The Gonzalez family are like many of us in the outdoor community. They love to travel and they’ve had some “epic” outdoor adventure trips. But life is busy and they’ve discovered that you don’t have to plan a huge trip to find magical places. They’re giving their kids all kinds of wonderful outdoor experiences without having to travel much at all! Here they are…
Our dream is to sell everything and travel fulltime. We are always thinking about it and the idea tugs at our hearts every single day.
About 4 years we took our first camping trip as a family to Yosemite National Park. It was amazing. Our kids were off exploring and immediately made friends with our camp neighbors. I can still see them, busy building with rocks and pine cones and completely lost in exploration. It was magical to watch their little eyes looking up at the trees with such admiration and curiosity.
It truly sparked something within us and we knew then we wanted to expose our kids to the great outdoors at every opportunity. Since that first time, camping in Yosemite has become a yearly ritual for us. When we go, we completely disconnect and enjoy a week of play and exploration, losing ourselves in the grandness of the park. This past year was particularly special as our little guy Benji (1) joined us for some pretty amazing hikes along the panorama trail up at Glacier Point.
In the perfect world we’d be going on epic trips to places like Yosemite every week! There is nothing like seeing that “spark” of wonder in the kids. Turns out, that spark is just as good on a local hike! We’ve learned that not every adventure has to be grand or epic. It can be a stroll to your local lake or creek. It can be as simple as playing on logs or throwing rocks in the lake.
This year we took on a challenge as a family. We are participating in the #52hikechallenge and it has completely transformed the way we adventure. The goal is to complete 52 hikes in a year which translates into a weekly adventure. Since we both have day jobs and kids in school we can’t really travel so we have made it a priority to get out and explore local trails. The challenge for working families of young children is making the time to get outside.
For us it usually means picking between all the housework, laundry, yard work and the endless list of chores. We have learned it is all worth it. The memories we are creating, the bond and the importance of playing outside all outweigh the endless loads of laundry waiting for me at home!
We have been pleasantly surprised as to how much beauty surrounds us. We use the Alltrails application to find our trails and have had the best time discovering local adventures! We still long for a life of full time travel and dream of some day being able to go wherever we want – we’ve been so inspired by so many families but that is just not possible for us right now. But that is just not possible for us now. So until it is, we are making the most of all that surrounds us.
Our kids are still learning the same skills, exploring, using their imagination, growing in their love for the wild! I see how much this has changed them. They are fearless and full of confidence. They are learning to respect this beautiful place we are fortunate enough to be a part of. They are more grateful all while their imaginations grow endlessly.
I can go on and on about all the benefits of exploration and outdoor play. We are a better family because of it. We hope that our photographs inspire families just as we have been inspired. I hope families realize that it does not take an epic National Park to adventure. Kids do not need very much. Rocks, dirt, creeks and everything nature has to offer can all be found in our backyards.
Happy Trails to all!