Poll: Will Your Children Grow Up To Hate Adventure Travel?

email this page

child crying while camping

In April, my wife, Brooke, and I hosted a discussion-presentation on family adventure travel at Overland Expo, and if there's anything that I learned from that, it's everyone has their own wildly varied concerns when it comes to adventure-travel and everyone is different. My absolute favorite came from a young mom with a baby just a few months old who, right away, wanted to dive into how the hell to fix her husband - it was cute and good humored, rest assured. But obviously there was a hint of truth to it. Sure, she enjoyed hiking and camping, that wasn't a problem. Her husband, she feared, hit the metaphorical throttle much too hard when he took their little one out on trips. He had no qualm about trekking hard all day, getting to camp late, cooking less-than-stellar meals, getting up early and doing it all over again. This worried her and she laid it down, "I'm afraid he's going to make her hate this stuff when she gets older."

She has a point. That's an uneasiness I too have about what the future holds. Though I think we're pretty balanced in our house. As in my daughter (who's 4 years old) dresses up as a princess nearly everyday at home but goes bonkers-wild at the mere utterance of the word "camping." It's a balance of extremes for sure, but a balance nonetheless, good person. Another friend of ours once said she has stricken camping from her life's ambitions for good, that her family did it all the time when she was younger and therefore she's spent enough of her time outdoors. It's not that the trips were hardcore, it's just that she felt that she'd endured enough bugs and cold nights in her life. Fair enough. I think it's quite understandable.

This is almost a nature-versus-nurture type of question. Will the kids who grow up adventure traveling with their parents also grow up to dislike it? Can we ruin our kids on this stuff, or will they just grow up to become who they become? I ask because we, as in you and I, do believe that this is good stuff for our spawn, right? Maybe not superior to other things in life, but it's just something we're trying to teach is a good thing. Do you ever wonder if your love of the outdoors or travel or dirt roads or surf or singletrack or moonlit desert canyons just won't ignite inside your next generation the way it does in you?

Let's narrow this down to one question, yes or no: Are you concerned that your kids may dislike outdoor adventure when they get older? (the poll is anonymous, and feel free to elaborate on your stance in the comments)


0 / 0
# Osborne 2011-08-23 22:21
Hahaha, great picture with the baby. I'm a strong believer that great experiences - including adventures - are always good for young and impressionable kids. It makes them realize there's a world out there and travel can make kids increase their situational awareness and common sense.

On an entirely different note...I started Skeenit.com, which sells a product that's perfect for parents who have rambunctious kids. SKEEN is tough carpet protection that makes parenting easier. :)

Great post and and keep it up,


Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
0 / 0
# b.d.d. 2011-08-24 11:03
I voted no. My boys are 17 and 13 and still love camping and fishing w/ dad. It got harder to go out as they got older tho.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
Roseann Hanson
+3 / 0
# Roseann Hanson 2011-08-24 11:15
I've seen you guys camping, and I think your approach is so great, for kids I mean:

- relaxed, not frenzied
- Chloe has so much freedom, to play in the dirt, collect things, blow bubbles . . . you don't stifle her with "don't get dirty" or "don't touch that" (well, unless it has fangs I guess)

So I think this translates to happiness. Freedom = happiness for all of us at the most basic level. Happiness = happy campers.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
Mark Stephens
0 / 0
# Mark Stephens 2011-08-24 11:29
Quoting Roseann Hanson:
Happiness = happy campers.

Now that is soooo cool, Roseann. Thank you.

We'd have a lot of work (far too much work) if we behaved with the "don't get dirty" thing. Yikes. FAR TOO MUCH WORK. :-)
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
+3 / 0
# Ann-Marie 2011-08-24 11:26
Every kid is different from the very beginning. Some will take to the outdoors and some will be distressed by getting dirty. All we can do is give them the opportunity for exposure to new things. Our daughter has been camping and climbing all of her life. Now nearly 17 she out camping and hiking for a week with her school and undoubtedly having a blast.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
Mark Stephens
0 / 0
# Mark Stephens 2011-08-24 11:59
Undoubtedly having fun all right! That's really neat.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
Angela Rehm
+4 / 0
# Angela Rehm 2011-08-24 11:39
I hope our son likes the outdoors when he is older, but if not so be it. He's having fun now, and he's getting to spend quality time with his family. That is really the important part, isn't it?
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
Mark Stephens
+1 / 0
# Mark Stephens 2011-08-24 11:52
That certainly is the important part.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
John McClain
+2 / 0
# John McClain 2011-08-24 15:02
That is really the important part, isn't it?
That is indeed the important part. For me it's just adjusting my expectations. If my young son and I go fishing we get a few casts in and then it's time to throw rocks in the lake. That's all good stuff, I'm just happy to be with him, fishing is just the excuse to get out there.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
Sarah K.
0 / 0
# Sarah K. 2011-08-24 16:01
Really glad to see this article! I have a 10 week old and have/had the same worries as the mom in this story. Not worried about her hating our trips when she grows up, but just hating them now???? Not sleeping in a tent well or sitting in the baby pack etc. We won't know until we go but I still think about thost things like every day.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
+2 / 0
# Nathan 2011-08-25 17:24
To the young woman with the Go Go GO! husband, I suggest teaching him "Cadence". I talked about it a bit in this quick article, that I think resonates with the main theme of Mark's post here.

Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
0 / 0
# Joe 2011-08-25 21:25
My parents took me camping and hiking as a kid, but nothing too adventurous. My parents weren't into trucks, cars, racing or offroading, and yet somehow I'm crazy about those things.
Before our son was born my wife and I averaged once a month camping trips, and I'd go more if I could convince my wife. Anyway our son is now 3 weeks old and I've already planned our first camping trip for October. I think that if it's done right, and it's fun, and you aren't forcing them to enjoy it they'll probably love it when they get older too.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
Rachel Denning
0 / 0
# Rachel Denning 2011-09-02 14:48
I am concerned that my children will hate traveling when they are older. We are very nomadic, my kids have been to nine countries already (the oldest is only 8). When they grow up, maybe they'll just want to live in suburbia?

I'm okay with that. My job is to give them the best life I can, and then let them make their own life choices.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator


We'd be honored to see your thoughtful opinions, so please share them.

If you wish to display a slick avatar with your comment, this connects to Gravatar as long as you use your email address (email addresses used here remain private).

Security code

Don't-Miss Daily Deals