I’m not even sure where to begin. I’m coming off of one of the best weeks ever and I’m on such an emotional high, it’s crazy good being so happy! In fact, the past month has been one of pure, unadulterated joy. On a personal level, I finally finished and published my book, Raising a BadAss Family, and it is available now on Kindle and Kindle Reader for your PC — Raising a BadAss Family. I poured my heart and soul into this book, and the response I am getting has been incredibly positive, which is the best reward ever. It’s not your conventional parenting book, but then we are not your conventional family. What’s really cool is I’m receiving emails from readers. Emails asking questions, thanking me, even encouraging me. I’m overwhelmed by the encouragement from complete strangers and the people I’ve met on YouTube and even friends that I’ve known since childhood, even people from the kayaking scene are reading and sending me such amazing praise … hopefully I’m worthy!!
Then, adding to our amazing joy is the fact that we are living free, completely and totally free. Traveling as a family (yes, all 13 of us – Thank You God) is liberating, freeing, and the greatest bonding experience ever. Yes, we are living in an RV 3.5 weeks out of every month, yes 13 of us in one 36′ RV. The most common question asked of us is “Does the small space ever get to you?” Of course, we get annoyed and frustrated with each other, we wouldn’t be human and we wouldn’t be true to our Irish Heritage if we didn’t, but it’s fleeting. Camping is about nothing if not living simply. We don’t have toys in the RV, we don’t have TV or PS3, but what we do have is so much more valuable. We have the wide open outdoors and lots and lots of rivers and bike trails and dirt and gravel and swings and trees. Nature is literally our playground. We rise with the sun and retire with the moon; we shower in the river (how hippie is that?); we eat loads of fresh fruits and veggies; our hair is bleaching and our skin tanning; and the little kids are dirty. But, as a very bright 11 year old boater said to me, “As they say, a dirty baby is a happy baby.” Indeed! We fit like a glove in this new life we are forging. The people we are meeting are like us, they are not tied to their suits and ties, they are not tied to carpooling their kids from one extracurricular activity to the next. They are not all about the car they drive or the clothes they wear (they are happy when they simply have clean clothes). We don’t look forward to going home, in fact, we are actually considering selling our house and everything we own and buying or renting a small cabin in a place where there is epic powder for us to ride in the winters. We don’t need all the stuff. The simple travelling life was custom made for us. Of course, the other option is for my book to become a best-seller and we buy something on a boatload of land so when the kids grow and start their own families they can build houses on our family land!! That’s the stuff dreams are made of! Go buy the book!!
It’s liberating to shed every ounce of the typical American Dream and make your own up as you go. This life is about living and growing and learning. Growth became the fodder for which I laid my thoughts the last few days. Eric Jackson said something profound to me this past Sunday. He was in the water at the same time I was trying to get Grady OUT of the water prior to his competition — remember lessons learned in BV? Well, he said, and I quote, “He’s learning new things.” He told me that his hands were bloody prior to the ’93 Worlds because he was learning new stuff. Grady’s hands were bloody, blistered and wrapped with bandaids and tape. I thought about this all day. In fact, I’m still chewing on this, because I think I finally understand. The point-series is about winning, of course, but even more importantly, it’s about learning new tricks, pushing yourself and your body to new heights. Coming off defeat more determined than ever, coming off wins humbled and knowing defeat is just around the corner. Kayakers always say if you’re not swimming, you’re not pushing yourself. We are well-versed in the knowledge that if we are pushing the limits, we are simply between swims (more so for me than anyone else I know, except for perhaps, Cardy). That’s the best analogy for life I’ve ever heard. If you are not experiencing disappointment, or failure, you are not taking risks, you are stuck in a rut. Get out there, push the limits, take risks, be wild, crazy and insane – you only live once and none of us are getting out of here alive!!