Little Adventures – Memories from the Road

by Cassidy Nunn | photo by Nunn Other Photography – 

“We’re at the terminal ferry!” my two-and-a-half-year-old excitedly announced from her car seat as we pulled into the terminal at Swartz Bay. I caught her eye in the rear-view mirror as she kicked her feet with great enthusiasm and looked out the window, searching for the “sailboat.” With restrictions lifted and travel feeling back to normal, our summer and fall of 2022 was one where we ended up being away almost every weekend on one road (and ferry) trip or another. We perfected the art of packing our truck and almost got to the point where we’d leave the house without forgetting something. Almost.

This was the 12th ferry ride of our summer and for my daughter, the experience was still as thrilling as her first. I was less enthused; we were heading home from Bowen Island and I was on my own with a very newly potty-trained toddler and a dog, in 30° heat with no ferry reservations for the two-ferry day. It was 10 a.m. and I was exhausted already and questioning why on earth I had wanted to do this trip on my own again? Oh right: I’d talked myself into the memories we’d make. And that even if it was a tough time, it would be memorable! Nostalgia had worked its magic on my childhood memories of road trips, erased all the hours of boredom and tiredness and replaced it with happy reminiscences of adventure and fun.

Road trips were a staple in my life growing up – we travelled from Vancouver to Nelson (about a nine-hour drive) four times a year without fail and in all seasons to visit family. By the time I was 13 we’d driven all the way across Canada – B.C. to Newfoundland and back, in my parents’ VW camper van. With my family, as well as my husband’s, spread out over B.C., we knew there’d be a lot of road trips in our daughter’s future. Because she was born at the very beginning of the pandemic, it meant we didn’t travel at all for the first six months of her life. On her first ferry ride to the mainland we kept her in the truck with us, guarding her protectively from the germs. The drive that followed was a series of stop-go. Stop: diaper change. Stop: nurse baby. Stop: diaper change again. Stop: change outfit that is now covered in spit up. Stop: pull over to soothe crying baby; nurse again; change diaper again. Stop: gas up the truck. Stop: coffee break. Stop: yet another diaper change. All this to the tune of Baby Beluga by Raffi playing on repeat since it was the only song that calmed the baby. It took us twice as long to get to our destination, but we did make it. We came back from that road trip frazzled and wondered how anyone travelled with babies, let alone with more than one child!

Yet here I was, driving onto another ferry, to the tune of “Mama, I have to go peeeeeee!” We’d made it off Bowen Island and all the way to the Tsawwassen terminal with no accidents. “Just a couple more minutes!” I reassured her. Since we didn’t have a reservation, we found ourselves on the bottom deck where it was still too hot to leave the dog alone in the truck. So the three of us spent the voyage ambling around the car deck, sitting in the pet room discussing the pipes on the ceiling that she found infinitely fascinating, and waving at any person who walked by.

We’re now at the point where we no longer have to play Baby Beluga on repeat every road trip. My daughter now requests the songs she’d like and occupies herself by telling stories to her giant stuffed horse, reading books, singing and asking for snacks every 2.5 minutes. While I’m looking forward to a few months of less travel, I know by next year, the road trips will look different again as each new phase of parenthood brings a new set of fun and challenges.

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