for fun.

Meaning it was just like real life.

Seventeen days in a camper with your family doesn’t leave much room for downtime or quiet time. At home, I can easily send my kids to their room, to the basement, or to the backyard to play for a little break. In the camper, they don’t have a room and shutting them in the bathroom, while a fantasy I contemplated, probably won’t really work. Sending them outside–that sounds like it should work–but in unfamiliar places, I can’t just send my kids out to play without supervision. It’s just not safe. So there goes any moment of silence for seventeen days.

We did go see a movie one day just so I could have an-hour-and-a-half break where no one talked to me. I also stress ate a large popcorn while there. No big deal.

While traveling, we stayed at KOA Kampgrounds around the country and they do have tons of great kid-friendly options available so you can have some space from your family. I don’t think that’s really their motto or anything they advertise, but they should. Awesome playgrounds, walking trails, swimming pools, and more; some even have these amazing jumping pillows that are a combination of giant trampoline and jump house. The kids loved them and so did we. So we never ran out of things to do while camping, we just ran out of places to take breaks. (Although, all those amenities are great for wearing your kids out and putting them to bed early so you can sit around the fire and have an adult beverage.)

MORE FROM MARY GRAHAM: No more telling my daughter she killed the dog and other resolutions

I mean, parents need breaks, right?!

But don’t you worry, we did have lots of fun on our trip as well. We got to see Mt. Rushmore, climb in Badlands National Park, creek stomp in Yellowstone, and hike in the Grand Tetons. We ate delicious food, laughed a whole lot, and explored some pretty spectacular parts of our country.

We traveled over 4,700 miles in seventeen days. We visited nine states and ate ice cream in most of them. We made great memories and learned so much about traveling together as a family. It seriously was the trip of a lifetime.

real life family road trippin _ Dayton Parent

I want to go again soon. I want to pack up the camper, hit the open road, and explore new areas. But maybe less states and shorter trips next time? We were never in one spot more than two nights and that’s a lot of setting up and breaking down a camper. Those are the parts no one mentions on all those cute internet posts about their wonderful life on the road. I’m not sure how people do it full time. Although, I know they aren’t as rushed to go from one place to the next and a slower pace would definitely make traveling easier.

I think this happens with dreams and plans a lot. We want so badly for them to happen and when they do, they’re not exactly as great as we thought they would be. They’re not bad and they’re still wanted, but they’re just, um, more, uh, real.

Real life, why you have to be so real, huh?

Mary Graham, Trusty Chucks - Indy's ChildMary Graham is a lifelong resident of Indianapolis, Indiana. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and rescue dog, Blue. During the day, she teaches high school English and at night (after the girls are asleep), she writes for The Huffington Post, Pearson’s Teachability, For Every Mom, her own blog, TrustyChucks.com, and various other print and digital outlets. Mary’s work has also appeared on HuffingtonPost.com. In her spare time, she likes to read, travel, eat chocolate, run half marathons, and then eat more chocolate.
Find Mary on Twitter and Instagram.

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