I've changed my attitude to car trips over the past few years. The journey has become almost as important as the destination. I used to dread long car trips, but a change in attitude, a packed lunch, some snacks, and a thermos of tea have changed that. I now well and truly love slow travel.
We had to drive to the south coast of NSW last weekend. It's supposed to be a four hour journey, but it took us almost seven hours.
We stopped to forage apples from the side of the road. Little Eco enjoyed exploring the huge old tree and picking apples. She insisted on eating a few despite their bitter 'not quiet ripe' taste making them more suitable for cooking.
We stopped at the Hawkesbury River foreshore. Little Eco ran through the trees, watched a Pelican catch fish, compared the touch of slippery seaweed to slimy wobbly jellyfish, and jumped in puddles.
We stopped at the Australian Botanic Gardens in Mount Annan and enjoyed the playground and a wander through through the bush tucker garden. We snuck a taste of various fruits and particularly enjoyed the Orange Berry, which I now plan to add to our garden.
We stopped to breath in the beauty of Fitzroy Falls and Little Eco got to see her first waterfall. We watched a pair of Lyre Birds scratching for food and chatted about the stuffed Pelican in the Information Centre that died after eating a plastic bag.
We also popped into one of our favourite antique stores. The picture above was taken on a previous trip. Antique stores and op shops have become a favourite place to stop when travelling. We chat to Little Eco about some of the more bizarre items and point out things from our childhood.
Libraries have also become a favourite place to stop when travelling. They're air conditioned, calm, free, and have power points to charge cameras, phones and lap tops.
Playgrounds are another great place to stop. Have you used Playground Finder? You can search for playgrounds by suburb or post code and can even restrict your search to include only playgrounds with toilets.
You won't find any of these experiences or learning opportunities in a McDonalds playground.
Where do you stop when travelling? Do you speed through towns without a second glance or do you embrace adventure and explore new places? Do you travel prepared with drinks and food or do you find yourself resorting to fast food chains at the last minute?
The Little Eco household is skipping super chains, including fast food chains, for all of 2012 as part of our Skipping the Supermarket Challenge.