This simple (and fun!) travel tradition will make your family vacations memorable throughout the year. Try it once and I promise, you'll be hooked on this tradition too.
. . .
I look at the clock in the car 4:16 am. I yawn, again. The car is dark — the world is dark — but the birds are chirping. I squint my eyes as I look in the rearview mirror, "You all buckled in?" I hear a click; then I pop on the music. It's too early to be polite. It's too early to think. Getting up early seemed like a great plan LAST NIGHT, but this morning it feels a bit insane. The Lumineers come on, and my daughter starts to sing along.
Hey. Ho. Hey. Ho.
I belong with you, you belong with me.
You're my sweetheart.
Then THIS happened...
My daughter and I got up before sunrise to drive the Custer State Park Wildlife Loop in hopes of catching a glimpse of a few buffalo. Instead, we found an entire heard roaming the rolling hills of South Dakota. We ended our adventure with a one-on-one coffee date on the porch of the historic Custer State Game Lodge.
On our trip around the Custer State Park Wildlife Loop, we saw bison (lots and lots of bisons), prancing pronghorn, prairie dogs and a variety of birds. Visitors have also reported commonly seeing whitetail deer, mule deer, elk, coyotes, burros, and birds of prey. It. Is. Awesome.
I've got DSLR photos, but we haven't printed them.
I've got Instagram pics, but we don't look at them.
I've got video on my iPhone, but it is lost amongst day-to-day
However, every single time I hear Ho Hey by the Lumineers I think of buffalo and this wonderful morning adventure.
This is not an accidental coincidence. Every time we take a trip, my husband creates a short playlist for our adventure.
Each and every song is tied to memories of Custer State Park, Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore and our adventures in the Black Hills.
We live in a world of digital music — iTunes, Spotify, Pandora. Our kids will never understand the power of getting a mixed tape with a handwritten title scribbled across the top. Do you remember how much effort you put into making a mixed tape (or burned CD) for a friend when you were young? And receiving one as a gift — that truly meant something because you knew how much thought went into making it. You'd listen to it over and over again.
Put THAT same love and care into making your travel playlists for your family.
Music is a powerful way to trigger travel memories. Before your next trip, put together a short, meaningful playlist for your family. I promise you won't regret it.
P.S. A while back, we took a full family trip with all the cousins to Traverse City, Michigan. At the start of the adventure, our teen cousins were less than keen on the playlist. However, by the end of the week, we were car dancing to I'm Ready by AJR, and there were even random requests for I Like Birds by the Eels once and awhile. [winks] If there is a bit of resistance the first time you play through your list, stand strong. XO