The Power of Experiences

Over the years, I've talked a lot on this blog about living a life of adventure. To me, life is meant to be lived to the fullest, regardless of the constraints that hold some people back: location, money, and time being the biggest factors. For years, I let these three things hold me back from doing much of anything until I changed my attitude. Slowly but surely, I learned to experience all that I could with what little time I have away from work (there's more than you think), with limited funds (it doesn't take much, if any, money to have adventures and envious experiences), and with where I lived (turns out, there's adventure to be had no matter where you are).

It started with a desire to not only live a life full of adventure and rewarding experiences for myself but, by default, my children as well. Now, years later and with more money at my disposal, I still live by the simplistic idea of gifting my children with experiences that money cannot buy.

My kids climbing the rocks at Devil's Tower in Wyoming.

They've learned to appreciate and love museums, day trips, picnics, festivals, hiking, and they have a tremendous love for the great outdoors - just like me. 

My daughter gazes into the Devil's Icebox at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park in Missouri.

When the kids were younger and I was flirting with the poverty line - something that plagued me for many years - I used to feel ashamed and guilty that I couldn't buy them all the things that their friends' parents did for their friends. Instead, I gave them what I could: experiences. 

My kids stop for a drink and a snack on our way back down from the top of Bear Butte in South Dakota.

Even though I can now afford to buy them things and take them to do things that cost money - and we do, do these things - we still strive to fill our lives with exciting and fun experiences done with a sense of adventure. Because you know what? A life filled with amazing experiences and adventure is infinitely a lot more fun. My kids look back on all those poor years as being fun and exciting because it was! 

My son walks on a trail in the forest of Neale Woods in Nebraska.

I give my children the gift of experiences whenever possible. Because of this, they love & respect nature, they think museums are cool, they love taking day trip adventures to explore where we live, and they think picnic sandwiches are the best sandwiches. 

My kids look out over the landscape from the top of the Loess Hills ridges in Waubonsie State Park in Iowa.

Life is short, and it isn't meant to be lived exclusively from a couch or a chair. You don't need to give your kids things. Things are material and don't last forever. Experiences, however, do last forever. My kids will never forget standing at the top of Black Elk Peak - the highest point in South Dakota and the highest point between the Rocky Mountains and the Pyrenees in France - and looking out over the world. For them, nothing I could ever give them would rival that amazing experience. Nothing.


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