Taking to the open road has been always been something that has given me the sensation of being full, one might say that it is fulfilling and I don’t really mean that metaphorically. As I look out at the stretch of road before me miles away from where I started or where I’m going I absorb the distant landscape and think, soul food. I feel more complete in that moment. I get the same sensation about sunsets and countless other things but road tripping is certainly a healthy portion of soul food for me.
Why does this matter? Because who in their right mind would go on solo road trips with a 1 ½ year old? Let’s face it, a baby isn’t the best road-tripping companion but then again there is no debate about music selection.
There are a great many things about my life that I absolutely did not want to change just because I had a baby. Of course being a parent (and a mamma in particular) means sacrifice. It may actually be the definition of the word parent; I should really look into that. Regardless, things have changed in areas I wished to stay the same and one just (forcibly) learns to adjust to a new way of living.
However, traveling is one of the areas that I am clinging to with my death grip and road tripping fits into that category and so mamma and baby are hitting the road!
I don’t want to give the impression that this is an easy task requiring no preparation; this is an undertaking. The degree of difficulty to execute this maneuver is high. For one thing planning a road trip from a location with no Internet or cell phone service makes things shall we say, complicated? Yes, I think we shall. What we have is an atlas and ideas, like it used to be in the old days.
We can’t check the weather for where we are going; we can’t call ahead to see if campsites are full, and we can’t find out about road construction. We can pack a whole bunch of stuff we will probably need and get in the car.
So what about that stuff? The stuff of babies, campers, and road trippers that must be methodically thought about, set aside, inventoried, and packed into the car careful not to forget one single item of importance? What does it really take to go on a camping road trip with a baby? Well, I made a packing list so that the curiosity doesn’t eat anyone alive.
Beyond planning and packing, factors may include how to keep a baby content on a road trip or the fear factor of being a woman and traveling to places unknown with a babe.
Fortunately Ani was born nomadic like myself. However, she’s still a baby and has her moments of frustration about being strapped into a seat for long periods of time. When irritability arises I mitigate it with the hand-back basket. It’s a little basket I keep in the front seat with random things (like a mason jar ring, or empty peanut butter jar) that she may deem interesting for at least a few minutes before chucking it onto the floor. When I exhaust everything in the basket I know it’s about time for a rest stop.
Taking a rest stop has certainly changed since having a baby. It’s not a 4 minute stop every 3 hours anymore but instead a 15-30 minute stop every 2 hours. Perhaps a stop for lunch, to walk down a dirt road, grab some playtime at a park or what have you.
The fear factor, well, it just is what it is. I have concerns floating around in the back of my mind at all times. All I can do is trust my instincts about where we are going and who we may be camping near. Plan B is to have bear spray on the ready for bears or people at any given time. And so, we’re off!