The world ain’t scary: 9 questions for a travel columnist, avid adventurer, and father of five
I was recently interviewed by Almost Fearless about traveling with family. This is what I said:
1. Has adventure travel always been a part of your life?
No. Although I traveled the nation as a boy with my parents and to Brazil in my early twenties, I forgot how to travel while seeking fortune and fame for most of my twenties. For the first several years of my marriage, my wife and I mostly stayed at home.
2. How did you make the leap? How do you make traveling possible for your family?
My wife and I decided on a whim to see what all the fuss was about regarding Southern Utah—specifically Moab and Arches National Park. While there, we enjoyed hiking and reconnecting with nature. But more than that, I was surprised by the number of foreigners and Europeans who had traveled thousands of miles to get to a place that only took us three hours to drive to. One Danish man even scolded us, saying he had made the trip to Moab three times. and that we should appreciate what we had. Ever since then, my wife and I took his advice to heart, traveling several times a year to Western national parks and other points of interest both domestic and abroad. As a couple, we take our family on half of our trips, including an 12 day cruise to the Mediterranean this summer. We make it a priority by saving and spending on travel rather than second cars, a really big home, eating out all of the time, and paying for cable TV.
3. If you could go back in time and give yourself a few hints what would they be?
While I don’t have any regrets, I would encourage my early twenty-something self that he would work better, smarter, and be more productive if he took in the outdoors and rubbed elbows more with cultures that did things in different ways.
4. How has traveling changed you and your family?
It’s blessed us all with more confidence and has taught us that 24 hour news is myopically focused on the negative and fear-mongering. The world is a much safer and wonderful place than most of us give it credit for. It’s also more beautiful than I originally thought. I can think of many experiences, both close to home and afar. The most unexpected trip we enjoyed was to the Black Hills (including Rushmore, Custer, and Badlands). In the middle of nowhere, it’s absolutely beautiful. I also have fond memories of my first trip to Africa with my wife, biking Europe with my 11 year old daughter, and taking the whole family to Crater Lake and Redwoods National Park.
5. What do the kids think?
Truth be told, they already appreciate that it’s mostly the journey and not necessarily the destination. One year after they had been to some truly incredible places, I asked them what they’re favorite trip was. “The fancy pools in Las Vegas,” was the unanimous reply.
6. How have your experiences changed your thinking about parenting or raising kids?
After learning that the world isn’t as scary as the news and society often misjudge them for, you’re more willing as parents to be free-range, trusting, and independent in what you let your children do on their own. I’ll give you a simple example. We let our children (even our five year old) bike to school. At first our neighbors were shocked if not judgmental. Now, nearly a dozen kids follow our kids good lead. Good behavior is infectious, and travel indirectly teaches us good behavior, faith in humanity, and unity.
7. What’s the hardest thing about traveling with family?
Tablets downloaded with lots of movies do wonders for kids on long-haul flights. We take those same tablets away while on the ground so we and our children can better appreciate the world around us. Still long haul flights can be tough (but totally worth it).
8. How is this different (if it is) from how you were raised?
My parents took me on many trips around the nation as a boy. They’re thrilled and supportive of our globe trotting lifestyle and have even followed us on a couple of adventures.
9. What do you think the future looks like for the next generation? How do you think your kid(s) will parent?
I hope they continue to value experiences over things and see and take me to places that I never considered. One of the greatest things about being a parent is having your kids teach you new things that you were never interested in before. I’m so grateful to have been blessed with children and a loving wife that I can travel with, learn from, and share experiences and ideas with.
Thanks for reading.