Monday, February 3, 2014

Adventure Chat with Kids - Dream Adventure

Quite often I follow adventures, expeditions, and personal journeys that are happening all around the world.  I have followed fellow Canadian (and Vancouver Islanders) Colin and Julie Angus row across the Atlantic Ocean and thru a couple of hurricanes. Then they cycled and rowed from Scotland to Syria. Hardly surprised. (They are the ones who have inspired me to write and adventure with passion)  A few years back I felt as though I was on board Austrialian Jessica Watson's sailboat as she became the youngest to sail solo and unassisted around the world. That was unbelievable! I rowed, in spirit, alongside Roz Savage on all three of her ocean rows, making her the first female to do so.  Then there is Swiss's Sarah Marquis and British Alastair Humphreys and their amazing expeditions that have taken them to some spectacular places in the world doing some pretty remarkable things.  Regularly, I read blog posts or sections of books written by many of the above mentioned names to my children.  They make for a great bedtime story! 

As I write this blog post from my desk on Vancouver Island, an adventure a world away is nearing completion.  Two remarkable adventurers are days away from finishing what Captain Robert Falcon Scott's iconic Terra Nova Expedition could not complete in 1912.  British adventurers Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere from the Scott Expedition will complete the 1,800-mile return journey to the South Pole on foot in about 105 days, give or take a few.  Every morning, I eagerly anticipate reading the daily blog post to hear what Ben and Tarka have endured.  This has been one of the most grueling adventures I have followed and Ben's writing is so detailed and expressive, I too feel the hunger pains, the wind howling and know a bit more of what being "in the hurt box" is all about.  Ben and Liv ask every morning where Ben and Tarka are now.  I quickly update them as we navigate through the weekday morning routine.  Prepping school lunches, eating breakfast, gathering paperwork, forgetting garbage day (again), reminders of brushing teeth, gather library books, and feeding the dog in 45 minutes is easily as grueling as life on Antarctica, right?   

It is because of all these adventures that I dream of our very own expedition, or what Alastair Humphreys would call it, a micro-expedition.  My family and I are ready for one and plans are in the works to make the dream a reality. Then I got thinking, which is scary.  What would Ben and Liv's dream adventure look like? They are now involved with planning, researching, and even picking our family adventures. What have they learned from the numerous adventure films watched or book/blogs read?  Time to find out.

My little adventurers, Liv and Ben

Here's the deal kiddos, you each get to tell me what your dream adventure would look like. Is it mountain tops or the ocean's bottom? Are you pushing your limits or are you exploring new territory? Repeating an adventure or becoming the first to do so?  Skies the limit!  This is your dream. Ready?

Ben: Holy crud!

I take that as a yes! Let's start with how long your adventure will be.

Ben: 1 year.
Liv: Mine is going to be in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December.

So a year?

Liv: No, January, Feb -

OK, I got it. Thank you. (Smile) Can't wait to hear where you are going. Liv, want to go first?

Liv: OK, I am going to go back to Yangshuo, China.
Ben: I am totally going to the African Savannah.

Nice! Anyone going with you or are you going to adventure solo?

Ben: I am going with my best friend, Robi.
Liv: I am going with my friend Hailey and my whole family! That means grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins too!

Oh good, I get to be a part of your dream adventure. Every adventure we read about and follow seem to have a purpose. Some are obvious, others are not. Do your adventures have a purpose?

Liv: I am going to have fun and learn lots. I think we will research and help with pandas.
Ben: Oh yeah, researching animals is what we are doing. Elephants, cheetahs, and birds.

You and Robi are totally going to be the Kratts brothers. (Laughter) (Martin and Chris Kratt are two American Brothers who have made a career out of researching animals and nature thru children's programs. Currently they have an animated show called Wild Kratts that Ben and Robi love!)

Ben: Yes!

Of course. So what does researching involve?

Ben: I am going to follow the elephants and cheetahs. Watch where they go each season and track their migration. For the birds, I will research what they eat. I want to know the different types of food they can find.
Liv: I want to help pandas and learn more about them.

Cool. (At this point in the conversation, I realized my kids have a deep connection to animals. I did not expect their dream adventures to be so heavily centered around education and focused on wildlife. I expected it to be all about biking, hiking, skiing...that sort of thing.) 

So, with every dream adventure there are a few logistical matters that need to be dealt with. How are you each getting from Canada to your dream destinations of choice? Remember, this is a dream adventure so anything goes. You each have water and land to cross.

Ben: I am going to fly in a float plane and bring my bike. Fly over water and ride on land.
Liv: I will take a ferry, hike, bike, and rock climb over mountains that are in the way.

Awesome! I can see you both doing that! Now, how are you going to pay for this dream adventure because I am not going to. Well, not all of it. (wink)

Liv: I am saving my birthday money.
Ben: Robi and I are selling our loom bracelets this summer (the newest trend to hit the schoolyard), get a paper route and save my birthday money.

Sounds like you have been planning these dream adventures for awhile now. Where or what are you going to live in?

Ben: A tent.  We will be moving a lot.
Liv: Hostels, houses of new friends I make or a shed.

The shed Liv is referring to in Yangshuo, China.  Should be no problem fitting about 25-30 people in that!

A shed? I suppose that would be possible in Yangshuo. I would focus on making friends quickly though.  You could even visit the friends we made there a few months back. I'm sure they would welcome you back into their homes...or shed.  Every adventurer documents their journeys and shares their experiences. Today the norm seems to be share the journey while it is happening, like Ben and Tarka (Scott Expedition) are doing right now and after with books, films, and speaking opportunities. How are you going to document and share your dream adventure?

Liv: Write a book about my adventure. Can I call it Pandas?


Ben: I will take videos the whole time and enter a film in the Banff Mountain Film Festival.

WOW! I am blown away with your dream adventures! They are so much more than what I expected! I hope one day you both will get to live your dreams.  Let's go tell Dad.  He is going to love hearing about these adventures.

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