Backpacks on — your kids will thank you!
Across the boundless oceans, over the virgin mountains and down the serpentine river I discovered a world other than my own. Colorful, vibrant communities welcomed me to their tables and shared their roguish culture.
I discovered friendships. I discovered generosity. I discovered humanity. I discovered myself. I discovered I was more. I discovered they were more. I discovered I didn’t know. I discovered curiosity.
The winged, white sails of the opera house waved in greeting when I arrived. And out in the grassy fields diminutive kangaroos, their pouches bulging with life, nuzzled me looking for food. Below the ocean’s surface, the coral and its whimsical giant clams danced before my eyes… I had to pinch myself to see if I was still for real.
I was without any mates, hittin’ the road solo. Just me and my dilly bag on a six-week walkabout. I learned to play a didgeridoo and how to crack a whip. I dreamt-up I was Indiana Jones, and the Nullarbor Plain my nemesis.
I was only sixteen, were my parents crazy? I was only sixteen, was there ever a greater gift? I was only sixteen, I didn’t know anything. I was only sixteen, my eyes full of wonder. I was only sixteen, wasn’t that just yesterday?
I didn’t go traveling to discover myself. I went for the adventure and excitement of it all. I hadn’t planned to grow or mature, I’d only planned to have fun.
But I couldn’t help seeing that people were different from me, and quickly learned to cherish that. How freaking boring life would be if I was exactly like you and you were exactly like me? No thanks, I’ll pass.
We can tell our children about the world and what it’s like and how life is, but nothing compares to letting them go and discover it for themselves. Letting them touch, and feel, and see, and taste, and love it all.
When their feet hit the hard packed earth, and they feel the god-given strength of their own legs, they can’t help but to stand a little straighter. They propel themselves forwards, at times with ease and grace, and other times they stumble on, but they always find their way.
They always stand up. They always grow. They always learn. They always surprise and they always reveal the truth.
I often think that my years of experience give me wisdom and therefore I know better, but me knowing what’s true for me doesn’t help them. There are lessons that must come from within, lessons that can’t be planted from the outside.
All we can do is trust. Trust that no matter how many twists, turns and bumps they may come to face on their journey, they are perfectly designed to follow their path — just as we are perfectly designed to follow ours.
And in the end they’ll be stronger. In the end they’ll touch courage. In the end they'll find humanity. In the end they’ll find humility. In the end they’ll awaken. In the end they’ll discover mystery.
In the end, they’ll thank you.