What is Adventure?
It’s funny – the word “adventure” has been coming up a lot recently. This week a tourism representative from an Eastern European country asked me how I define adventure. I responded that, for me, it’s traveling to new places that are a little bit outside of the mainstream, or finding the unexpected in places we’ve been before. But it took me a minute to come up with that definition, in my mind running through the trips that I’ve taken with my kids the past few years (and documented on this website) that most people would describe as adventurous: Easter Island with a 6-year-old; Palawan with an 8-year-old; Antarctica with an 8-year-old; and around the world in two weeks with a 10-year-old to name a few.
I also attended the Adventure Travel World Summit last month, which focused on, yes, adventurous destinations for hiking, biking, rafting and climbing, but also on destinations that allowed you to travel deeper, and go off the standard tourist trek. At the same time my sister called me for advice on taking her kids to Phoenix “for an adventure”. My immediate thought was that Phoenix isn’t adventurous, but I was wrong. It’s adventurous for them. That’s what matters.
So when Lonely Planet Kids, PLAE and Kammok came to me asking me to participate in their Share Stories, Give Adventure campaign, it was a perfect opportunity to bring adventure back home. After all, we didn’t have any travel planned. It would be up to me to create adventures for a week.
I started by asking my kids to define adventure. They all mentioned “outside”. They also said that an adventure would be one without electronic devices, and something that should be fun. They didn’t say anything about needing to go far away, so that was good, and they didn’t mention bungee jumping or skydiving – things that my wife wouldn’t have approved anyway.
So how did we create adventure at home?
Kammok sent us a couple of hammocks. The kids loved them! We didn’t have a lot of tree options, but we set them up and it was hard to get the kids out of them. My daughter grabbed a book as a prop when I asked if I could photograph her in the hammock. She started reading and…three hours later finished the book, without ever getting up. It’s her new favorite place. If you have mature trees approx. 15 feet apart, I highly recommend getting a hammock!
Parks and Playgrounds
We found a park with a playground only 15 minutes from our house that we hadn’t been to before. It was a standard playground, but new to the kids, so that made it much better, and there were some great trees to climb. It was a fun evening.
It’s too easy to be lazy in the afternoons after school, so we didn’t allow that to happen. For a week we went hiking every day on different trails near our house. The kids started each hike by complaining, but after a few minutes they forgot to be annoyed and they had fun running up ahead, climbing on rocks, jumping over logs, scrambling up hills and otherwise acting like kids. I took a camera a couple of the days for the campaign, but I left the camera at home for the other hikes. Adventure should be adventure, and not only when it’s documented or sponsored.
There’s a hill of sand on Pacific Coast Highway north of Malibu. We’ve driven past it dozens of times without stopping. This time we stopped. The kids absolutely loved climbing up to the top of the hill and then running down. It’s not only going to be a standard stop from now on, it’s going to be a destination.
We live in Southern California, and it’s a cliché to say it, but we don’t go to the beach very often. So we went. A teepee makes a great beach fort by the way.
When we travel we make a point of waking up early some days for the sunrise, but rarely do that at home. So we did. It’s amazingly peaceful early in the day!
Reading, Learning and Creativity
Lonely Planet Kids sent us several books. I had others that I coincidently had picked up from the Lonely Planet Kids booth at the Family Travel Show in London earlier this month. The kids grabbed them so that I could take photos, but then a funny thing happened – they lost themselves in the books. My son loves engineering so the How Cities Work book was a hit. My six-year-old has chosen Australia for her annual trip with me so she did research in The Travel Book about what we should do there. Boredom Buster and My Travel Journal are incredibly creative resources for car trips. And thanks to You Rule!, the kids have invented a new country, with a flag and laws and customs – Catlandia. They’ve spent hours discussing Catlandia. They sat in a hammock discussing Catlandia. It’s adventure…without leaving home.
How do you define Adventure? What do you do to encourage your kids to be adventurous at home, or close to home? I’d love more ideas.
What are you waiting for? Take your kids on an adventure!
Lonely Planet Kids, PLAE and Kammok sent us stuff to play with and asked me to write a post on Adventure. You’re reading it! Call it #sponsored if you want to, but really it was just fun.
Michele Peterson (@atastefortravel) says
I didn’t know Lonely Planet had kids books but will definitely keep a look out for them. It sounds as though there are lots of creative ideas inside that enrich a love of travel and world cultures, nature etc
Carrick | Along for the Trip says
What a fun week! We just returned from Hawai’i to visit the National Parks there – definitely an adventure! When we’re closer to home, we like to try new places to eat. Tulsa is having a bit of a renaissance downtown so it’s been fun trying new things and expanding everyone’s palettes. We also have the luxury of some great museums and a thriving music scene, so there is no shortage of things to do if you just pay attention and work them into the schedule. Great post!
Eric Stoen says
Thanks for the comment Carrick! I fully agree – head to Hawaii for some standard adventure but explore your hometown too. Sometimes people just need to be reminded of how much there is to do locally.
Melissa Conn says
I didn’t realize you live in Malibu! We’re just down in Westwood (until we jet off at the end of summer). I’d love to meet up sometime 🙂
Eric Stoen says
We live in Ventura County, but we’re on the coast a lot. Will let you know when we’re near Westwood.
Melissa Conn says
We just discovered Point Mugu SP when we were hunting wildflowers this spring and now it’s one of my favorite hikes!