01 Aug Extreme Family Adventure Part 3: Adventure as a Family Lifestyle and What’s Next for the “Tris-Trans Saga”
This is Part 3 of the Extreme Family Adventure interview with Kim Broux and Jochem Cuypers. Click here to see Part 1: Meet the Parents Behind the “TrisTrans Saga” or Part 2: Tackling Highest Peaks and Lowest Temperatures on the “TrisTrans Saga”
Many people I know would think you are crazy to take such small children out into such cold and challenging outdoor situations for an extended time. What are some of the most ‘risky’ trips you’ve taken with your little ones? How did you balance the ‘risk’ with preparedness? And do you think it makes a difference because you are both medical professionals?
Well, safety is our main priority, so we only plan trips that we can handle. We always have an ‘emergency plan’ in case of. Before a trip we plan every detail.
First of all, we select a region that’s interesting for all of us. Then we select the best weather period, before we move on to look at possible worst case scenarios and closest available emergency help. During the trip we constantly evaluate the surroundings so we don’t take risks. If the terrain is too risky (glacier crevasses, thin sea-ice, avalanches, …) we change our route—we always have a plan B.
For basic first aid we take along all kind of stuff—our medicine bag on longer trips weighs from 4 to 5 kg. (9 to 11 lbs.) Tja, I guess it’s an advantage to have medical background since you can more quickly recognize hypothermia—freeze wounds—and you can trust on yourselves that you can handle [most] ‘easy’ first aid situations. For a bigger rescue operation you need to be prepared anyway—so a good plan B is necessary. But as mentioned before, the most important is to prevent and not taking risks. Risk evaluation is a skill that you learn in practice. It’s important to take our kids into nature so they can learn what they can tackle.
It’s impressive how fast they learn. A kid that climbed trees will have less chance to hurt themselves seriously later in life, compared with kids [that have] grown up with overprotecting parents.
Jochem has done these kinds of excursions since he was a small kid, so it’s just a way of living. Many kids in Northern counties are exposed to the same elements on their way to school or on a fishing trip during winter…. It’s kind of what you are used to. The level of adventure is dependent on what experiences you have.
What advice would you give to “adventure couples” who are expecting their first child or thinking about starting a family?
Joy/pleasure in outdoor activities is the finest gift you can give to your children! Don’t wait until your kids are ‘old enough’ to take them on an adventure. Get started as soon the idea or desire emerges in your thoughts. It’s during the first years of life that you build the foundation of life: a human’s basic needs and habits. Nature gives you as a family everything what you need: time to get to know each other.
Babies and small kids won’t remember the great views and experiences before the age of 3, but they will get a great connection to their parents from day 1. Shared family moments in nature will strengthen this natural phenomenon since you have all the time in the world to focus on yourselves and the basic needs of life. This interaction between parents and children will give the children confidence later in life. In addition to many more positive consequences.
One of our best hints is to get started with a small adventure. In the beginning you will have lots of questions.
Packing will take some time. And most obviously you will pack all kind of stuff you don’t need. But soon you will find the best solutions. And after a while you get more experienced—and packing will be fun. Even the youngest loves to get involved while packing before an adventure.
And remember, you don’t have to travel to the other side of the world to enjoy the great outdoors. Even in the forest close to your home you can find a sense of freedom… One of the most beautiful consequences of getting kids is that you as an adult rediscover the most important purpose of being outside: the simplicity of life.
What’s next? Where do you hope the TrisTrans Saga will take you in the years ahead?
One of our projects is to explore different regions in Scandinavia—mainly the National Parks and glaciers. Tristan completed all the highest summits in every community in province of Hordaland in 2013 and we liked it, so we started with other ‘collections’. One of them is the “European Highpoints,” the highest summit in every European country—a goal for many years that gives us the chance to visit new countries in Europe and learn about each one’s culture while making an attempt to reach for its highest point.
Next year we are ready for a new long-term adventure: A family Odyssey to the Edge of the World. During four exciting adventures, we’ll cross some of the most fascinating mountain areas on Earth located in the North-South-East-West on the Planet. We [expect it will take] 18 months. We will use a different way of travelling for each adventure. Stay tuned on our Facebook page for more information in the near future.
Inspired? Take a look at these featured trips from our members:
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[All photos by Kim Broux and Jochem Cuypers]