Three years ago, I decided that I would have a “summer of adventure” and be a tourist in my own state. I happen to live in Utah and have for almost 40 years and yet I had never been to one of the five national parks in our state. Or, frankly, a lot of other places in the state and I wanted to change that.
I invited all the people living at home but really only had three takers: my husband, the three-year-old and the 14-year old. No worries. It wasn’t about planning the perfect get-away but figuring out different day trips we could take and having fun.
On the first or second excursion, the three-year-old vomited all over herself, her carseat and the car and we learned the value of packing a change of clothes and wipes. One spontaneous stop turned into a couple of hours of scrambling over rocks to see petroglyphs – in my flip-flops. I learned the value of keeping an extra pair of tennis shoes and a hiking stick in the back of the car.
I tried to have an adventure every day but learned the value of having time for the normal parts of life, like doing laundry. We added adventure into our normal trips. Research in Moab? Great time to do my first hike ever to Delicate Arch. (I learned the value of hats and water-carrying backpacks on that trip.) It was fun. We saw a lot of the state we had not seen before, even though we only got to one national park.
This year, the teenager – now 17-years-old – asked me if we could do a #summerofadventure again. Yes, darling. Yes, we can.
Some things we will keep the same: a mix of spontaneous and planned and a mix of our favorite spots and new places to discover. No expectations except to enjoy the journey. We’ll do things a little differently, too. We will aim for 2 or 3 adventures a week instead of every day. We will keep the back of the car packed with hats, walking sticks, water, trail mix, granola bars, sunscreen, and toilet paper. (You just never know….) My daughter needs to plan some of the trips. We might stay overnight occasionally.
If you see us wandering this summer, we’re (probably) not lost. Come say hi and maybe we’ll explore together for a little while.