Q&A: What Makes Up a Mom & Kids’ Roadtrip?


A couple Canadian mom bloggers I like following — Her Bad Mother (Catherine Conners) and Mother Bumper (Katie York) took to the Canadian highways a few weeks ago on a blogging rampage with their kids. As part of a series of mom road trips this summer, Catherine and XXX drove 12 days on the road — from Halifax to Ottawa, then Edmonton to Vancouver and finishig at everyone’s favorite named Canadian town Kamloops. A day’s drive ranged from three to ten hours in the car. How many kilometers clicked by? ‘Not sure,’ says Catherine. ‘LOTS of kilometers.’

Being a new daddy traveler myself, I was curious how moms were tackling travel, so interviewed Catherine on her trip.

RR: How is a ‘mom road trip’ different than a regular old ‘family trip’ with dad along?
CC: Well, this was a mom-BLOGGER road-trip, which means that my travel companion, Katie, and I, did the trip with the express purpose of blogging our progress and sharing with our online audience the story of our survival (because it is always about survival when there are small children involved ;) )

But I’d say that a mom road trip differs, generally, from a family road trip in that it’s more of a journey of companionship for moms and kids than it is one of family bonding – which is to say, it’s kind of like a really long, arduous playdate.

RR: Seems like the kids responded well to Falco’s ‘Der Kommisar’ — any other surefire ways to soothe mid-drive anxiety from the little ones?
CC: Frequent stops. Sing-alongs. Bribery. Judicious use of in-vehicle DVD.

RR: You must’ve seen a lot of things in Canada you hadn’t before? Did the trip change your outlook on the country? How?

Much of what we saw, I *had* seen before (with the exception of Quebec City, which was exciting for me.) But doing it with your children definitely gives you a new outlook – you see stuff through their eyes. So, the Chateau Frontenac and Chateau Laurier (hotels in Quebec City and Ottawa) suddenly become castles, the Rockies become mind-boggling mountain-scapes (that snow is on mountain tops in summer prompts three year olds to ask whether it is also always Christmas on said mountain tops) and national parks like Banff and Jasper are moving zoos (moose! on the sie of the road!) I got to experience the familiar with a renewed sense of wonder. That was awesome.

(My co-road-tripper, Katie, had never been west of Toronto before, so the trip was extra exciting for her. Seeing mountains for the first time was, she said, EPIC.)

RR: What do you think will be the first couple things from your trip that will pop into your mind whenever you look back on the experience?

CC: It will probably be one of a bunch of moments in the car – snippets of conversation with the girls (“were there dinosaurs in these mountains? Were they bigger than the mountains”) or memories of our retro 80′s sing-alongs. We will, of course, remember the sights and experiences, but it will be the small, mundane details of our time together, mostly, that will be most enduring, I think. And it’s the number one reason why a road trip with kids is so awesome.

RR: How long in advance do you usually plan a trip? How do you plan? What are the key ingredients in deciding what sort of trip you take and where?

CC: I’m a pretty last minute sot of person – I like the spirit of adventure. With this trip, for example, we’d had the idea for some time and talked about it a lot, but the details – route and schedule and timing – were done the week prior, totally off-the-cuff (with a lot of help from Google Maps!)

The key ingredient in deciding what kind of trip? Well, probably time and money. I’d go anywhere, take my children anywhere – it’s just a matter of making space on the calendar and sorting out the budget! Whether we just drive a few hours to Niagara Falls or across the country – it’s all adventure.

RR: What’s your next trip?

CC: Next trip will be moms-only, as Katie and I drive to Chicago for the annual BlogHer conference. The dream trip is to take to the kids and my nephew, Tanner, to Italy – Tanner is terminal ill (has Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy) and he told us when we saw him on this road trip that his big travel dream was to take a train in Italy. So we’re hoping that we can make that happen for him.

About Robert Reid

Robert Reid is a travel writer (Lonely Planet, New York Times, ESPN), travel expert (Today Show, CNN's Headline News), travel videographer (76-Second Travel Show) and travel artist (don't ask).
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