Gypsy Jaunt
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“Gypsy Jaunt,” Ensign, Apr. 1971, 79

Gypsy Jaunt

It’s spring again. Take a day off with your family; spend an afternoon with them on a gypsy jaunt or share an hour in a pleasant walk around the block.

Whatever amount of time you can spend, make the jaunt a mystery. This will take some advance planning, but the mounting curiosity of the members of the family adds to the fun.

Where the jaunt leads to is enclosed in secret directions in sealed envelopes. What will be done on the jaunt is hidden in paper bags or boxes. The parents might plan the first jaunt; the children might want to plan the second and third.

If the first jaunt is an hour’s walk in the neighborhood, the directions might read: Envelope #1: “Go north to the first corner. Stop. Open first paper bag.” The paper bag might contain a sticker with name and address to be pasted to each child’s forehead, in case he gets lost from the group. Each envelope takes the group a little farther, and each paper bag contains a surprise. If the walk includes a shady tree, directions might include a rest with a carrot stick to munch on. Your neighborhood will lend itself to many adventures for the very small.

If the jaunt is a gypsy trek for the afternoon, choose the park or playground or country area to be explored, and make the directions and the surprises correspond with the time and area.

A jaunt in the car for the whole day might be just as surprising, with directions such as the following: “Go to the nearest highway or freeway entrance. Go north 20 miles.” This jaunt will take the most knowledgeable planning as to number of miles and directions to reach the planned destination. Directions might say, at times, to pull off the road at the rest stop and have punch and cookies from the surprise bag. Activities such as building a monument to a national hero of the area, or to a special memory shared by the family at this spot, or to one member of the family for his endurance might be fun. The monuments would be creative edifices from rocks, sticks, snow, sand, or whatever is available.

At another point in the jaunt, the directions might suggest that the group sing for a rest activity.

At many points during the day and at strategic places the directions should include fun activities and refreshments. If the area lends itself to visiting caves, parks, or museums, include these.

The instructions on the last envelope should read: “To be opened when you reach home, before anyone leaves the car.” Then inside the envelope a note might say: “Three cheers for the leader of the gypsy jaunt.”

Let your imagination help you to make the walk around the block, the afternoon’s ride together, or the gypsy jaunt an unforgettable and repeatable experience for the family.

—Mary Ellen Jolley