The first time she asked to go somewhere unusual, I could feel my heart beat faster than it was before she spoke.
She had been inspired after reading a story in Outside Magazine about a new trail system in Chile. The photos were mesmerizing. And the idea of exploring part of that meandering, breathtaking trail seemed like a reasonable one to her.
“Mom, can we go to Chile?” she asked, as easily as she’d ask if we could go to 7-11.
“Yes,” was my answer, equally as nonchalant.
That request came a few years after I made a conscious decision to stop buying toys and start investing in experiences. Adventures, I suppose, since we call them that. But they’re both.
Toys did nothing for them. They did nothing for me, except serve as an unnecessary expense and become something I had to clean up all the time.
They wouldn’t sit in their memories like a zipline over wild animals would, or a kiss from a dolphin would, or lunch on top of a waterfall would. So, we explored. And we continue to.
And since I made that commitment, I’ve had a number of people express their admiration for it – with a heavy qualifier….”I wish I could do that…”
So, you can. Not sure if people are waiting for permission, or fearing backlash from their kids or wondering if they have the budget for it…or what. But none of those things are actual speed bumps.
Yes, my maniacs were super skeptical of our new path. They probably talked shit behind my back, in a totally natural and expected way. And that’s cool.
But they embraced every minute of every adventure. And never once said they wished they had something else. They’re looking, now, for what will get their hearts beating faster. So, the idea of instilling exploration, supporting adventure and fostering a connection to the greater world around them is bigger than just a theory.
It’s a practice that worked. As if I needed a punctuation to prove it, that same girl declared her desired destination for her big graduation adventure, still years away. And she used specifics.
“This,” she told me, showing me images on her phone. “Thailand. Phi Phi island. That’s where I want to go.”
As you can imagine, I could barely stand after hearing that. I just nodded and caught my breath.