Traveling with children and boredom

Chad Filley
Guest Columnist

Are we there yet?

Traveling is stressful enough, but traveling with multiple children can be more torturous than the Spanish Inquisition. How many times can even the strongest of parents hear, “Are we there yet?” before questioning the meaning of life?

I’ll never forget those long trips in the backseat of the Dodge Duster sitting next to my brother with neither one of us daring to cross the imaginary Mason-Dixon Line. If one did enter No-Man’s Land it was sure to elicit, “Mom, he’s on my side!” And let’s just say that if dad got annoyed he didn’t reply with the Emancipation Proclamation.

I can’t even imagine what it was like for families with more than two children. Think of all the trespassing possibilities into sibling’s zones. All I can imagine is that it must have been part Lord of the Flies and part Hunger Games.

Today’s parents are lucky to have car seats, seatbelts, and DVD players to help prevent cross-cultural altercations. It may get a little annoying to hear Shrek 2 blaring over and over, but it’s nothing compared to hearing Jenny scream that Billy is pulling her hair.

I once heard about a physician with 12 children who traveled everywhere. I assumed he must travel via bus, but was fascinated to learn that his family flew commercial airlines wherever they went. Still skeptical it was explained to me that he would divvy up “travel vitamins” to his children before getting on the plane. His children were often complimented by the flight attendants on how well behaved they were. Rumor has it that the travel vitamins were actually valium.

I’m Bored

I’ve lived in several towns ranging in population from less than 1,000 to 75,000 and one thing is consistent. No matter how small or large the town, all teens think there hometown is boring.

“There’s nothing to do here …” is the anthem of most teens, followed by, “I wish I lived somewhere like New York City. I’d never be bored there.”

Whenever I hear this I simply nod and wonder what kids from NYC think? Are New Yorkers immune to boredom? I’m sure these ridiculous words have been uttered more than once, “I hate Manhattan, there’s nothing to do here. I wish I lived in L.A.?”

I also speculate what kids in foreign countries say. Would a teen from an Ethiopian city say something like, “I wish I lived in America because then I’d have something to eat.”

What about kids from places like Afghanistan? “I wish that just one night the bombing would stop.”

Hey kids, maybe boring isn’t that bad after all.

Chad Filley is a stand up comedian from East Central Minnesota. You can see a listing of his upcoming shows on his website,