We needed to get away, but that getaway came at a lot of costs. We had two kids who were upset about lost time saying goodbye to friends. We were trying to negotiate a house purchase and sale while fighting with spotty service and wifi. I was trying to communicate with my new school and my husband was still doing his own work. My determination to support local state parks meant that we were often staying FAR away from the places that we wanted to visit, which meant a lot of driving. I had an idea of what I wanted to do with my family but no real plans, which meant a lot of time and miles were wasted along the way. And everything just kept breaking.
After six months in a fog after a year of pandemic living as we look forward to something both exciting and new, we need a vacation that focuses on the moment and not necessarily on what is coming next. Last January I didn’t know that was what I was going to need.
Maybe it’s time for us to start looking for new ways to force people out of their geographical and digital bubbles and help them to see that we have more in common than we do differences. Domestic exchange programs and building a new Civilian Conservation Corps would be great places to start, developing friendships and connections that potentially last decades. There is no shame in loving our homes and taking great pride in our towns, cities, and states. The problem is when we see those towns, cities, and states as “the best of all possible worlds,” to borrow a phrase from Candide.
The first trip by myself to Galveston gave me the chance to do research on activities our family could do on a return to the island. We’ve taken family down to the coast before, enjoying time on the beach at the state park and walking around the small downtown area to look at shops, but that had been the extent of our family explorations. I wanted our return to the island to be a continuation of the historical journey I began by myself.
Our stop through Arkansas Post was unexpected, but as I’ve said many times before, I’m constantly working to accept the unexpected in my life. We were happy that we beat the rain and still got to learn some obscure history about both Arkansas and the Civil War.
Cane Creek once again confirmed the value of camping at state parks. While we wouldn’t drive the long haul from Texas for the sole purpose of camping there again, it was a good place to meet up with my parents and provided more experiences than we had originally anticipated.