Traveling is one of those things that can either make or break relationships. It’s nothing short of life changing and really truly exciting, but traveling does bring with it, it’s own set of challenges. Therefore, who you travel with is almost as important as where you travel.
That is where we are super blessed. As parents, we have created an environment of joy for our kids to grow in and thrive.
We enjoy life, plain and simple. And, this summer has shown us, more than anything else, that the company we keep affects us in the most profound way.
When we are around people with the same life philosophy, we are lifted, we are supported. When we are around people who have a more negative, win at all costs, sell their souls for the sake of the goal, we find it hard to stay upbeat.
The company you keep, the people you surround yourself with really make a difference in how your perceive life. As Colin Powell once said, “Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard.”
For the most part, we follow this sage advice. Life is hard enough, why make it harder due to the people in your life? I much prefer to be with the people who inspire me to be better and who are there to push me AND to support me.
And so this summer, we are nurturing our relationships with each other and with others.
Anyone who reads our blog knows that we proclaim that RV’ing has strengthened our family bonds like nothing else. You know we thought we were close before, but now consider our bonds to be superglue tight.
You know that RV’ing has heightened our awareness of the world around us, it’s educated us and made us much more worldly.
And surely you know that we are so unbelievably appreciative of all the wonderful people who have come into our lives through this journey we are on.
This is an upshot of traveling across the continent that I never even considered. In sharing our passion for life, we’ve had the pleasure of meet so many really spectacular people who experience the same zeal for each and every day!
Which is exactly how we ended up on a multi-day rafting trip!!
You see, this year we’ve slowed down. Gone back to our roots, so to speak.
We’ve changed our focus and we are running more rivers, charging more creeks, going for the adrenaline, the extreme rush that first made us fall in love with the sport. We are pushing our limits and propelling our skill levels.
At the same time, we are also paddling with our younger children, helping them gain the confidence needed to be strong boaters. Running the same rivers over and over, slowly taking harder lines, flipping and rolling up …
We are also spending a lot of time on Class II stretches, running our two littles down in Duckies and taking multi-day raft trips.
In doing so, we are surrounded by adventurers, people with a profound love for life, who just exude positivity and happiness. People whose only goal for the day, is to enjoy it.
That’s not to say our new found friends don’t work hard, indeed they do … as do we, but we don’t place work above all else. In fact, this whole RV thing started because we wanted our kids to see that there was a different way of life. Something more akin to actual living than the societal script of college, job, job, job, job, have a kid or two that you never see, job, job, job, die.
It’s been a great success. Our kids want jobs only to support their addiction to life. In fact, our kids don’t even want jobs. What our kids want are businesses that they can start and in turn hire college grads to run. It’s a win/win really. College kids want jobs and our kids want to hire them.
But it’s these hard working, fun loving, life living people who inspire us to be even more in the moment, to simply be and to do things even we have never done. And what a gift that is!
Things like our recent multi-day river trip on the Colorado River!!
This past week, we loaded up our raft with a Yeti Cooler, two “Everything Bags” from TuffRiverStuff, 5-6gallon water jugs, a dry box, a fire pan, a groover, and enough food to feed an army … of 14.
We drove to the put-in and said goodbye to our luxury Newmar DutchStar and hello to the rough and unpredictable Colorado River. Our entire family was together, minus our oldest daughter, who works for a rafting company and could not get time off work for this trip, due to it’s proximity to the 4th. LAME!
But, Dan’s brother, James, joined us, which was such a blessing. He came with the sole intention to have a blast AND to teach the kids to filet fish. He accomplished this goal on our 2nd night.
Kenny was the lone remaining fisherman and he was just standing on shore, casting his line into an eddy for the last time that evening.
Completely unexpected, he caught a catfish! A lot of screaming and yelling ensued, and running.
James ran to his tent to retrieve the knife, Brody ran to the bag that contained the fillet board, Dally and Cardy ran to Kenny and Kenny ran up the shore with the catfish on his line.
I had been informed that no fish that was caught would be spared. I am the ultimate catch and release, I actually feel sad for the fish. Don’t judge, it’s just how I feel …
I can’t say I didn’t try. But by the time I uttered the words, “can we please just throw him back.” the fish was on it’s way to becoming a meal.
At that moment, I became surrounded by little kids. It’s a very sweet moment when your young children comfort you. “Mommy, God gave us fish to eat. Jesus helped the fishermen catch fish in their nets.”
Yep, that’s a humbling experience and a heart-warming one and kind of a changing of the tide, if you know what I mean.
So, Uncle James showed them how to fillet a catfish, then Brody cooked it up in lemon juice as we weren’t really prepared to actually catch a fish and so were lacking in appropriate spices and what-not, and everyone at camp, including me, tried a piece. We all shared in Kenny’s first cleaned and prepared fish experience! It was pretty special, really.
Now, I’m not going to lie and say it was delicious, it tasted like a lemonhead, but it wasn’t too bad either.
Also joining us on the trip were our Shaboomee friends, Shaine and Mary and their bff’s Mark and Linda!
What made this trip so outrageous was that we were all there for one reason … to have fun. No schedule, no power struggles, … just pure unadulterated fun, with no rules outside of safety rules.
Now, a multi-day trip into the Ruby Horsethief (RBHT) Canyon is not an adrenaline seeking mission, it’s more a head clearing, family bonding, friend enhancing trip. It’s an opportunity for everyone, regardless of age or ability to enjoy the river, the scenery and go where few have gone.
It’s also an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company, without any of the stresses from home.
You see, the river is one of the only places where everything but the here and now ceases to exist.
The river offers a reprieve, a rare opportunity to just be. It’s one of the many reasons we live on the river. It’s a state of peace we are compelled to show our children. It’s a heightened sense of being, where you leave everything behind.
It’s an experience all of us should be so blessed to have. It’s like a reset button on your perspective.
This summer, I highly recommend everyone take a break from the connected world, from your jobs, from your businesses and immerse yourself in your family in some form of nature. Go camping, go on an overnight hiking trip, take a multi-day river trip, there are so many activities that are family friendly, regardless of age.
Your kids will surprise you, you will lean in and learn so much about them, it will give you a renewed sense of pride and love. These days it’s so easy for ALL of us to get caught up in getting all our shit done, that what matters most becomes a nuisance. Even we are not immune.
Distractions rule all our lives, I cannot express enough what a gift it is to get away from it all and just focus on the only thing in the world that matters … your family.
This summer, this month, maybe even this week, make a plan. Get it done.
What’s your favorite family getaway? Be sure to share with us in the comments below!