Climb the Arch de Triomphe, scale a mountain in Belize, or Run through the French Countryside with small kids in tow?
Absolutely, says this Flower Mound mom.
Standing at a kids birthday party one Saturday, I overheard a mother use the words Before Kids… to start a sentence. “Before kids,” she went on to say, “it seemed like we had a lot of money!” The other parents chimed in, nodding their heads. “Before kids,” another mother said, “I used to run triathlons.”
How many times do we find ourselves using those two words? I remember the looks I got the first time I mentioned a trip to the jungle at a play group. The mothers looked at me in horror, as if I’d just told them I was taking my kids to Afghanistan on vacation. One was planning a trip to Disney, and another had just returned from a drive up to Dollywood. “Will it be safe?” a friend asked. “I don’t like creepy crawly things,” said another.
“But will they remember it?”, one mom said. “You should wait until they are older.”
That last question always leaves me scratching my head. If they’ll remember Disney, why not an adventure of another kind. If you were inclined to take adventures before kids… you can do it now that you have them and it doesn’t have to break the bank either. You can give them an authentic experience observing the natural wonders of a nearby lake, or instead of the Rainforest cafe, you can budget and plan for an amazing once in a lifetime journey to a real rain forest!
Rediscover who you are
Before kids… we traveled the world. And not just travel, but adventure travel. Our trips often led us to exciting and unpredictable destinations and experiences that changed our lives. We worked in orphanages in Romania, holding tiny babies that had been abandoned by their mothers. We made friends with gypsies on the street, flew back one year to be at the bedside of a dying friend we’d met who my husband had grown to love like a father.In the years before we got pregnant, we hiked twenty miles through an anaconda infested swamp in Peru, climbed Macchu Picchu, dined on Piranha that night and slept in a small thatched roof hut surrounded by jungle animals. Each time we did something new, my mind and soul expanded and I knew I’d want that experience for my kids when I had them. Now that we’ve got two toddlers in tow, I find the desire to adventure still strong. I have to plan smaller mini adventures, from hiking in Belize to running through foreign woodlands. The boys (2 and 4) love it all. And there are still plenty of new things to conquer. My friend Holly takes her toddlers skiing and they are already swooshing down the slopes, while mine wouldn’t know a ski lodge from a marina. But is on my list. Right behind hiking Macchu Picchu.
Add Adventure to Your Life!
Our first child is six now, but we spent his first day of kindergarten in the jungle in Costa Rica. We woke up to howler monkeys swinging from the trees and he was exposed to Spanish everyday, and the sights and sounds and tastes of an entirely new culture. And something remarkable happened. His mind and soul expanded, and he became instantly aware that anything is possible, that the world is a giant place with amazing people living in every crevice and corner.
When my boys were infants, Target seemed like a gigantic challenge. The screaming, the diapers, the shopping carts, and transportation issues of food bags and toddlers. But an adventure trip allowed me to see things in a different light, and relax a bit. After all, I convinced myself, if I could conquer a twelve hour flight with ease, Target should be a breeze! Venturing out …changed my mind and gave me confidence in a lot of different areas of motherhood.
How to Adventure Travel with Kids!
A magically (and affordable) way to bond over unique escapes.
1. Go with what you love. If you loved running or participating in marathons before kids, plan adventures that involve small runs or local races with the kids. If your hobby was something else, re-ignite the flame! Look for adventures that match your interests.
2. Think of the one thing you’ve always wanted to do. Make a list! Take on the challenge of creating a new adventure with your kids each month.
3. Explore trains, planes, balloons, helicopters, and all modes of transportation that you never would have considered before! Take them to a local airport and watch the planes, rent a helicopter for special occasions, find a local canoe hole where you can rent canoes and teach your kids a new sport!
4. Be open, open, open. Cultivate an adventurous, anything is possible spirit!
Tammy Kling is the author of The Compass. (www.amazon.com) as well as a new book, Adventure! A Woman’s Guide to Living the Life of Her Dreams, (2010) Her work has appeared globally and has been featured on Dateline NBC, and in The New York Times, and Wall Street Journal, among others. She is an adventurous travelor, working in orphanages in Romania and traveling jungles across the earth, and an advocate for the homeless. Visit her at www.escapesuburbia.wordpress.com. The Compass; How to Go from Where You are to Where you Want to be, about the journey and adventure of your life, is her newest book.