Family travel offers us real understanding of geography, people, and culture. It allows us to reflect on our own lives, too.
I underestimated what a two week road trip through parts of the West would do for our family, but I should not have. I have traveled enough to know that each experience gives us a new set of eyes, each place seen broadens our understanding of the world, and all scenery passed through, changes our soul.
We have road tripped as a family before, and I have witnessed what it does for my children (read it here). This was different though. Maybe it was the duration, or because my kids are a year older. Maybe it was because we are more experienced, and were better prepared.
I suspect though, that what made this trip different is where we have come, as a family, in the last year. Our confidence has grown, we have learned to appreciate each other for who we are. We are breaking free from societies expectations of us, and living within our family.
This trip gave us the geographic space to see ourselves, and each other, in a more expansive and curious way. As forest turned to desert, and brown turned to red, we accepted the vastness, and versatility of what we were seeing, and it mattered.
The abandoned ghost towns explored, reminded us that we need not live in a place no longer thriving.
The expanse of the land showed us the limitless possibility.
The cultural festivals visited taught us that there is more to know.
The petrified forest showed us that there can be beauty in our past.
As travel always does, we returned different people than when we left. We will never be able to do back to who we were before we logged these 3,000 miles, and for that, we are all grateful.