Families — Parents — Kids

10 Questions for The Adventure-Traveling Moody Family from Utah

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cute mom and daughter having fun while camping

Publisher's Note: The first time I met Roger Moody, he was kicking around a paradisiacal grassy bluff with an arial view above the Provo River in Utah's Uinta Mountains.  It was a sunny June day and I was meeting him and his family for the first time at this far-off campsite, and we'd planned it all via the internet. For all I knew, he could have been an ax murderer with a goatee; but he called himself a history teacher.  I like these liberal arts types, so I gave this meeting a fair shake. He and his sweet-as-peach-pie wife, Hilary, were hanging around the camp with their two children - Alexander and Oliva (who was still just a sweet, scrawny suckling; Alexander, on the other hand, was ... um, not).  I pulled in, rolled down my window and said, "Moody?  The history teacher?"  He smiled big and offered up this gem: "Yep.  I got a bottle of Jameson over there if you want some."  Well, between that fine intro and his affinity for exploring ancient rock art sites and other cool historical haunts of Southern Utah, I knew we'd get along just fine.

Their adventure vehicle is a Lexus LX450 jazzed up with the usual suspension and armor bits, but most importantly a rubber chicken strapped to the front bull bar under their personalized plate, "ADVNTRE." I only wish we were closer neighbors to Roger and Hilary.  They're fun folk.  Here's a peek into the life of these "adventure parents."

- Mark Stephens, AdventureParents.com

So, tell me. What do your kids get from adventure travel?

"[our kids are] more inquisitive, more adventurous, more confident . . ."

Roger: I think they have a greater sense of the world around them. I am convinced that some very powerful learning takes place in the natural world, far beyond what I can explicitly teach them as a parent. Many people will comment on how both Alexander and Olivia are such well-mannered kids. I attribute that to being exposed to so many different people and environments-far removed from the clean, or otherwise ‘sterile’ and ‘safe’ environments parents are so adamant about creating for their children at and around the home. Kids need to experience success and failure, and live with consequences. The natural world is just such the place to have those sorts of experiences, despite what many think of as a dangerous place.

Hilary: Adventure travel has made them more inquisitive, more adventurous, more confident, and has helped them develop a love for nature and the great outdoors. As soon as it gets warm, Olivia, my almost-3-year-old is asking to go camping so she can sleep in a tent and sleeping bag.

What do you do during the week to get outside with your family?

lexus LX450 offroad adventure vehicleRoger: We often plant flowers, trim shrubs, trees, and the like as a family. I know it sounds cheesy, but I believe it is a good practice not only for the upkeep of the yard but to further connect with the natural world. They are able to understand how they can both help and destroy what is around them. Of course we hit the parks, throw the ball for the dogs, those sort of things. Picnics on the lawn are always fun.

Hilary: We work in the yard by watering flower pots, washing cars, kicking a ball around, and cleaning up dog poop. The latest project right now is setting up a nightmare of a swingset.

I know you like to keep a healthy diet for the halflings. What's on your snacks menu when you're traveling?

Roger: Fruit snacks, fruits such as apples and oranges, and of course the tubes of yogurt. Additionally, every kid likes chocolate (even big kids).

Hilary: Kashi crackers, apples, fruit leathers and of course some kind of treat such as fruit snacks or Girl Scout Cookies.

fun family campingCamping with young kids sounds like a catastrophe waiting to happen to parents who haven't done it before.  How do you guys make it work?

Roger: We try and keep it as consistent as possible, just as if we are home. We go through the same routine, such as brushing teeth, reading books, and even having mom or dad lie next to Zander or Olivia for a few minutes. I believe it helps the kids to become more comfortable in the outdoors because they know what to expect.

Hilary: Once it starts getting dark, I get the kid's teeth brushed, their warm clothing on including beanies, socks and thermals. Then we have to make up stories and sing songs before we can go to sleep, followed by a mom and kid snuggling session.

Be honest here cochise. You're lighting a campfire: kindling or lighter fluid?

Roger: A: Kindling. Final answer.

Hilary: Zander informed us that he wanted to make a huge fire and that he needed gas to make it that way. So...gas?

You live in Utah where God apparently had the most fun creating the sandstone canyons. So which National Park down there is your favorite?

Roger: Canyonlands is my favorite, but there are many close seconds.

Hilary: Bryce Canyon National Park

Quote that best describes your family and style of adventures?

Roger: "A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions." Oliver Wendell Holmes

Hilary: "It's not only children who grow.  Parents do too.  As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours.  I can't tell my children to reach for the sun.  All I can do is reach for it, myself."  Joyce Maynard

I know well the hellfire that will burn from the backseat should we forget our daughter's blanket when we head out on a trip. All kids throw this kind of a wrench in the plans. Fill in this blank then: “If we accidentally left home without  ________, the trip would be an utter disaster.”

Roger: “If we accidentally left home without Mommy monkey, and both Zander’s and Olivia’s blankets, the trip would be an utter disaster.”

Hilary: “If we accidentally left home without Olivia's blanket, the trip would be an utter disaster.”

Hilary, on days without a shower: Pony tail, bandana, hat, or silent treatment (“Find me a shower or die, mister”)?

It starts with a pony tail, then a hat, and then the sun shower if a regular shower is impossible.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and think about making that last turn before you hit your driveway after a nice, long trip.  Describe what's happening in the backseat.

Roger: One of two scenarios; first they are both zonked out, drooling over the sides of their car seats, or second, “I have to go right now!!! It is coming out!!!”

Hilary: My 6 and 3 year old are in the back fighting over who is sitting on mom's side, who saw a "Bingo Bus" or a "slugbug."


+1 / 0
# GBF 2010-06-21 23:27
thanks for this! fun read and good pics!
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Carol A. Moody
+4 / 0
# Carol A. Moody 2010-06-22 06:18
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Rick Moody
+2 / 0
# Rick Moody 2010-06-22 10:36
My Brother and Sister in law are such good Adventure Parents. I look up to them because they just know how to do it! Camping has always been a big part of our childhood and to this day I still love being outdoors! Great article I enjoyed it very much. Thanks for writing such a great article.
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+1 / 0
# Mike 2010-06-22 16:15
Great stuff
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Suzanne Maw
+1 / 0
# Suzanne Maw 2010-06-22 19:51
I sold Roger and Hilary their first home. Getting to know this wonderful family warmed my heart. I have known Roger's family for years. Its no wonder that they are such great parents. I wish I'd had Roger and Hilary's wisdom when I was raising my own children. The memories you are creating are timeless and forever. I am proud to call you my friends.
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Paula Thornock
+1 / 0
# Paula Thornock 2010-06-23 07:05
Great story and wonderful pictures. Inspiring me to get out camping with my not so little ones.
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Whitney Hopes
+1 / 0
# Whitney Hopes 2010-06-23 10:48
LOVE IT! Every statement is so true... I verify it :) I hope Kevin and I have the same luck and good times with our kids. Yours are such angels. I just hope and pray for the same results!
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Nana Susie
+2 / 0
# Nana Susie 2010-06-23 14:21
You are giving your kids memories for a lifetime! They will always look back at the good old days.
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Nic Willman
+2 / 0
# Nic Willman 2010-08-29 21:08
The Moody's ROCK! Great article guys!

Down to earth people who love to have fun. Thanks for all the great trips & Parties!

“I have to go right now!!! It is coming out!!!” - Boy it that true!

See you on the next trip!
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