Last Tuesday after a fabulous adventure in Dahlonega, GA, I tried something with the kids that I have always wanted to do. The baby was sleeping and I needed to get gas after our day of gold mines, southern fried chicken family style lunch, the general store, the fudge shop, antiquing and the toy store. I got in the car after filling the tank and told the big kids we were going to play a little game. I was going to let them take the wheel (NOT literally) but I was going to let them decide at every stoplight which direction we would go - right, left or straight. I told them they had to give me their choice well before I got to the light and they could not change their mind. We would alternate which kid gave me the direction. They were so excited. "What if we get lost?" - one of the girls asked me. Well, that's kind of the point. "We have a GPS don't worry we can always find our way home" was my reassuring response. So, with the afternoon ahead of us, a full tank of gas and a napping toddler we were off.
I will say our results may not be typical because we began while we were still kind of up in the country (just north of Atlanta). But after only two turns we had stumbled upon a lakeside beach and campground complete with gazebo out over the lake. After a bit of back tracking, the next set of turns revealed a pick your own sunflower field and a beautiful rolling farm. At which point the little one woke up and yelled, "HORSEY"! This whole "little" game took well over an hour (or it could have been two? On a day like that, no one is really watching the clock). The baby was up and we had done two full rounds where everyone had two chances to give me a direction. We were done for the day. Strangely enough after all that exploring I was only one turn and a half mile from the highway that would lead us home.
What a great adventure we had. I think the experience itself was one of adventurous recklessness - without really being reckless at all. I also believe they felt empowered - when do they ever get the opportunity to have quite so much control (or so they felt). The kids still ask can we play that game again. My answer since that day has always been "we don't have the time today" (which saddens me). If you ever find yourself with a couple hours to spare, a GPS to find your way home and a full tank of gas, give it a try see where the road (or the kids) take you. You may be pleasantly surprised.