The Magic Of Great Outdoors

One of the most cherished experiences I have from my childhood is of going out as a family to Mussoorie in hills. We siblings were very young and this was perhaps the first trip I remember vividly. The colorful murals on the mall road, the pine trees whose top I could not see, my first ride on a pony, I hope you get the gist.

The Magic Of Great Outdoors

Now as a parent myself I have been traveling with the kids and Missus ever since the elder one was 3 months old. We take kids on all the trips with us, unless I am going on a hiking where one needs to rough it out. When we are not travelling, the girls will typically talk to me about things like school homework, the things they want us to buy, and we will debate about whether to go for pizza or burger next time we go out.

But the moment we are out-of-town in a holiday spot, things change and the interaction we have with the kids is suddenly on a different level. I first realized the same when we went on a short jungle trek in Ananathagiri hills close to Hyderabad. Suddenly the elder one was asking questions about moon, spiders, what happens to the leaves that fall on the ground, how to know which snake is poisonous. Truth be told I was not sure of answers to a lot of questions but I was feeling very happy that we are talking about things that we have never talked in city.

Same thing happened when recently we were in Nagarjuna Sagar, a huge Dam, about 180 KM from Hyderabad. I was trying to click pictures in the dark of the lights on the dam in the night. The girls were inside the room getting their daily dose of animation from the TV, while I was happily adjusting the settings on the camera. During a break both of them came to the balcony and starting asking me questions about the camera and the tripod.

Outdoor Activities With Children

A few days ago I took the younger one to rock climbing event, we were not participating but just wanted to watch what is happening and I wanted to click some pictures. Again magic happened the moment we were in the great outdoors the little brat that she is sometimes evolved into an inquisitive child and wanted to know all about rocks, how to climb, why some climbers were using rope (rappelling and some were climbing bare hands). I answered as many questions as I could till she also got busy with some of other kids who had come for the event.

I realized once again that we are not talking about who will control the TV remote, if homework has been done or not, why the lights in the study are on when nobody is in there. We were on a different plane as a family and the discussion that was happening was not following any known script. We were communicating at a different level with father suddenly becoming the mentor teaching about his passions to the kids who were genuinely interested in knowing a thing or two.

Later when I clinically analyzed the whole thing I realized since we were not in familiar surroundings our conversations were also of different type and we were not competing (e.g. for remote) but collaborating. I guess this was no different than the offsite, a lot of organizations do for team building.

While we have been travelling as a family for a long time together I think only we have evolved as parents to communicate to the kids as mentors. Perhaps it is to do with the age of the kids also or simply our growth as parents. We are currently negotiating the next family trip together and my trump card to book tickets is that we will not be switching on the TV even once during the holidays.

Will keep you posted about the developments. Please do share your experiences about holidays with your kids.

Sasha and Prasad Np are proud parents of 2 girls whom they fondly call Princess (11 yrs in Feb 13) and Pinkette (4 yrs next month). He wears many hats after taking a break from being corner office critter for a long time. He is now entrepreneur, blogger, photographer, traveler and an investor in startups with unique concepts. He blogs at Desi Traveler, and can be reached at Facebook and Twitter.

  • so true.. i have noticed the same thing when I travel with my son…. the kind of stuff we talk about is so different, so profound, that, as u say, i mostly dont even know the answers to all his questions.. so it appears that we travel we are on a quest, together… which is probably why we love to travel so much!

    • Hi Anuradha…..You are right outdoors are such great teachers… both for the kids and for the parents… Thanks

  • Amrita Thavrani

    Good that you guys can manage frequent trips with kids by your side. I usually play safe, traveling in city having apt facility resorts or close relatives. But yes, my most cherished memories from childhood belong to travels , exploring places and people.

    • Hi Amrita…. We do city trips also like Zoo, lake fronts etc museum but the challenge is in city the kids want to go to Mall after some time so we prefer outdoors.

  • Roshni

    Your experience sounds like ours! We too go for a lot of hikes and camping and get a lot of questions about flowers, bees, trees and other stuff that the kids normally wouldn’t pay attention to! I guess, it’s nice to be able to switch off media as a whole family and look around us once in a while!!

    • Hi Roshni…. absolutely switching media off is the key to observe the outdoors….. there was a world before instant info on the net 🙂

  • The outdoors have magic in them! They bring a sense of space and abundance. It is heartening to see what you are able to accomplish! And very inspiring too. Awesome!

    We love the outdoors too and one big reason, is that nothing is predictable and the sense of discovery is omnipresent!

    On another plane, the magic of abundance and collaboration could be created indoors as well! Fueling curiosity & possibility of choice are great catalysts !

    • Hi Kavi…Yes If we can bring the magic created outdoors to our homes indoors then we can accomplish a lot more as a family., but I find the distractions in home too many and my spirit too weak to resist them ( why blame the kids ? )

  • Travelling is always great .. For adults and for kids. I am glad your kids get to explore at such young age. They will grow to love travelling. That’s a great thing to pass on to your kids. I have been travelling since my daughter was 5 months and she is growing up to be a person who loves outdoors. She loves packing up her bags!!

    • Hi Divya…. You have an explorer in the making… she is welcome to write a guest post on my blog 🙂 🙂 ah the marketing bug in me 🙂 !

  • As the kids grow older, I think the media will get switched off on its own they will take interest in the outdoors too.. More so because you are making an effort to take them out frequently.

    • Hi Sirisha… Thanks, that is the aim that they look beyond the e-tainment early on…

  • chattywren

    I loved this post. Technology is becoming very intrusive in our lives. In our house it is a rare family meal where the laptop or smartphone does not sit through. We need to switch-off from these and connect at the basic level with our children. A walk in the rain, or the snow, or even a park can be so refreshing and allow the natural curiosity in children to take over.

    • Hi Vibha… Thanks for liking it…. we enforce strict no TV policy on the weekends during meals… Parks are awesome to watch and play with the kids and observe their social interaction with other kids.

  • This is an important aspect in children’ s lives. When mine were young , we used to take frequent trips to as many places as possible, all over India, even though the infra structure was not much to speak of. Now, they recall those days with fond memories.!

    • I am sure those days are remembered as ” The Good Old Days 🙂 “