When you first decide to take a long-distance car journey with your family, possibly ending on some mountain resort or a visit to some historical sights, you expect to come out of the whole experience more in tune with nature, less stressed out and with a few interesting stories to tell. When all is said and done, you won’t be off by too much in this assessment, but there will be several great unexpected benefits as well. Of course, you shouldn’t rush into a long road trip without making sure you are well-prepared for the journey and have looked at some Google maps when planning the trip. With all this in mind, here are some of the things you pick up and learn on the road, which can be very valuable life lessons indeed.
You learn valuable communication and conflict resolution skills
If you have small kids, then grumpiness, irritability and small fights are something that you will have to deal with on a regular basis. Even if it’s just the love struck newlyweds in the car, being stuck in a small confined space for hours on end will bring out the worst in you at times. When this happens, you will be a bit worried at first, but you will eventually learn to spot signs of trouble brewing very early on and deal with these situations before they begin to grow into full-blown arguments.
Consider the car during a long distance road trip a controlled experimental environment designed to exaggerate and quickly escalate conflict situations, so once you get good at dealing with such extreme cases, you learn to see normal problems coming miles away and use the right approach to settle disputes.
You learn to work as a team when problems happen, and they will happen regularly
All that being said, when something unexpected happens, which threatens your ability to finish your trip, reduces your comfort or even puts you in some kind of danger – e.g. anything from getting flat tire in the middle of nowhere to your tablet’s battery running out miles away from the next gas station – you will learn to start working together on a solution. There is no blame game to play, and you all need to chip in and do your part, which helps your family become a well-oiled machine that can efficiently divide tasks and get things done at home.
You learn to be fast and efficient when getting ready
You will likely need to spend a night or two in motels or bed and breakfasts on longer trips, and this means being able to quickly unpack some bare necessities, get everyone cleaned up and fed and rising up relatively early only to have a short bathroom visit, quick breakfast and get ready to leave again. The skills you pick up here will allow you to get ready quickly when going to a family reunion, taking the kids to school or going out with friends.
You will develop some serious survival skills
You may not think that survival skills are relevant for a person leaving the city only to go to a different city, or even for a vacation in the wild where you will have comfortable lodging with Wi-Fi, but you will find yourself in need of some quick outside the box thinking and on-the-spot problem solving quite frequently. Combining items in interesting ways and solving logical problems is a great skill set to have in your everyday life.
You will develop quick reflexes as you keep reaching for the camera during funny moments
It is statistically impossible to spend hours and hours on the road in a variety of different settings and unusual situations without experiencing a few funny moments that you will wish to capture in a photo or a movie clip that you can show to your friends later for a good laugh. This will give you an intuitive knowledge that something funny is about to happen and fast reflexes for reaching for your camera or phone to snap a shot or film it. Who knows, with reflexes like that, you may end up providing police evidence for thwarting a crime one day or developing a decent subscriber base on YouTube.
With all these lessons to learn, so much to see and the opportunity to bond as a family, a nice long distance road trip can prove to be one of the better experiences you will go through in your life.