Mother of All Bucket Lists: Tanya Koob

Seeing as many of my interviews for The Adventures in Parenthood Project need to be done via Skype, I was happy to make the trek to meet Tanya Koob of  Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies at her home in Calgary. It ended up being a drive through torrential rain and hail, but it was well worth the effort and the soaking wet Birkenstocks to meet face-to-face.

Hiking with her favourite partner in Jasper, Alberta. Photo by Mark Koob.

Tanya, a full-time mom, part-time office administrator and budding writer, found her love for hiking after university in the mountains of South Korea, where she was teaching English. Upon returning to Canada, her love for outdoor adventure grew alongside a new love in her life, her (now husband) Mark, who also enjoyed hiking and scrambling. Over the years they began to tackle bigger objectives and Tanya developed a fairly extensive (and impressive) bucket list of trails, treks and peaks she wanted to “tag” prior to settling down and starting a family. After trekking to Everest Base Camp and climbing to the 20,305-foot summit of Island Peak in Nepal, their ‘must do’ list was complete and it was time to tick off perhaps the biggest life-changing item on the bucket list: a baby.

A few years later, this adventurous couple had their son, Noah, now a three-and-a-half-year-old. Tanya was determined to continue adventuring as a family. Having no real examples of adventurous parents in her own life, Tanya started Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies, where she is “chronicling the joys and challenges of taking kids hiking, camping, backpacking, skiing and all-out exploring in the Canadian Rockies.”

Mountain kisses in the Yoho Valley. Photo by Mark Koob.

She is now entering the toddler years with Noah, and in our interview reflected on the changes that are coming as her son grows in size (no more carrying him!). To make all the outdoor magic happen, Tanya says she and her husband, who works full-time as a computer engineer, take time to set apart calendar days for family trips, adventures for each individual parent and getaways as a couple.

Tanya left me with one of her biggest tips for new parents, who want to bring their kids along on outdoor excursions:

“Bring friends. They’ll be an amazing support for the adults. It’s great to have them along to commiserate with [Tanya had just told me a few stories of adventures gone haywire] and bond with so you don’t feel alone out there. And then for the kids…they have so much more fun…. If their friend keeps going, they will keep going.” 

Thanks, Tanya! 

Do you find that bringing friends along on outdoor adventures makes it easier?

What bucket list items do you still have to tick off before you think about starting a family?

I’m eager for your thoughts and comments below!

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4 responses to “Mother of All Bucket Lists: Tanya Koob

  1. No doubt about it. That’s a good tip about friends. Spending time with our friends already comes at a premium, but on a hike or camping trip or whatever, we find that the little chillins take on a momentum of their own. And we get to hang with our friends, catch up, share battle stories. It’s a good vibe.

    • You bring up a good point, Mark, about how planning these excursions with friends allows the parents to catch up, too! “Share battle stories”…I love it.

  2. Camping with a baby or toddler seems intimidating. But while it requires a bit more work and preparation, the rewards are also great. Camping is learning experience for both baby and parents! Knowing how to keep your baby or toddler comfortable throughout the trip will make the experience a good one for the entire family.^

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    • I know I feel a bit intimidated by it, Adeline! I’m wondering where is best to go, what sleeping arrangement we can have, etc., but my husband and I are excited about giving it a good shot.

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