While many of us seek the wonders of Europe or a pristine beach in Hawaii for our annual holiday, one NSW family. has discovered a love affair with road trips in Australia.
NSW woman Carla Lombardo, her partner Teneti and their son, Boston, five, love the unparalleled sense of control over a road-trip journey. which fosters a unique family experience with the ever-changing landscapes serving as a canvas for what she calls "dream weaving."
"It has a hypnotic effect, emulating a form of meditation. It’s perfect for little ones to use their imagination, and for us adults to create the vision of what we want our lives to look like," Carla said.
"You get the best ideas when you are driving, We dedicate a portion of a road trip to no distractions from music, podcasts or audio books; we save them for later when the long trips can start to get tough."
Travelling with a child, often perceived as a challenge, has become second nature for the Lombardo family.
"We have primed our son for this! Because my mum lives six hours out of Sydney, he’s become a seasoned traveller, especially on the road.," Carla said.
"We leave early in the morning when it’s dark between 4-5am, so you get a big portion of the drive done in the dark and it feels like you’re much closer to your destination.
"More importantly, it's a mindset. I know one of my top personal values is ‘experiences’, to take advantage of and create as many different experiences as I can in this life.
"What a privilege to spend time with your family and show your kids the world! This is a road map to a fulfilled life.
"If you think it’s going to be a hard trip, it will be. If you think it’s going to be exciting and be open to what happens along the way, it will be exciting and memorable.
"When you travel, you form a connection with a place, and when you do, you’re more inclined to protect it. It’s a beautiful way to see the world around us and want to do better, make better choices for our planet."
The family have many highlights, including Carla's winter road trip from the Central Coast to Melbourne for a workshop. Heading back via Jindabyne (the Snowy Mountains), the journey was memorable because she had to drive through the mountains, solo.
"The landscape in Talbingo was lush and green, I didn’t know what mountains laid ahead of me. As someone who is scared of heights, there was a moment on the top of the mountain that took my breath away before the descent," Carla said.
"Then the landscape changed again and I was driving through a snowstorm, I could see brumbies running alongside me and it was incredible."
The couple have a simple way to entertain Boston during long trips - by talking!
"We actually tell him our goals as adults and what we’re working on. It’s an opportunity to explore the world through curiosity," Carla said.
"We create stories (we always throw gratitude and affirmations into the story) and simply connect with each other! He has his snacks (mostly fruit selection already pre-prepared, and a “plater” as he calls it of tomato, cucumber, carrots, capsicum cut up and ready to eat).
"He doesn’t have an iPad or any gadgets. Most of the time he’s looking out the window and I think that’s perfect to keep using the imagination. As Einstein said “logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere!”
Carla says the best advice she can give families considering a long road trip is to prepare. Here are her top tips:
1.Cut up food in portions and label containers, put it in a cooler bag in the middle for easy access.
2. Find a music playlist that everyone will like listening to.
3. Find an audio book, download it, and take your headphones so you can have some alone time in the car, especially if you don’t want to listen to what the other person wants.
4. Find a few podcast episodes you can listen to together (adults) when your child is asleep.
5. Check out a map of where you could potentially stop for breaks so you can gauge how far in-between, incase someone needs the loo ASAP!
6. Mindset, what a golden opportunity to connect and make memories together! Embrace every moment.
The family's choice of road travel unveils hidden gems and introduces chance encounters that wouldn't be possible with faster modes of transportation.