I grew up in a working class family. The youngest of four, I had a typical upbringing. I went to public school, made friends and lost them, strove for the gold stars and good grades, daydreamed about boys and being rich and famous. However there was something a little bit different about my family…..my parents were adventurers at heart, and they inspired me to be an adventurer also.
I grew up hearing stories about my parents foray across Europe. In the heart of the 70’s with $3000 in their pockets they set off for Europe. They bought a VW Van in Amsterdam and drove to France where the van’s engine blew. With no room in the budget to have it fixed they abandoned it and spent the rest of their journey hitchhiking and walking with the occasional train trip thrown into the mix. Most nights their bed was a piece of plastic spread out on the ground and the sleeping bags they shared. Their diet consisted of La Belle Vache Que Rit, bread, pastries, and sardines. They made their way down to Morocco where my Dad survived a serious elbow wound, getting stitches with unwashed equipment, and a subsequent blood infection. My mother had to buy him antibiotics on the black market and I marvel at her bravery in this situation, a beautiful blond woman, alone in the market searching out medicine to save my fathers life. After Morocco they made their way back up through Europe all the way to the very top of Norway. Their stories and pictures swirled in my imagination and nurtured the seed of wanderlust in me.
In my own childhood, although there was never enough money for family trips on a grand scale, our weekends were for exploring. In the winter we would cross country ski and snowmobile far into the back-country. In the summer we would sail on the local lakes, exploring amazing beaches only accessible by water. We spent countless weekends camping, and I mean camping! No fifth wheel or motor home luxury for us, we were out in the woods, traveling on forestry roads. We explored, hiked, fished, cooked on the campfire, and got eaten by mosquitoes!
Then one summer we loaded up the truck and camper and camped our way from our home in BC up to Alaska. We drove on back-roads, explored abandoned mines, hiked up mountains, fished in glacial lakes and rivers, and bathed in water so cold it made our heads hurt.
At 17, I was the only child still living at home and my parents loaded up the truck and camper again, this time we drove down to Baja, Mexico. This was the trip that really opened up my eyes. I saw landscapes I had never seen before…. Death Valley, Joshua Tree, the Mexican desert. And I got to experience a country and culture that was not like my own. It was less than a year later that I met Mike and we started our own epic adventures.
I would like to thank my Mom and Dad for making my childhood an adventure and for always supporting me in my own adventures. They have never told me that I couldn’t do something, or said my ideas were unrealistic. And although they have worried for my safety, as any parent would, they have always supported my travels. Even now, as we plan to take their grandchildren on a slow-travel Worldschool Adventure in Asia they are nothing but supportive and proud that we are living our dreams.
My parents have taught me that life is short and saving all your dreams for retirement is foolhardy. We never know when our days on this earth will be over, or when our health will fail us. Thank you Mom and Dad, for showing me through your own actions that I can accomplish whatever I set my mind on and for nurturing my wanderlust from the minute I was born.
After 38 years of marriage my parents are still following their dreams. They are now retired and spend much of their summer sailing off the BC coast and much of their winters exploring America in their truck and camper.