How to Stay Sane During a Very, Very Long Car Ride

by RebShang

Last week, my parents and I (plus or minus one sibling) undertook a daring road-trip to faraway lands. We decided it was high time to visit family up up up in New York City, especially before I head off to the true far-off land of Singapore. But first, we needed to drop David off to his missions trip training in Florida. We succeeded in arriving at our multiple destinations in a [relatively] right state of mind, so I thought that I would share with you some of our travelling secrets.

1. Let your little brother tag along.

Remarkably, brothers make life brighter and a big bundle of fun. Especially younger brothers. I’ve got two at my disposal, but after calculating the risk-inevitability ratio of sibling “bantering” with the necessary cost of feeding a growing adult male with the potential fun-factor needed for countless hours confined in a tiny vehicle, I decided to bring only one along. David was the lucky winner. (The fact that Michael is out of town, and that David was the reason we drove down to Florida is beside the point.)

 2. Read aloud.

David is not much of a reader. So, taking my sisterly duties with the utmost seriousness, I’ve been remedying this travesty by reading to him aloud. We read The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt. Growing up, this was one of my favorite books-on-tape, so interestingly, this was the first time that I had actually read it. David thoroughly enjoyed it. (Apparently, he doesn’t remember ever having heard this story, claiming that books-on-tape were “before his time”. The little imp.) He also noted that if this whole going to Singapore thing doesn’t work out, I should become a professional books-on-tape reader, and that he will write me a letter of recommendation. Thoughtful, but still an imp. Afterwards, we discussed and decided our favorite parts of the book. I might share that at a later time.

 3. Always have Trolly the Tremendous Travel-buddy with you.

Without fail, he just makes things better. Especially when one is left imp-less. (You mustn’t forget to give him a booster seat and buckle him in!)

4. Stare out the window and be contemplative.

The radio is silenced. What fills the air are just the light sounds of the engine humming along and other cars whistling by. (Or is it us zipping by them?) I’ve got nothing but miles and miles ahead, and rolls of clouds and a flourish of trees to feast on. I know no better use of my time than to think, gaze, philosophize, and reflect. Vita contemplativa.

5. Find a long-lost, world-travelling older sister.

Oddly, it seems that either I can no longer handle more than one sibling at a time, or my parents prefer not to be outnumbered, (or both) because other than a few days in May, there has not been more than two Shang kiddos together at one time in a while. We traded in a David in Florida, and picked ourselves up a Judy-tudy in New York. I miss my little imp, but it has been a sweet reunion with my favorite sister.

6. Have an amazing mother who surprises you with tickets to the best Broadway show on earth: WICKED

My mother is the Queen of Bestowing the Perfect Gift to and Surprising the Daylights Out of Her Children. During my childhood, my family enjoyed the thrill of the Broadway theatre. And, as all native New Yorkers are privy to, my mom knew the whereabouts of that ticket discount vendor on the corner of —— and ——. But these tickets that she whipped out and handed to me and Judith were no nosebleed seats. I am talking about: Orchestra section. Fifteenth row from the stage. Dead center. As for Wicked, I have every word of the soundtrack memorized by heart and have been wishing to see the show since who knows when. To say that I was ecstatic and enthralled and enraptured the entire time [and for a long time afterward] is a dreadful understatement.

7. Visit friends on the way, through the way, and above the way.

On the way up, we had the pleasure of worshiping with our church in Annapolis and spending a brief time catching up with dear ones.

Through the Greensboro route, I got to see my dear friend, Alice. It was a lovely time.

Above the subway, the Pangs and the Shangs were once again reunited where it all began. (Look at us, all grown up!)

8. Talk to the parents.

The two people that I most admire and respect in this world are the ones I get to call mommy and pops, and I got to spend a some 35-odd hour road-trip with just them (plus or minus a sibling). Who’s blessed? This kid.

9. Have clean feet.

This is last on the list because it is the most important thing of all. No one likes a travel buddy with stinky toes. Not even Trolly.

[I realize that this post has nothing to do with my adventures in Singapore as I am not even there yet. But, seeing as I have exactly one month until I leave, I figured that I will have a few more posts between now and then. :-) I hope your summers have been marvelous thus far. Cheers!]

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