Picture this, you're 22, you have a relatively well paid semi-successful career and a fantastic girlfriend, a cheap A to B Toyota hilux, as much fishing, diving and adventure gear as you can comfortably afford. A bike that's worth more then your trusty hilux and somewhere in that mix is a rally car. You spend your life living for that next adventure, after work, all weekend, before work and even during your lunch breaks.
Fast forward ten years and you may (or may not) have 2 kids, married your fantastic girlfriend, still some adventure gear left over, a couple of bikes that have been your trusted go to for a long time, all your fishing gear thankfully but the rally car is long gone. You're now locked into a busy family schedule. Your days of adventure (as you knew them) are now long gone. Right? Not necessarily.....
Now any adventure junkie has-been parent knows exactly how restricting kids can feel at times, especially while they are young. But all is not lost of your adventure days, it's just changed a whole lot. For the better!
From easy bush walks, rides around the local cycling path and playing in sand dunes, the adventure can feel to us to be something we'd consider to be a recovery tool from an over indulgent night out. But to our kids, 10 meters of that bush path is an explosion of new things, a journey so far out of their normal realms that we often take it for granted of what we are really doing and why we ever do it. How often have you passed that stream and sped over that bridge but never actually seen the crystal clear, pristine water below full of life?
Sadly The introduction of things like strava have driven us to forget about soaking in the view, taking the time to look around and not turn everything into a race. This is where I found taking time to take my kids outdoors has lead me to realise that we are continually rushing them to hurry and go fast. Why? All we are doing is ruining their enjoyment at the cost of their poor little legs and all for what? The moment we accept in taking them out we need to accept it's on their terms. We WILL pick up this stick and we WILL help them up the impossible hill that really isn't there or, mark my words, there will be tears! And lots of them.
One of the best investments we ever made to enjoy the outdoors was the purchase (and construction) of two things. A good quality kid carrying back-pack for the larger walks and a small plywood made seat which mounted on the top tube of my bike.
The small seat was fantastic while my son was young and wasn't quite at the 1km plus club, it allowed Mum some alone time, me some cycling time and also a great spectacle for others. The seat allows your child to sit between you and the handle bars, giving them some real life experience of riding a bike too. It also allows you to ride placid trails very similar to how you would, albeit slower and continually seated. Not like some segment chasing moron who will stop at nothing to achieve a bullshit digital gold medal.
With the back-pack, I often found myself in summer loading up with "supplies" (with an extra pack or two of tiny teddies for Dad) and setting off on a small hike. The continual taps and tugs on your ears are quite enjoyable and it gives you a whole new bonding style with your dearest.
As my son got older, one of our frequent weekend afternoon activities was to grab a couple of spades, a favorite stick and some clippers and head out to the local MTB park and do a little trail karma. Not only does he enjoy it but it taught both of us a few life lessons more so for myself with trail builder criticism turned trail builder appreciation.
So slow down, don't take your kids on an "easy" 8km mountain bike loop or casual 200m mountain climb as to them, it is a marathon 12hr effort and let them enjoy the world for what they see. As brilliant as encouragement is for kids, over doing it can be one big giant buzz killer.
And remember, adventure comes in many, many forms and not all of them involve Adrenalin..