When is the best time to travel in Michigan? Some say the answer is June, July and August. Others claim the fall, rich with all of its read, golds, and greens. And there are a few who believe winter is completely underrated in Michigan – just ask a skier or a snowmobiler. I, for one, answer it this way: now. Now is the best time to do anything – always.
I am not sure when I started thinking this way. When I was a little girl, our road trips seemed to go on forever. How many times can you sing. “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” or find out “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop”? Travel, when you are a child, is someone else’s idea of fun. If you could go anywhere as a child, you wouldn’t pick the Grand Canyon, would you? Sure, those crevices are pretty darn cool, but after you take the obligatory “falling off the canyon” family photo, the rest is just miles and miles of endless holes in the dirt.
If my parents had let me, I would have skipped the canyon for the tourist store nearby, where I was given free reign to buy anything I wanted, including all the kitschy snowglobes, plastic donkeys and tomahawks I could carry. Fortunately for my sister, I never got the rubber tomahawks I wanted.
When you are traveling as a child, parents tell you certain things are unnecessary, like stopping to go to the bathroom, for example. “Pretend you are a camel” is one of my all-time favorites. Or how about “Don’t think about it”? I could never figure out how a camel never thought about the bathroom, especially since they lived in the sand. Seems like going to the bathroom all over the sand would be the best thing for a camel.
My point is: Parents always think there will be more time. They are sure the tomahawks with the red feather will be in the next shop, and the really good family picture is right around the bend. Children also believe these vacation lies. They are certain their mom and dad telepathically know that a bathroom will appear in the next 2 miles, and there is always more for them down the road – more candy, more fun – but there isn’t. Vacation ends, school starts and everything changes except time.
As you plan your summer vacation this year, ask your kids in advance what would mean the most to them. If they answer “Wally World,” well, I am truly sorry. If they answer “candy,” please ignore them. But if play your cards right, and your children are standing in the middle of your well-planned vacation longing for a $3 rubber tomahawk, after holding their little legs together for 20 miles, reach way down into your purse past your cellphone, and buy your little camel a tomahawk – now.