Road Trip 2.0

Dear Daughter,

I’m sad to say that the art of conquering road trip boredom is a dying one.

This past weekend, we went on a mini vacation to Nashville, Tennessee. It took us 7 hours to drive there, which would have felt like an eternity when I was a kid, but to you it breezed by, thanks to the many electronic devices with which your generation has been spoiled blessed.

I took many a road trip when I was younger—twice-a-year, 13-hour drives to New Jersey in a conversion van. My siblings and I could write the book on how to keep busy during an agonizingly long trip: the license plate game, snack, car bingo, snack, the alphabet game, nap, snack, pull each other’s hair, snack…

Even though we became pros at keeping busy (and gained 10 pounds doing so), none of those activities were particularly satisfying. And it never failed that the last couple hours of the trip were like awaiting the release from prison. So close, yet so far away.

But for you, my dear, the road trip is just as enjoyable as an afternoon in your own living room. Via your PSP and my iPhone, you entertained yourself with movies and games, all while having free reign of the entire back seat. (See, there are benefits to being an only child.) Your generation has been given the gift of constant entertainment and, while I’m grateful not to have to hear the words “Are we there yet?”, this fact kind of makes me sad. You don’t have to use your creativity like we did when we were kids. You don’t have to suffer through hours of boredom, only to have a greater appreciation of your destination when it finally arrives. The phrase “the best things come to those who wait” does not apply to you in this situation because to you it doesn’t really feel like waiting; you’re just having fun.

In other words, these portable video games have taken the character-building aspect out of the road trip.

Perhaps for the next vacation, I’ll make a rule that no electronic devices are allowed. Car bingo, get ready to make a comeback…



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