Take That Trip You “Can’t Afford”

I got this unexpected tweet the other day: “Just found your twitter account! Back when you were going thru Cali in on 7/5/10! #inspiration” Attached was this picture:

road trip

My kids and I chuckled at what looks like a paparazzi photo of my daughter Hannah outside of a grocery store during our family’s monumental one month, 6200-mile road trip the Summer of 2010.

Our chuckling eventually led to reminiscing over the many sights we saw and memories we made together. That summer changed all of us in a dozen tiny ways and brought us closer as a family. It’s a time we each treasure and something we will have between us forever and ever.

And to think it’s a trip we almost didn’t take.

Having five kids means travel is never cheap. Even if we’re not springing for air fare, we’re still paying for enough gas to fill a van, two rooms at a hotel, and lot and lots of meals. We’ve had many “if only” conversations with the kids, wistfully sighing over dream destinations (top on our list? New York City!). But reality often overrules, and we stay home because money is tight.

Except for this one time? We just went for it. I often joke that if I had known ahead of time exactly how much that road trip was going to cost, we would have never gone. In fact, I never did tally the final investment. It was ONE TIME that we just bit the bullet and made it happen.

What’s funny to me now is that I’m sure we had to buckle down in the weeks following our trip (having depleted much of our financial resources). But now years later, I don’t even remember that, and we’re none the worse for wear. Those worries were small and utterly impermanent compared to the riches we gained by going.

Truly, I am not advocating that people be unwise or foolish with their money. Everyone’s situation is different, and there have been many times (as I mentioned) when our “dream vacations” have remained just that – dreams. But I do think there are times when you just have to brave the investment it will take to make these priceless memories a part of your family’s life forever.