True adventures…

skydiving mission beach

I think there must be an optimum time in your life for true adventures, you can’t be too young but you can’t be too old. Depending on your definition of the word ‘adventure’, I feel there has to be an element of risk, of danger and the unknown.

As a parent, you are never going to want to see your child go off on a true adventure. I remember my sister cashing in her life’s savings at the tender age of about 25 and heading off to Katmandu for the start of a year travelling alone around Asia and Australia. I think I may have been studying the third year of my degree in Texas at the time, so I only have vague memories of how my parents felt about this, but I do remember a very tense time when she wasn’t contactable and a British girl had been abducted and murdered by a thai monk near to her last known location. That was a scary one.

My sister’s eldest daughter is now 15 and she’s recently become part of a band and been allowed to travel on her own by tube from South to North London. My sister has definitely felt the full force of parental anxiety over this mini-adventure, particularly when my niece, bless her, didn’t call or answer her phone to confirm that she was still in one piece!

Which leads me on to the question of “will it be different with boys?”. I always used to think that it would, that there would be some in-built protection mechanism, be it physical strength or just a less vulnerable presence in the world, but boys are vulnerable in different ways and the world is full of danger no matter the gender.

Speaking personally I have always shied away from true adventure, preferring to take on the world, buckled up in a harness with a safety net there to catch me if I fall! I guess if I really go to the self analysis I have to admit that I am a risk-minimiser, I am “risk-averse”! My mum said the day she heard I’d jumped out of an aeroplane at 14,000 feet she never would have believed it, but even then I was jumping tandem with an experienced instructor who knew what he was doing – it didn’t even end in a graceless tumble, just a cloud walk onto the terra firma of Mission Beach.

I tend to be an over-thinker and I guess this is the wrong state of mind for an adventurer – after all youcan’t plan for the unknown. Canoing down the Amazon is all well and good but what about the searing heat, the biting insects, dangerous river creatures lurking just below the surface? There have been times in my life when I have definitely toyed with the idea of taking an adventure – going off to teach English in Japan, joining in with the voluteer project helping the endangered turtles of Costa Rica… But each time I have analysed the negatives and freaked myself out!

Now I have a family and once my children are grown I will be approaching retirement so those experiences may well have passed me by for good.  But can you look back on a life without a true adventure and not regret it? Or feel like there is enough colour there to entertain you in your twilight years?

I guess its true to say that we’re not all cut out for the backpacking lifestyle – and maybe even a mini-adventure with a safety net is better than none at all.

For the time being I look forward to the little adventures that await my children – scout camps, their first time away without mum and dad, first time on an aeroplane, trying exotic food or even venturing across a big city on their own. I want to encourage an adventurous spirit and not wrap them up in cotton wool. As someone who is risk averse I think this may be something I have to work on!

Linking up with this week’s Theme Game over at The Reading Residence and Red Peffer – this week’s theme being ‘adventures’.


The Reading Residence

10 thoughts on “True adventures…

  1. I think it’s great that you recognise the areas you need to work on Sam, and have decided not to try and wrap the boys up in cotton wool. Self reflection is a brave thing.

    Good on your sister for letting your niece have some freedom, but I can imagine she was in panic mode to have not even got a text to say she got there ok! Hope she remembers to check in in the future.

    As long as you feel happy with the adventures you’ve had then that’s all that matters. I look back on a lot of the risks I’ve taken over the years and shudder at the danger I put myself in. I realise I had a fair few near misses! Really hope my kids end up being a tad more risk averse than I was…

    • I know I’ve done things that were dangerous too (ie being a very drunk young lady on her way back from Central London and accepting a lift from a ‘taxi driver’ even though I didn’t have any money. Funnily enough he did actually turn out to be a taxi driver and took me straight home accepting a token pound!) When I was writing this though, I wanted to refresh my memory about what happened with that British girl in Thailand and essentially the ‘monk’ was an ex-con who had done two years for rape – he was going around raping lone female tourists left right and centre. The girl was a 23 year old Brit who had just qualified as a lawyer. She wrote in her last diary entry about finishing off her day by visiting a cave that Buddhist Monks liked to chant and meditate in and it really is a case of there but for the grace of god. go I (or my sister!)…

  2. You’re so right in saying that adventures feel different from a parenting perspective. I want my kids to lead fun and full lives, but safely! I’m not at all the backpacking type – I’ll see the world, but only with pre-booked flights and top hotels! But then, I’m often itching for something new, which may only be small, but an adventure all the same, I think? Maybe my kids will just go for those, but so far, they’re both very adventuresome and little daredevils, so we’ll see! Thanks for sharing with #TheThemeGame x

    • Its true – pretty much everything is an adventure to little children and its a privelege to have that door opened into their little exciting world! I think that we do whatever we do in a quest for happiness at the end of the day – not necessarily adventure…

  3. I’m very risk averse, and so are my children somewhat unsurprisingly! But adventures are relative to each person and it’s all about pushing your own boundaries ultimately, whatever those may be. Great post. #TheThemeGame

  4. In my mind adventures are all about trying something new, maybe shifting the boundaries of your comfort zone just a little but definitely expanding the way you see the world. So I guess what makes an adventure is different for everyone – though of course with little people almost everything’s new, so we don’t have to go all that far to find things they will find incredible… I do love to travel though – there are a few risky places I’ve crossed off my bucket list now Arthur’s here but there are still so many places in the world I’d like to see!

    • I haven’t been to many risky places – my one experience of Asia has been Singapore which, lets face it, is the least Asian Asian country out there! When you find yourself shopping at Marks and Spencer (albeit air conditioned!) you know you’re in the safety net. I hope I get the chance to travel some more when my kids are older. For now, their little homespun adventures are a joy to watch really 🙂

  5. Really interesting post Sam and I have had some adventures in my time, but I also like a bit of a safety net so a lot of my backpacking days was spent on tours with groups of people! I do wonder what it will be like when the kiddies grow up and especially as the mum of a boy (and one yet yo be revealed to us), as you do tend to think of boys as being in less danger than girls, though I doubt that would mean you worried less as a mum! Fab post! xx #thethemegame

    • Thanks Caroline – I still wish I’d had a few more adventures around the world (even with a safety net!). I did similar in 2005 when I decided to visit Australia on my own but I booked up for Trek Australia where they did all the logistics for you, hooked you up with other people and transported you everywhere you needed to go! It was only five weeks but fun and that’s when I did my parachute jump. Yes, I think we will always worry about our little boys! X

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