Baby, you can “Drive My Car” all the way to San Diego. | My Family Travels

With today’s efficiency in transportation, one could easily hop on a comfortable 737 in Dallas, take a long nap for approximately three and a half hours, and wake up in sunny San Diego; arriving with the most hectic of his or her time being spent in the process of going through security.

But no, that would be too easy. My parents decided that driving would be a more logical solution to the problem of traveling 1,298.7 miles from our little town in North Texas to the illustrious city of San Diego where my dad was currently employed. Which is why, starting on June 24, 2011 at a godforsaken early hour, I was crammed into the family Corolla with my older brother, Skyler, claiming shotgun, my mother being forced into the position of captain, and my younger brother – Shaun, my best friend- Allison and I becoming a tangle of our bodies, pillows, and snacks in the backseat.

QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP

For hours we trekked across the bleak landscape of West Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona until the end of the day, June 25, when we were saved by the magnificence of a Red Roof Inn in Tucson. (Anyone who has been trapped in a car for a long period of time with their family can understand the relief of trading an uncomfortable spot in the back of a car for a hotel mattress.) The day after our overnight stop seemed like a breeze compared to our prior stretch of driving – but, then again, I was solely acting as a backseat driver. After several more hours of driving, we arrived at Imperial Beach, San Diego, with my father flailing his arms in an attempt to direct my mother into the parking garage underneath the Imperial Beach Club condominium building. And thus began our family’s two week vacation.

Now that I look back I can’t differentiate between the days of those two weeks, or even remember everything we did while we were there. The whole experience is a blur of the chaos and arguments involved with the “happiest place on Earth,” the home of Shamu and his(or her?) aquatic friends, Whaley House – which no one was willing to explore – and historic Old Town, a hippy van painted with images of the Beatles and other 60’s bands outside the condo, the recently opened Japanese garden in Balboa Park that was a dream come true to my friend – Allison – who loves photography, dressing up to go to the relatively unknown top floor of the Hyatt, and collecting shells along the shore of Imperial Beach.

Despite the plethora of activities we accomplished during our time in California, the majority of our time was spent loafing around the condo, watching TV, and working on required summer reading. Most of the time that we could have spent exploring every corner of San Diego, we wasted with watching “1000 Ways To Die” and –  in the case of Allison and I – reading “La Ciudad De Las Bestias” for AP Spanish. But was it really wasted?

John Lennon – one of the many painted on the hippy van we saw in San Diego – once said “Time you enjoy wasting, was not time wasted.” After this vacation I would have to agree, and not only because I’m a crazy Beatles fan. We finally had the whole family together, had a great time, and we all fell in love with California. I’ll be going back to San Diego soon to tour my dream college, UCSD, and coincidentally to see Lennon’s old friend Ringo Starr in concert.

But this time, I’ll be on that 737.

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