Have you and your family reaped the rewards of tapping into our adventurous heritage? From Sir Walter Raleigh to Ellen MacArthur, our national history is littered with individuals who discovered what they were made of whilst pushing back frontiers and exploring the best of our planet.
For your family, adventure and discovery are now more possible than ever. They offer you and your children more than just exciting stories and photos to show on social media – they offer the revelation of what you intrinsically value as a family and who you really are as individuals. Sharing an adventure as a parent with your child, or as a whole family, enables you to discover new things about everyone. The time on the trip will give space to share, listen, laugh, get cross and be quiet together in ways you will not have experienced before; something that the new environment and new experience encourage. They hold up a mirror which – I can promise! – will show you to be stronger, more connected and better able to enjoy each other than you realise. Such knowledge enables both you and your children to face the challenges life sends our way with grit, determination and an adventurous spirit.
As a family, I’m sure you deserve a well-earned rest; a relaxing holiday. But modern styles of holiday seldom give the quality time together that families need, nor do they prepare your children for the years to come. Adventure style challenges like Duke of Edinburgh are excellent, but they are not designed to give your children deep connections to their parents and siblings, family roots and identity. These are the connections which in the years to come you will increasingly wish you could find ways to encourage, connections which once children have left home become increasingly difficult to establish.
Paula Goude from RockRiver Expeditions writes: “I grew up in a family where we camped every summer, went on long walks together and explored the countryside regularly. At the time I’m sure I asked why we couldn’t just go to a beach in a hot country for our holiday, and I didn’t always appreciate what we had, but looking back I have really fond memories of those trips. It was time with just the four of us, relaxing, talking, exploring together, and generally being silly. Children get to 16 or 18 years old so quickly and start to do their own thing – you can never get that time back – so make it memorable.” A Cliche, but it is true. You only get 18 summers together when they are children, make the most of them.
So, why not go on an adventure together! Have an intentional time of joining together with your children to explore new pastures of the world and of your family soul. Jim, a friend of mine, inspired me when he walked Snowdon with his 11-year-old son as an intentional adventure. Then, when his son Conner reached 16, they went further and embraced the adventure of the open road in the USA. Jim explains: “Driving across the plains of America in 112 degree heat might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s exactly what my son and I found ourselves doing on the road trip of a lifetime. It was an amazing experience. Setting off from Chicago we had 10 days to deliver our car in LA, following the historical Route 66. 10 days with just the two of us .. 10 solid days with only each other as company. I have to confess, there were parts of that that filled me with dread… However, what we experienced was 10 days of joking, singing, sharing incredible sights, eating downright stodgy food, enjoying the vistas of an awesome open road, and making up our ‘Road Rules’ for the journey as we went along. In amongst all of that, there were times of silence too, as the two of us picked our way from state to state. Connor made a great co-driver, map reader, and travelling companion. It was a unique experience, but above all, a precious 10 days, that we will both remember for the rest of our lives.”
Inspired by Jim and Conner last summer, as my eldest approached the transition from primary to secondary school, I wanted him to see that he had the resources and strength of character to thrive in his new environment. It was time for our father and son adventure! The Yorkshire Three Peaks were to be the venue, exploring these classic English summits and valleys as well as our own characters. I was hoping that conquering the three highest summits in Yorkshire would help him see his character and that he has all the assets needed to cross over from primary school to secondary school . We knew it would be a challenge. The 24-mile route, which includes around 1600 meters of ascent and descent, would push many adults to their limits! Undertaking this adventure together developed so much depth in our father / son relationship, a technology-free three days that enabled us to connect with each other and the natural world in ways we’d never done before.
We stood, exhausted, on the top of the first summit and he would discover he had the fortitude needed to reach next two summits. Caleb was exposed to himself, to his inner strength.
An inner strength which during his first year at secondary school we have been able to point him back to, an achievement and anchor that encourage him to see that he can keep going when everything seems to be an uphill struggle and he can’t see the precipice.
So now you know that you want to go on a family adventure, where do you start? Maybe you want to hike but you can’t read a map? Maybe you want to go rock climbing or wild camping but you don’t have the kit? There are a plethora of adventure guides available, to buy, borrow and download. There are experts to help and advise… Family adventure experts RockRiver Expeditions say “We can put together a day, weekend or multiday Adventure for you and your family. We will talk with you and discuss what you’d like to do, your levels of experience and your children’s ages, and make recommendations as to what you could do. We are able to lend you any technical kit you need and will provide qualified instructors. It doesn’t have to break the bank either. Our one day rock-climbing workshop, for instance, starts at £60 per person. If you team up with another family or your extended family we can often bring the overall price down. Just call or email us to discuss your options(https://www.rockriver.co.uk). We want to help you make your adventures happen.
To help my son connect with his wider family, we gathered around a table for a meal with the important men in his life after doing the Yorkshire Peaks. His granddads, uncles and close family friends listened as he told the tale of his adventure. For me, this meal cemented externally what the walk had done internally as he related his pain and joys. He listened as they told stories of the challenges they had been through in life and he was affirmed in his heritage. Family adventuring gives children the access to be knit into the adult world through shared experience and storytelling. It also helped remind me of who I am and where I come from, as a father!
So I dare you to plan an adventure for you and your children. Swapping the sun lounger to explore the new. Giving your child (and yourself) the gift of having to dig deep, and provide some space for you all to reflect. An adventure which gives you the quality time to help your children see what you and they are made of. An adventure which will help you all take the coming twelve months in your stride while making memories and connections with your children that will last a lifetime. Now that sounds like an adventure worthy of those national pioneers of old!
I have 20 years experience of working with families, helping parents raise children with the self-confidence and self-esteem to be a world changer is what I enjoy doing and turns out I am pretty good at.
I'm a dad of three ( all of whom can rap the first part of Ice Ice baby by Vanilla Ice), all three would say I am not a perfect dad but then who is… but I am a great at being me.