Traveling with children sucks. Traveling by car with children sucks more. Traveling over two thousand miles by car with children sucks the most.
The above is mostly tongue-in-cheek because, of course, how could driving through five states in a week’s time with a two-year-old and a six-year-old not be a grueling challenge? And all told, both kids did a solid job of keeping their shit together for what turned out to be a hell of a lot of hours staring out the minivan’s windows.
Unlike my wife, who has a traveler’s spirit and is invigorated by the life-disruption, I journey roughly. My comfort zone demands that I remain in one spot long enough to seep around the edges until I feel I've learned the character of the place. This slow accretion approach doesn’t lend itself well to travel, where you blast past and through locations, glimpsing only the briefest of exposures to an elsewhere life blurred by a spectrum of sensory stimuli.
I want to be a better traveler. I want to give myself over to the present and now-ness of it. Much like my wife does.
Observing my children adapt to the demands of travel—to go from barely being able to endure a half hour car ride to managing a six hour driving day—encourages me. If their high maintenance needs can stretch and flex, than perhaps mine can, as well.