Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

When I was growing up, we used to go on the occasional interstate road trip as a family.

I can remember with great fondness the long drives, the regular stops to stretch the legs, the sights along the way and falling asleep to the rocking of the car, all things that I look forward to sharing with my kids in the coming years as we go on our own road trips.

Of course, in romanticising such trips, I’m choosing to ignore the inevitable “are we there yet? questions from the back seat and the undoubted arguments that the three kids will have along the way.

Having said that, road trips are a great tradition and there are a few terrific principles that we can learn from them.

Know your destination.  If you’re going on a trip, it’s not enough to know that you’re headed west, or that you’re going to a certain state, certain city or even suburb.  You need to know your exact destination or you’ll be driving around aimlessly.

It’s important to have goals, but the more specific the better.

Don’t aim to lose weight, aim to lose five kilos by Christmas.

Don’t wish for another job, know exactly what sort of job you want.

Don’t plan to pray more, get up 15 minutes earlier every day and use that time to connect with God.

Don’t aim to get into the property market, know exactly how much you need to save up by a specific time for a deposit on a house in your ideal area.

Plan before you leave.  When setting out for a big trip, you need to make sure that your car is in good condition, you’ve packed everything that you’ll need, that you’ve booked your accommodation and that you know how long it will take for you to get there.

This is the same for our goals.

What do you need to have in order before you start making progress?

Are there people who can help you along the way?

Is there an obstacle that you need to deal with before you start?

Is what you’re going to do today going to take you closer or further away from your goal?

Get excited!  If you’re going on a long drive, your attitude towards it will determine how enjoyable the experience is.  If you’re dreading the trip, chances are it will be a looooooong, arduous journey, but if you’re feeling enthusiastic towards it, you’ll enjoy the drive more and appreciate what you observe along the way.

This is the same with life.

If you’re always looking for things to complain about, you’ll have no trouble finding them.

However, if you launch into your personal journey with energy, vigour and a positive attitude, I suspect that you’re going to have a great time and will be a great travelling companion for others.

What about you?

What’s the best road trip you’ve ever been on?

Is there anything else we can learn from them?

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