Alli’s my little sister. Our parents got married last year, and our family grew quite a bit. She’s currently a junior in high school and when given the option to go on Spring Break with all of her cool friends in Florida, or drive cross country in a van with her older stepsister, she choose me and it made me feel SO hip. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty nervous about having her on the road with me. It’s one thing for me to sleep on the side of the road or shower at truck stops, but even though Alli is seventeen, she’s barely five feet tall. It was also a lot of driving, and potentially lack of cell service and I really, really wanted it to be a positive memorable experience for her. 

She flew into San Francisco and in eleven days we made our way down the coast, through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, stopped for a few days in New Orleans, and then down to Miami for some true Spring Break feels. Coast to coast we traveled. In the beginning Alli put her feet in the Pacific Ocean, and before heading back home went for some swims in the Atlantic. My mom went on a cross country road trip with her older sister when she was a teen, and she still talks about that trip 40 years later, so I have this vision that this experience will be something Alli takes with her for a few decades. Even with the generation’s magical disappearing SnapChat obsession, I’m hoping it stays stored in a happy memory compartment in her young sponge brain. 

I’m actually not an easy person to travel with, anyone who has spent a few days in the van with me knows this. I’m a bit of a neat freak, and everything has its perfect place and the bows on the curtains need to be tied a certain way (which no one ever manages on the first try). I can get overwhelmed with people in the space and I’m genuinely content sitting in my own silence for long periods of time. But Alli was an amazing travel companion, even for me. I’m not sure if its because she’s so physically small, or because we are similar in the way that we really value our alone time, but I was pretty bummed when her trip ended and I had to send her back to MI.

I look forward to future adventures with her and our other siblings as we continue to grow stronger bonds and solidify these new family ties. Thanks Alli for a great time, lots of laughs, sleeping in, and singing to me. Couple more weeks left in this van and we are filling it with all the love and good vibes.

Meghan KindsvaterComment