We just got back from a whirlwind adventure.
88 hours driveway to driveway.
We covered over 1500 miles.
We crammed 6 of us (me, hubby, 2 kids, sister, and sister’s boyfriend) into our car with all our stuff and headed on the road.
It was intense.
And it was so much fun.
But it wasn’t smooth sailing.
Here’s 8 things I learned on our 88-hour adventure.
Things always go wrong.
I set up my vacation reminder on my email and included a little disclaimer: If an emergency comes up that can’t wait until Monday, send me a text at XXX-XXX-XXXX.
Within 2 hours of driving, I had THREE text messages from clients who had emergencies.
Fortunately I wasn’t driving and could solve a few of the problems from my phone. One issue had to wait until we were at our hotel with wifi. One issue wasn’t my problem at all, but I was able to talk my client through how to solve the problem
There’s always a fresh look to a situation.
I woke up the morning we were leaving and knew I had to get my car ready to go. This was a road trip, after all. An oil change and tire rotation were on my to-do list.
I got my oil changed and was told my transmission fluid was leaking.
Great. I thought. I don’t have time for a transmission fix today.
So I took my car to get my tires rotated and balanced and asked the mechanics (who I trust more than the oil changing mechanics) to please take a look and give me a second opinion.
Fortunately, there was no transmission leak.
But my brakes needed to be replaced.
They brought me out into the shop (with a sleeping baby curled in my arms) and showed me why they needed to be replaced. They knew I was leaving that day and they could get it done fast.
I took a deep breath.
I knew it needed to be done. It had been on my radar for a while, and today just happened to be the day.
I knew I could be frustrated.
Or I could look at it with fresh eyes.
How wonderful they caught it before I drove 1500+ miles with the most important people in my car.
So I gratefully said yes! Please fix the brakes! The wheels were already off, they offered me a ride home so I could get stuff done, and I trust this shop.
What could have been horrible wound up being a great blessing because I chose to look at the situation with fresh eyes.
It’s important to find your happy places.
I live in the mountains, which I love.
But on our trip we drove through the desert and landed at the beach. Both are my happy places.
And I knew it. So I took the opportunity to stop at an exit that led to nowhere and breathe the desert air.
And then I took the opportunity to put away my phone and enjoy the feel of the ocean waves on my legs.
Know your happy places, and take moments to enjoy them without any interference. No phone in between you and your happy place.
Stop and enjoy the little moments.
On this same note… this trip – while incredibly fast – was full of hilarious wonderful moments.
We went to an amusement park with extended family. As we headed back to our beds on the second night I asked my kids (aged 7 and 2) what the best part of their day was.
My 7-year-old listed several wonderful moments from the day. Spending time with her grandma. Taking auntie on a ride.
My 2-year-old said one thing: “My blanket!”
This moment was so small and could be easily overlooked. But it was hilarious. I wasn’t on my phone. I wasn’t distracted. I looked him in his beautiful brown eyes and we giggled over the love for his blanket.
Our reactions matter.
We were surrounded by thousands of people while on our trip. And I listened (because I’m a listener and people watcher) as I heard some parents dismiss their kids’ ideas, while other parents embraced the same suggestions.
It doesn’t matter, right? But to the kids it did.
I listened as kids begged to stop and just look at something.
It didn’t matter to the parents. But to the kids it meant everything.
Our ideas matter to us. Our suggestions matter to us. And when people listen and react, those reactions matter.
Even when it’s something as small as looking at something.
Our reactions to others make all the difference.
Do we lift others as we react?
Sometimes things turn out better than we anticipate.
I made shirts for our adventure. I had this idea weeks ago and knew exactly what I wanted. I could see a vision of 9 shirts, all matching with glow-in-the-dark designs.
And then I ran out of glow-in-the-dark vinyl.
And so did every store within a 100-mile-radius.
And since I didn’t have a car (see the brake issue above) I had to change plans.
I ran with it. And the shirts – while mismatched in color – turned out amazing. The mismatched color added to the awesomeness.
I was so pleased.
I could have let that one thing ruin the trip. But it didn’t. It was amazing. And so well received!
It’s important to step back and listen to yourself.
I’m an introvert.
I don’t mean that I don’t like people – I love people. What I mean by introvert is that I’m energized by time alone.
So 2 days in a packed amusement park doesn’t fuel me.
And instead of ignoring myself (which I used to do much more frequently) I listened to myself and my needs.
I found moments to quietly breathe. (Bathroom stalls anyone?)
I allowed myself permission to feel drained.
And I also found ways to fuel myself so I could be at my best.
Don’t forget to step back and listen to yourself.
Prioritize your priorities.
This may seem obvious, but don’t forget to prioritize your priorities.
So if your family matters the most to you, give them time.
If you need to be fueled by breathing in the desert air, stop as you drive through the middle of the desert and breathe.
And if you’ve learned how important healthy eating and drinking water is to your mental health, take the effort to do those things.
You’ll thank yourself later.