To My Parents

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.

My Mom and Dad

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.

On thier wedding day.

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!

Cross country skiing.

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.

The best fishing spot ever!

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.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain

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.

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  1. Tracy Burns says:

    Amy, I love this story. I can’t believe what your parents did through Europe. All of my travels have been so ridiculously safe and unadventurous in comparison!!! It sounds like you had some amazing childhood holiday experiences – who needs RVs and holidays to Disneyland when you have the great outdoors to explore!

    That Mark Twain quote is one of my favourites and I agree wholeheartedly – life is short and you don’t know what is around the corner. Before deciding to do our trip we realised the same thing – what if this is our only life on earth and our only chance to explore it, what if we wait until retirement only to break our hip or have a heart attack or heaven forbid one of us is in an accident and we miss the chance to explore the world together as a family.

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      I would never use the word unadventurous to describe your travels Tracy! We all have different comfort levels and budgets, just the fact that you travel with your children shows just how adventurous you are!

      My parents had a friend who, after working his whole life, finally retired. Six weeks later he died of a heart attack. I always think of this when I am setting goals. Such a tragic thing, but it really inspires me to live life to the fullest.

  2. Aina says:

    We’re honoured to receive this blog but the amazing point is the way Amy ( and our other 3 children) have enriched our lives! Without them our life story would have been incomplete! This story includes many times when Byron ,the spearhead of most of our adventures, has pulled us out of our comfort zones, only to find that we have actually had fun, and the memories it has created are treasured.
    Thank you Amy, for being you! We love you more than words can say!

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      Thanks mom!

  3. At Home in the World says:

    Beautiful Amy!

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      Thanks Jennifer!

  4. Amy says:

    Hi Amy,
    What a great post. Maybe the travelling bug is a genetic thing, as I grew up hearing stories of my parents spending a year travelling around Australia in a motorhome in the 70s. I always dreamt of doing the same, and now here we are doing it with four kids in tow.


    1. worldschooladventures says:

      I think that kind of spirit can definitely be a personalty trait that is nurtured from a very young age. I remember hearing their stories when I was younger and thinking, this is what I will do to. And low and behold, I made it happen! So great that you are living your own dream as well!

  5. Kimberly says:

    This truly warms my inner being to the core :o) Thank you for sharing your inspiration beautiful cousin 🙂

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      Thank you darling Kimberly, I am glad you enjoyed it. Much love.

  6. Marilia says:

    How lucky you are to have such adventurous parents, but especially for having parents that support you to live your dreams. It´s clear that you are doing the same with your kids.

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      Thank you Marilia. I hope that my children feel the same way about me when they grow up as I do about my parents!

  7. Chaya Shepard says:

    This is a beautiful post. After I read it, I sent an email to my mom, thanking her for inspiring my adventurous spirit…and putting up with me taking her only grandchild around the world!

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      That is wonderful! Those of us with amazing parents need to thank them more often! And that should really extend to everyone in our lives!

  8. Nicole says:

    Such a nice tribute to your parents! Lucky you, lucky them. 🙂

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      Thank you Nicole. Yes, we are very lucky indeed!

  9. Sarah says:

    I love this! Your parent’s style of travel sound amazing – they have lived the sort of life I hope to have. And I love that having kids didn’t quell their adventurous spirit. Thanks for sharing.

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      Thank you Sarah. I think that having kids is one of the best reasons to travel! To live out side the box and raise them to be extraordinary!

  10. Jason says:

    Excellent advice! We have seen too many people wait for retirement to follow their dreams only to find that their health will no longer allow them to do so. Do it when you can!

  11. worldschooladventures says:

    Yes! Carpe Diem!

  12. Stephanie - Finding The Freeway says:

    Thank you so much for sharing that story:) I remember camping with my parents as a child, but we never did anything quite as adventurous as the trips you took! I think it’s amazing that your parents are continuing to live their dream even in retirement…very inspirational! Thanks again:)

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      Yes, they really are inspirational. True Adventurers!

  13. Tina says:

    Great Story!

    And love the ending quote!
    Its the quote I live my life by!

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      Thanks Tina! I love that quote too, sums it up so perfectly!

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