Martha has been adventuring in the outdoors since she was 12 and spent many weekends backpacking, climbing, and skiing. Never finding herself doing anything short – she thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and John Muir Trail, preferred multi-pitch all-day climbs, overnight backcountry ski tours, climbed mountains like Mt Shasta and Mt Kenya, and did a 6-month trip around the world – and then found a partner who also loved all those things. They wanted to have kids, but also to figure out how to keep doing all those things with kids while also both working. When they had their first kid in 2009 they started trying to figure out how to keep adventuring. There weren’t many resources online back then and some people suggested maybe their adventures were over. Through the years they have found ways to make adventures happen with their two children, currently 9 and 11. Martha worked in manufacturing since finishing grad school and really loves operations, optimization, and continuous improvement. She put her skills to use to create OutdoorKidHandbook as a resource to help parents simplify the process of getting their families out on adventures frequently. On that site I also collate information and resources – lists of Facebook groups by area and topic, list of bike tours by location, and more – to create a single location for information on different outdoor sports. Martha, I am so excited to dive deeper into your story and the resources you are compiling.
- Sometimes inspiration for adventure come decades before we are ready. Don’t overlook that pull or give up on an adventure dream.
- Partners can have complementary but different adventure skillsets.
- Teaching the kids also enhances your own skills, or encourages you to take the next step.
- Your adventure story might evolve and change over time. Kids like what they like. Do what works for your family and adjust.
- Hiking and camping are great gateway adventures and starting points with kids.
- Lean into your kids adventure passions. You can leave the thing behind or adapt as your story evolves
- Outdoor Kid Handbook is designed for other others to contribute and support families while crowdsourcing outdoor adventure resources. Consider contributing to wiki.outdoorkidhandbook.com/
- Don’t focus on the gear. It doesn’t matter and is far less important than the doing.
- A tip for prioritizing outdoor activities for Martha was to optimize everything to get out the door ASAP, which means don’t bring so much gear. In interviewing other adventure parents the themes that helped them adventure often were: A) Proximity, or being near their adventure landscape; B) One parent doesn’t work or has flexible work schedule to help get things ready to go; C) Offer less choices and most weekend the focus is on the adventure options.
- Embrace the discomfort. Whether it be smaller sleeping arrangements or forgetting your shoes. Some of the biggest mistakes or things that didn’t go according to plan make some of the best memories.
Check out the wiki and share your insights, tips and strategies to help other parents do outdoor activities with kids.