We’re on the road and sharing some tales along the way. Have you been following our Road Trip Tales series? We’ve chatted with Tracy Moore, and heard from Erin Bender of Travel with Bender. Carol Cain shared her memories of being on the road, and so did Kathy Buckworth. We heard this week from Emma Waverman. We continue our series now by catching up with Leisse Wilcox, the gal behind Eat Play Love | Lifestyle, a blog dedicated to making family life a happy, healthy place to be.
I met Leisse about a year ago and was instantly impressed. She’s a talented writer and artist and her take no prisoners approach to living a happy life is contagious. I knew she’d have some great tips to share.
What’s your favourite summer road trip memory?
This isn’t necessarily my fave memory, but certainly the most memorable one: it was a very, very hot August day. We were driving up to our family cabin just north of Algonquin park, past Sundridge ON. My dad was driving, my stepmother in the front, my little sisters and I were in the back with our dog. Dad stopped for gas, and the three of us watched with baited breath as he went into the gas station to pay, eagerly anticipating what he’d bring us to cool us down. Popsicles? Ice cream sandwiches? Giant freezes? We could see him walking through the store, then paying, and we were giddy about what he’d procured. And the answer? A bundle of pepper egged for our dog. That was all. We were crushed…and have never let it go since :)
What is your top tip for Family road trips?
Mental preparation. We are travelling as a family of five, and our kids are all under four. anytime we go somewhere I plan it out as units of time, I.e. The first hour and a half will be for listening to a CD. Then a rest stop. Next a movie. Then a snack. Then some in car activities, like reading or colouring. When I break down a seven hour trip into four or five units of time and activities, suddenly it’s a lot more manageable, which means it’s a lot less stressful.
What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you set out on your first family road trip?
That my kids wouldn’t sleep in the car. Even if we left in the middle of the night. Whoops.
Top 3 snacks for in the car?
Cheese strings, granola bars, squeezey applesauce pouches.
Worst snack for in the car?
Yogurt tubes. I can’t even.
Musts on the road trip playlists?
Taylor Swift, Vampire Weekend, The National, The Lumineers. No joke these are our kids’ faves just from listening in the car as we toodle about town, and we all sing along. Except my husband with Taylor Swift, which he doesn’t “love” but I think has accepted as the price of peace.
Never on the road trip playlists?
Banjo. I can’t concentrate on driving, kids talking, and some lunatic finger licking away.
I most embarrass my kids in the car when I….
They’re too young for me to embarrass them. Give me time though. Give me time.
My kids drive me nuts in the car when they…
…WHINE. Seriously? What can I do right now? There are five lanes of traffic in each direction: just chill out. Also I have a three year old who likes to keep it spicy by biting a sister now and then. That kind of cramps my style when we’re in the car and have a flesh wound to deal with. But that’s just me.
Biggest challenge you’ve faced traveling with kids by car and how you handled it:
This is our first long haul, so I don’t know yet. I have definitely stopped the car to have kids pee on the 401, and I’ve definitely stopped the car to go alpha mom on the backseat, “I will turn this car around!” Style.
Dream road trip destination?
Unequivocally, I’d do a cross USA trip to see as many World’s Largest Things as possible. And tacos in every state.