The Project

The Adventures in Parenthood Project explores the transition of outdoor adventurers to family life.

What inspired this project?

Living in the Canadian Rockies, where outdoor enthusiasts abound, I often find myself at the centre of discussions about mountain culture, freedom-filled lifestyles, outdoor passions, and how having a family fits into the equation. Many outdoor enthusiasts struggle to brave the changes that would result from starting a family, fearing it would negatively affect the adventurous lifestyle. As my conversations have revealed, many don’t know where to turn in search of answers or perspectives.

I was one such person, and so was my husband, Paul. We are both very passionate about the outdoors and adventure travel. Together we have hiked hundreds of kilometres of backcountry trails, climbed throughout the Canadian Rockies, and ski toured in the Arctic. Our combined travels have taken us to numerous destinations, including Norway, Chile, Iceland, the Caribbean, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, New Zealand and Nepal. Outdoor adventure is not only integral to our lifestyle; it is essential to our careers. And as a mountain landscape and adventure photographer and an outdoor, travel and adventure writer, we had genuine fears over what would happen to our careers and passions if we introduced of a child to the mix. What would we have to give up? Would it be the end of adventure?

That's me in the pink coming down from the summit of Mt. Sir Douglas. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

That’s me in the pink coming down from the summit of Mt. Sir Douglas. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Roots and Wings

My exploration into this topic dates back to at least 2010, when I wrote an article for Highline Magazine titled The Land of Why? Quest for Adventure, Family – Style. This article featured filmmaker Leanne Allison; her husband, Karsten Heuer; and their adventure across Canada with their son, Zev (the basis for their film, Finding Farley, which won both Grand Prize and People’s Choice Awards at the 2009 Banff Mountain Film Festival). I was fascinated to discover what Leanne learned about adventuring with a two-year-old, and knew there was much more to explore on the topic.

A few years later, “the kid question” had surfaced enough times to convince me to do something about it. Thus, The Adventures in Parenthood Project was born in May 2012. By having a website, I could bring my research to others, and together we could learn about the transition to parenthood as outdoor adventurers. Soon thereafter, my husband and I decided it was time to start a family (find out how we decided here). Our daughter, Mistaya Joy, was born on March 22, 2013, and a new life of adventure began. On this website, you’ll find articles about life leading up to her birth, the transition to parenthood, and how we have been able to pursue outdoor adventures with a baby in tow.

Family photo at Skoki Lodge when Maya was 6 months old. Photo by Paul Zizka.

Family photo at Skoki Lodge when Maya was 6 months old. Photo by Paul Zizka.

Learning from the community…

You won’t just be hearing from me on this website. My intention with The Adventures in Parenthood Project is to provide readers with perspectives from a spectrum of adventurers – from professional risk-takers to the people who quietly go about their outdoor activities. You’ll find these perspectives in a series of interviews. Thanks to all the people partnered with me already, and who spent the time talking with me about their own transitions to parenthood.

Back in summer 2012, I also conducted a survey (now closed), to gather additional data from outdoor loving folks (parents and non-parents). Over 440 people filled out the survey. This research will eventually trickle into the project, and the information will be made available to the public.

With the support of…

I am incredibly appreciative of the companies and organizations that have reached out to help me with this project. These Sponsors have provided me with outdoor gear (to test and review), the best darn maternity clothes on the planet (I tip my hat to Mountain Mama), access to their online communities, opportunities to guest post, and more.  Thank you!

Paul and Maya share a moment at Boulder Pass, Banff National Park. Photo by Meghan J. Ward.

Paul and Maya share a moment at Boulder Pass, Banff National Park. Photo by Meghan J. Ward.

How can you participate?

  • Interested in staying up-to-date on the project? Sign up for the Newsletter.
  • Want to be notified by email when I post something new on the website? Sign up for email notifications in the right-hand sidebar on any blog post.
  • Would you like to sponsor or partner with the project? Please contact me. 
  • Join my online communities: