There’s no I in TEAM or ADVENTURE, and there shouldn’t be an I in family–that’s why I took it out! I’m not talking about encroaching on healthy boundaries, but let me ask you this…Are your legendary memories of you sitting poolside, reading a book while your kids occupied themselves? Or was that lounge session just the rest you needed to gear up for your epic action adventures?
There is so much to gain from creating family traditions that push toward your risk threshold: personal growth, strong family bonds, and lifelong memories. I guarantee you will always be able to thrill an audience with your stories at Thanksgiving.
When my kids were 10 and 11 years old, my husband Dave and I had a serious talk about our best strategy to keep our family unit strong through the next phase of our kids’ teenage life. Dave grew up in Southern California, boating to Catalina with his family. His dream was to have a boat someday. I grew up taking family trips that were comedy movie-script-worthy, and I also wanted to make sure our kids had noteable experiences.
After much discussion, we concluded that it was now or never to reorganize our finances and invest in a boat. Our 22′ fishing boat with a sardine can-sized sleeping cabin would be our tool to establish family traditions and make memories. Catalina is a two-hour ocean ride across the Catalina Channel, but it feels like you’ve gone to a faraway world of paradise. A boat makes exploring the remote coves easy. https://www.visitcatalinaisland.com/two-harbors/
Personal Growth :
A benefit to a smaller boat without amenities is that we are all trapped together. Selfishness isn’t allowed. Our rules for the kids are: put the phones away, no stinky farts in the cabin, and they agree for me to take their photos. For some reason, they hate when I whip out my camera. In exchange, I suck it up and use a bucket for a toilet. I’m committed to accompany my family in their love of fishing and diving. Similarly, Dave chooses to turn his high-intensity action down a notch, go for a stroll on land, play frisbee golf, or a game of cards in the evening. We are all forced to work together, and therefore, we grow personally.
From our eight years of family boating, we have a woven tapestry of shared experiences. Some of our greatest, most profound talks have been on the two-hour drive to and from Catalina. We sit smushed together, joke about funny life scenarios, and have conversations we would normally be too busy to have. Although I love watching my kids’ sporting games and competitions, there’s no comparison to doing the same action adventures together. “All for one, one for all,” is our motto on these trips. Although I’d be more comfortable lounging on the sunny beach as my family goes out fishing, I usually go with them so I can be a part of their stories.
With eight years of boating traditions, we have beautiful memories that will last a lifetime. In our first year, we struggled as newbies to figure out how to connect our boat to the mooring, and all of us discovered how to row our dinghy to shore. We were satisfied snorkeling in the harbor and surprised by the non-threatening leopard sharks.
The first time the boys’ dove in front of the Catalina Casino, they filled an empty water bottle with frozen peas to feed the fish. As they emptied the peas, the fish frenzied around them. We all will never forget their hilarious surprise and the fun we all had. We laugh remembering Dillon joyously catching his first fish. He was so excited until he realized he caught the illegal California State fish, the orange Garibaldi. Logan felt excited with his first front flip off the top of the boat. Because he pushed his limits, I decided to do the same, but I flopped to my back. I bet them I’d do it again successfully. I did.
Fast forward to today, where our kids are proficient divers, fishermen and know how to drive our boat. As their skill increases, so do our epic action adventures.
Let’s Do This!
In theory, we all want personal growth, strong family bonds, and lifelong family memories worth sharing. Still, we have to be willing to get uncomfortable–exchanging an “I” mentality to a “WE” frame of mind. Our family won’t stop the adventures, and I hope someday they include grandkids! Let’s go All In!