Road Trippin’ with Tyndale & Courtney Walsh: Stop #10
- The adventure begins on Wednesday, August 1. You’ll have two weeks to make your way through all the stops (giveaways will close on Tuesday, August 14).
- While you do not have to start at Stop #1, keep in mind that the grand prize giveaway phrase will begin with the word you collect at that first stop.
- To complete your submission for the grand prize giveaway, be sure to collect the key word within each author’s blog post, submitting the final, completed phrase in the form hosted on this page.
- Also, be sure to enter the giveaways these authors are hosting on their blogs!
Enjoy the journey—I hope you’ll discover new books along the way as you hear from Tyndale Fiction authors about road trips, the settings of their novels, and more!
Happy road tripping!
Please join me in welcoming Courtney Walsh to my blog today. I’m thrilled to host her and her story! Courtney writes small-town contemporary romances, filled with characters you’ll wish were your friends, locales you’ll want to visit, and themes that resonate with real life to nourish your soul. Her latest—Just Let Go—takes place in a little beach town in Southern Michigan, but today Courtney is going to tell you about a real-life road trip that started out with disaster but ended up magical.
An Unexpected Road Trip
By Courtney Walsh
Road trips, in theory, sound like a lot of fun—but if I’m honest, they’ve never really appealed to me. I’m so very impatient I end up with a bad case of “Are we there yet?” only an hour after we pull out of the driveway.
This past March, for so many reasons, I began to feel a bit of spring fever. I remembered last spring break, when I sat in my house in dreary, still-frigid Illinois, longingly looking at photos of so many friends who’d taken trips to warmer climates, and I thought, I don’t want to do that again. I want to feel the sunshine on my face.
March had been such a difficult month for our family that I could easily justify all the reasons why we needed the time away, so two nights before the start of spring break, I spent the evening being impulsive—something that’s very out of character for me. On a whim, I booked an incredible last-minute deal at a vacation resort in Orlando. I rented a car from the airport in Florida and secured our tickets to Universal Studios—a place my kids had been begging to revisit. I reserved our airline tickets—the perfect travel schedule—and ohmygoodness we were leaving in two days!
A few hours later, after we told the kids about the trip, I realized (in a moment of sheer horror) that instead of booking our flight from Illinois to Florida, I had booked it from Florida to Illinois.
I’d booked it all backward.
I seriously don’t think I’ve ever felt so stupid in my entire life.
After a long, frustrating phone call with the airline (and many, many tears because our tickets were nonrefundable), I realized we had two options: 1. Cancel the whole trip, thereby disappointing our kids and not getting the much-needed family time, or 2. Go anyway. In a car. On a road trip.
We are not a road trip family—not really. We’ve done the occasional trip out of necessity, but by and large, we aren’t big road trippers. But my husband and I couldn’t stand the thought of withering away in the cold, sunless weather another day. So we decided to take the plunge and drive the eighteen hours to the land of sunshine and swimming pools.
We told ourselves it would be “fun” and “an adventure.”
Never mind that I am not an adventure-loving type of person.
The day we left was so crazy we picked up our son from the bus home from his class trip to Washington, DC, and left for Florida two hours later, two days after deciding to go in the first place. (Don’t tell me you can’t plan a family vacation last minute!!)
We settled in for the long drive, and only a few hours out of town, something unexpected happened.
Sitting in the passenger seat of the car, I had no choice but to relax. I couldn’t work. I had no to-do list. I couldn’t do much of anything except talk to my husband and kids or listen to an audiobook or sing along to the ’80s station . . .
“I bless the rains down in Af-ri-ca!!!” I belted out, much to my children’s dismay.
Our lives are so busy, and it seems we’re always trying to get to the next thing. On this trip, I knew we wouldn’t get to the next thing for several hours, so that gave me permission to turn my brain off and just be.
Our family hasn’t been on many vacations, but every time we go, it seems there’s one moment that makes the whole thing worthwhile. One moment of catching my kids connecting with each other (or with us) and realizing this is why we did this.
This road trip provided many of these moments, and without my giant (expensive) mistake, we would’ve missed it.
We would’ve missed bonding over how long it took to get through Atlanta (sooooo long). We would’ve missed my youngest son building a fort in the backseat and the unexpected conversation that happened when the devices were off and everyone was bored.
It strikes me now, months later, that the whole sordid tale is a metaphor for life. We make mistakes—some of them big, expensive, and embarrassing—and we have a choice. We can pack it all in and say, “Okay, I guess I’m done,” or we can find another way to take the journey.
This trip was a much-needed pause in the middle of a busy life . . . and the memories we made were made better by every hour of passing highway.
Here’s the Stop #10 Important Information:
- You can purchase Courtney’s book, Just Let Go, here.
- Clue to write down: times
- Link to Stop #11, the next stop in the scavenger hunt, on Courtney’s Site!
Austrian Cookie & Book Giveaway
***SO PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THE WINNER, PATRICE DOTEN***
I hope you enjoyed reading about both Courtney’s road trip and my backpacking trip to Austria (if you missed my post about this adventure, you can read it on Cathy Gohlke’s blog).
To celebrate the upcoming release of Hidden Among the Stars, my latest time-slip novel, I’m giving away a signed copy of the book and a gift box with Austrian jam-filled Linzer cookies, butter cookies, Viennese chocolate kisses, and both chocolate and vanilla tea cookies.
If you’d like to submit your name for this drawing, please leave a comment on this post or submit your info in the box below (I wish I could mail this to participating readers around the world, but sadly the shipping is only available for residents in the US and Canada). I’ll be notifying the winner on Friday, August 15.
Thanks for road trippin’ with me and these amazing Tyndale novelists. It’s a joy for me to journey with you!