.Before the birth of our now 8 month old daughter, Collin and I wondered how we would keep up our love for the outdoors with a new family member. We wanted to figure out a way to continue our hobbies outside as a family without cutting our time spent outside short. In the meantime, we knew we still had to make money for bills. While reading a local magazine covering a section on 'Active Outdoor Families," I thought we had found the bible for advice on how to continue living outdoor lives with an infant. Slightly let down, the article only revealed families who had current paid gigs to be outdoors such as kayak company owners or Olympic medalists. We were just your average family, originally starting out as two solo traveler/ adventure geeks who had no more savings than a dried up creek bed. How were we to plan a life of adventure around a newborn?
WITH A CHILD, IT IS BETTER TO LEAVE OUT PLANS AND EXPECTATIONS.
We learned on a sporadic road trip to New York City that the best way to travel with a baby is to wing it. Drop the expectations and take each day as it comes. We were able to explore more ground this way and do it in a much more relaxed manner without a set time frame.
Check out the video here.
SACRIFICES MUST BE MADE. When I first met up with Collin, he had been living out his dream of living in the Teton Valley for right at one year. I was stoked to be moving to my dream place, as well, and especially stoked to have someone to share the views with. Fast-forward a few months and we find out we are pregnant right after my father has a severe heart attach. Dithered and panicked, to say the least, we headed back to Tennessee where we knew the baby to come would have insurance. Sacrifice # 1: The West. We moved back into my tiny house in Tennessee for a few months to collect our thoughts and "plan." First of all, we are not much for planning and second, let me elaborate on tiny house. Lots of potential for a solo female traveler. Not so much potential for a very soon expected newborn, 2 dogs, and 2 adults. No bathroom or kitchen. The four months we lived here were full of midnight to early morning pregnancy squats (outside to pee, not for keeping up my fitness). We adapted to better cooking methods, like making soup in a one size crock-pot. Don't get me wrong, it was awesome in ways. However, we were slightly terrified at the idea of childbirth and raising a baby at this point and the thought of doing it in a glam- shed seemed ill-fully timed. So we rushed into a 1 year condo lease, ran by the HOA- AKA the unemployed elders of condo authority who restrict what specialty trash items one is allowed to put into a dumpster. Sacrifice #2: Lifestyle. We rushed out of our no-ties lifestyle to secure a comfy home to safely raise a baby in. This happened so quick that we even considering buying a house in the area and working on our credit scores. Sacrifice #3: Sanity. We knew from the start that this lifestyle was not how either of us wanted to live. We knew going into it that it would be temporary and serve its' purpose to provide a safe environment to have our child in. We got outside as much as we could with a small baby, but we each felt pulled away from our self-identity. Who had we became? There are not any books that could prepare a new parent for what to expect, and this is especially so for outdoor parents. Everyone has different lifestyles and morals that they want to teach their children. We came to know that the greatest teacher of all was experience and trial and error. Sacrifice #4: Career. Collin took a huge hit for the team. He worked hard to find a good paying job in the area and totally dropped his ego to make sure our daughter and our family had a roof over our heads and food on the table. At the end of the day, he has sacrificed happiness to ensure we have a place to call home.
ALL ABOUT THAT BALANCE.
Some days get the best of us. Sometimes, the mental drain is unreal. To be honest, it has been a struggle at times. We have felt trapped and in a rut. At the end of the day, we all have each other. We are very thankful and grateful for our home and food to eat, but the outdoors that we once saw so frequently continues to pull at us in attempt at reminding us of who we are. Giving us back our self-identity. Tugging us away from a safe lifestyle and hinting at one of adventure. Comforting us in a hug of warm trees that smell of Christmas pine.
We compromised on a nearby walk in the woods. Sure, we would have liked to tear up some single track or backpack up some foggy peaks. Just a walk in the park with our new Burley Solo seemed to alleviate the urge to be outside. The smell of crisp winter leaves and signs of a new year in the not so distant future warmed our spirits with each step. As a familiar movie we had watched the night before inspired, hope is at our very fingertips in this time of transition. We may have it by the slips of our fingers, but it is there.
And this little lady is the spark of the flame.
Dogs & Diapers