Confession: I’m a type-A planner who lives by lists and who struggles with spontaneity. Shocking. I know.
I married a non-planner who loves spontaneity. You know the kind. They throw everything into a suitcase the night before a trip, possibly even the morning of and never even make a checklist. *Gasp.* Meanwhile, I’ve made checklists of my checklists. Ahem.
This made for an interesting few years early in our marriage. Over the past sixteen years, we’ve found a balance between planning and leaving room for spontaneity. In the process, I’ve learned that the best memories and stories are often the ones that are unplanned.
Summer is the season where I’ve learned to kick back and let go of plans. Sort of.
Ok, not entirely. In reality, I found a way to “plan” for spontaneity. After a few unplanned outings that left us cold and wet and hungry, I discovered that if I kept a list of things in the car during the summer season, we could enjoy our spontaneity, make the adventure last longer, and not have it end on sour, grumpy notes.
Here are 10 things that I keep in my car for summer adventures, both planned and unplanned.
In Michigan, temperatures can drop significantly once the sun goes over the horizon. With sweatshirts on hand, our adventures don’t have to end just because the sun went to bed.
2. Change of clothes
I thought once everyone was out of diapers I wouldn’t need to carry extra clothes. Wrong. I’m terribly accident prone, and I’ve passed those genes along. Go to a cookout and get marshmallow all over your shirt? No need to attract ants all night long! Or if you decide to make an impromptu stop at the beach and your boy decides to swim in his clothes….it could happen….
3. Picnic Supplies
I keep a bag with a plastic tablecloth I found in the camping aisle, plasticware, napkins, and paper plates in the trunk. Decide to grab sandwiches and stay out a little longer than intended? Turn it into an impromptu picnic without worrying about getting bird poop on your bread. Just saying.
We do see the sun now and then in Michigan. You never know when that will happen, so I carry sunscreen just in case.
5. Bug Spray
The mosquitoes have been awful this year. Nothing like stopping to watch impromptu fireworks by the roadside and getting carried away by bugs.
There is nothing worse than driving home from a fun activity and finding yourself in the middle of no where listening to the tune of “I’m hungry!! Now….Huuuuunnnngggrrry!” Who else has used the line “I don’t have a magic pantry in the car!!” Just me?
When it rains, it pours. Sorry. Couldn’t resist. Nothing so miserable as rain on your parade. Ok. I’ll stop.
8. A sheet or stadium blanket
I keep both in the car. A sheet is perfect for unexpected stops at the beach. The blanket is great for roadside fireworks displays after the sun has gone down.
9. Car activities
I keep a couple notebooks and a box of pens, pencils, and markers in the car. Because too many movies and video games rot your brain. Or so my mom always said. I’m keeping creativity alive!
10. A frisbee
Just for fun. Great exercise at a rest stop in the midst of a long road trip too. Just don’t toss it onto the highway. Or near a dog.
Bonus: First Aid Kit
This one isn’t just for summer, although we tend to use it more on our summer adventures. I always keep one in my glove compartment. Summer is a good time to check and re-stock it!
Anything you’d add to the list? Do you stock your car with things for adventures?