If there’s a three-word phrase I’ve heard as much as “Just you wait…” as a new parent it would be “Enjoy it because….”. Both phrases are meant to inspire me to appreciate what I have in the here and now. But, I have to say, they both make my skin crawl. As if parenting wasn’t challenging enough, people have to constantly remind me of how much harder it’s going to get. Or that there is something worth dreading on the journey ahead.
I just spent the week at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, the annual gathering of adventurers, adrenaline junkies, mountain artists and authors up at The Banff Centre. Being a new parent, I entered this year’s festival with a very different outlook on what it means to lead an adventurous lifestyle. As I listened to people’s stories of epic climbs and expeditions, I was curious to know how these “real deal” adventurers felt about parenthood. Did they want to have children? Had they chosen not to? If they did have children, how were they be able to balance life as a mother or father with their adventurous pursuits?
How does a life of adventure without kids compare to a life of adventure with kids?
Wikipedia tells me that our feet and ankle structure contains 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than a hundred muscles, tendons and ligaments. Each of these tiny parts bears not only my weight but often the pack on my back, and they are called to manouevre over uneven, often accident-prone terrain. Yet, all things considered, very little has happened to them and they continue to take me faithfully wherever I’d like to go.
As we enter parenthood it has been a regular part of our conversation to plan a trip internationally before our baby reaches his or her first birthday. We feel that the best way for us to learn how to keep doing the things we love is to keep doing them. I am also a firm believer that children, no matter their age, benefit from being exposed to different cultures and environments, even if it is only on a visceral level when they are so tiny. But, I can’t tell you how many times in the last half year I have heard someone tell me or suggest that we can put our travel ambitions aside once the baby arrives.