We just got back from a road trip to be with family, so loved ones are on the brain. The circumstances for our trip were sad, but we still had such a wonderful time being together. Since we were already so close after the funeral, we decided to spend a couple more days with my in-laws.
The 13+ hour drive was long, but it was worth every bit of gas and mileage put on our vehicle. The weather was beautiful, the kids played their hearts out with their cousin, we ate out a lot, and laughed a whole lot more. I’m so thankful for family and friends who make travelling so worth it!
As we were driving away, the wheels started spinning in regards to how we can stay in touch better. We do some of these already, but certainly have some room for improvement.
Here are my 4 tips:
1. Call periodically
Admittedly, I struggle with this one. With all the demands on your time, it is hard to carve out time for phone conversations. Even so, phone calls are one of the best ways to stay connected. There is something about actually hearing the person’s voice that is so good for the soul. If you make phone calls regularly (weekly, biweekly, or even monthly), then they don’t have to be really long in order to stay connected. Thankfully, we have unlimited cell phone minutes*.
2. Technology is your friend (email, texting, social media, video chat, etc.)
Say what you will about technology and social media, but they are a huge help when it comes to staying in touch. Just don’t let it consume your life, right?!! Social media platforms are a great way to share pictures with your loved ones. It allows them to keep up with some of the day-to-day happenings they miss out on due to the distance.
Since it is hard to find quiet, uninterrupted time to talk on the phone, I love texting and emailing. It gives the flexibility to send a quick note or message to someone without having to drop everything and pick up a phone. You don’t have to worry about playing phone tag or leaving voicemails and the recipient can read them or respond when they are able. I don’t have Apple products, but Facetime or some other video chat service are another great option. Thank goodness for affordable smartphones*.
3. Snail mail still works (card, letter, small gift, etc.)
Mail may seem outdated and archaic, but it is still really meaningful to receive a piece of mail from someone. I am working on sending more notes and cards, but even small gifts can be fun to send. My daughter was so sad to say goodbye to her cousin last week and has been talking about making her a beaded necklace*. It can require a little more effort, but mail is still a thrill at any age.
4. Make visits a priority
Travelling can be pricey, especially if you are separated by a long distance. Because of the expense, we don’t fly very often so we committed early on that we would be a road trip family. We still miss out on lots of special events, but we make visits a priority in our life and do what we can to visit as much as possible. We oftentimes vacation with our families.
One of the ways we have made visits a priority is to include it in our monthly budget. We put money away in our slush fund each month so that we have money set aside for things like travel and vacations when we need it. (We are so thankful we had that money when we had to make the last minute trip for the funeral this past week). By saving each month, we aren’t as overwhelmed at the cost of a trip and it makes them more feasible.
Being apart from the ones you love can be hard, but with some effort, intention, and a little planning, it’s totally possible to remain close. Distance is no longer the obstacle that it once was when letters took weeks to arrive and visits were extremely rare (if they happened at all). I’m thankful that the miles seem shorter than they once were.