|Exploring a new beach in Maine|
“Mommy,” one of the twins asked, “why do we go some place different every summer?”
I guessed, rightly, that she was referring to her friends who go to the same place each year for vacation. Growing up, my family did the same. My family took only day trips. We went to the beautiful, sandy New Jersey beach or the rugged, forested Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. It was familiar, comfortable, and fun. We had great times, wonderful memories, but somehow I needed more.
I couldn't stop thinking, was this all there was?
Does the Atlantic Ocean look different in another state or another country? What's the coast or beach like? What about the mountains? I was always curious about geology. What are the Rocky Mountains like in the summertime? Can you really see forever in Montana? And what in the world is an aurora borealis?
What lay on the other side of the country? What does the Pacific Ocean look like in California, in Washington state, in British Columbia, Canada? Is the desert really painted with autumn colors? Do the great lakes really look like oceans, vast with waves and currents? Can islands sometimes be in lakes or rivers? What about waterfalls and forests? Fresh water and salt water? Giant tides and giant trees?
I wanted experiences, not just information and pictures about these places. I wanted adventures.
I need to go camping with kids—my kids, my family--to discover the answers to some of these questions together. To help make my children become as curious about the world around them as I am. To discover how landscapes change in different regions or what the locals do for fun.
I think parents are responsible for their children's education. What better way to educate them than to go exploring together through family camping. Not all who wander are lost. Some, like me, are just curious.
I glanced back at my daughter, her eyes bright, expectant, waiting for my answer to her question. It had to be good, I thought to myself.
"Well," I began as I tried to make sense of all my thoughts. "I think it's important to
experience the world firsthand whenever possible."
Now it was my turn to wait. How'd I do? Two minutes. Three minutes. She's thinking. I can see her brows crinkle.
She finally shrugged her slender shoulders. "Oh," she said. And then she went out to play with her friends.
And I began to breathe again. What do you think? How'd I do?