I stepped off the double decker greyhound bus, and my heart leapt into my throat. Blinking back tears, I took it all in – the sights, the sounds, the smells. It was an assault to my senses, but a good one. I wanted to remember the moment in its entirety.
Two weeks ago, my husband took me to Germany. Then he left me there alone.
This was all planned, of course. He had to work in Heidelberg, and I wanted to see my dad who is working in Munich. During the day, while both of my favorite men worked, I was on my own to explore.
On this particular day, I decided to take the bus to Salzburg.
It was rainy and chilly, but I didn’t care, because Julie Andrews didn’t lie when she sang “The Hills Are Alive.” Austria is my favorite place in all the earth. If my husband could find a way to work from there, I’d go and never come back.
But this was a different experience, seeing Salzburg all on my own. The bus dropped us off several miles from the old town, and it was on me to navigate my way there, then make my way back to the bus station that evening to catch my ride back to Munich.
I loved the adventure of it all. I loved getting lost and turned around, and figuring my way back to the path. I loved the freedom to duck into whatever shop I wanted, to sit at a cafe at the top of the Castle and imagine what life must have been like hundreds of years ago from the same vantage point.
I felt alive in that moment of adventure – even at the end of the day when I couldn’t find my return bus, and I almost missed my ride to Munich. It was a problem that I had to solve, and I did it! This was the thrill my mom-heart needed.
There is sometimes a sense that when we become mothers, our adventures are tucked away and replaced with parenting. Sure we might have little adventures with the children, but those broad, vast adventures that we had as youth? We turn our backs on them.
I don’t think this is healthy, though. There’s a sense of freedom that comes with adventure, and sometimes that freedom needs to be separate from the children. So how do we do this? How do we live a life of adventure amidst the every day needs of our bustling families?
I have three suggestions.
1.) Make yourself try something new, without the kids.
This doesn’t necessarily have to be separate from your spouse, but it should be separate from the children. Even if you just hop in your car without a plan, and flip a coin to decide whether you should drive north or south. The point is, you can have an adventure without the children now and then. And it doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money.
2.) Use Your Imagination
The sky’s the limit when it comes to being adventurous. Maybe you take off one day while the kids are at school (or at summer camp!) and you try an exotic food you’ve never tried before.
Maybe you begin saving for an overseas trip in which you purchase nothing but your plane tickets and your rental car, and plan on exploring once you arrive in country.
Maybe you simply do something spontaneous. Instead of planning date night ahead of time, you have four choices printed on slips of paper and put them in an envelope, and after you get in the car, you pull one out and see where you’re going.
Have fun with your adventures!
3.) Be Brave
You have to be willing to take some risk. Maybe you’ll get lost, or maybe you won’t like the food you try. Maybe it will be fun, but maybe it won’t. The point is you won’t know unless you try! And the trying is part of the fun.
Living a life of adventure doesn’t have to come to an end when children enter the picture. In fact, if we’re willing to live adventurous lives with our children, then we just might raise a few adventurous risk takers!
And what an adventure that would be, yes?
Tell about the last time you had an adventure? What was the experience like?