Road trips used to delight me as a child. We would stockpile our favourite treats – gummy sweets, cold drinks, chips, toffees, hoard our favourite comics and books, and my brother and I would lie in the back of the station wagon, on a mattress, under duvets, and watch the world go past our windows.
Generally, these road trips took us to familiar places, our family cottage at Hole In The Wall, to friends and family in Cape Town and Durban, or to the farm in Rustenburg, where we lived after my father died, before moving to Port Elizabeth
We grew familiar with landmarks, knew when it was time to look for the first glimpse of the ocean, when to open the window so that we could try to smell it’s salty tang. Mountains, Scrub land, the dirt tracks of the Transkei all meant that we were getting closer.
My childhood memories are invariably mixed up with memories of these road trips, of arguing about whether my siblings were taking up too much room, of endless games of Gin Rummy, score sheets running into three pages, of Archie Comics and different rest room stops.
I don’t remember when road trips stopped being adventures, and become something to get over, in order to reach where we were going. I think it was probably around the time life became a series of to-do lists, goals to be achieved, hurdles overcome, rather than days filled with new adventures, new friends and old.
I think it’s time to rediscover some of the magic of the road. Time to look out the window more and down at my phone less, to point the familiar landmarks to my daughter and watch her face as she begins to see them for what they are – signs of where she’s been, and where she’s going.
Time to hit the road again.