I love traveling with my family and almost as much as I love the adventure of travel, I love the excitement of planning our trips. It becomes a bit of a personal challenge to find the fastest route and choose the best itinerary to cram the most experiences possible into the precious few days we get to spend on vacation. Sticking to the plan has always been crucial in my book, for fear we might miss out on something important.
Our family vacations have become a bit of a rat race. Our upcoming fall road trip has been planned into time blocks to the point that I can tell you where we’ll be at any given hour of the day. Often our trips are to Disney parks, at which I have become an expert at getting the absolute most out of our time. But now I’m beginning to think that maybe we’re not getting as much as we could out of our vacations because of all of my planning.
Sounds strange? I know, but stick with me here.
The Kirkby Family, parents Bruce and Christine and their sons Bodi, 7, and Taj, 3, experienced one of the most epic adventures that I have ever seen. In Big Crazy Family Adventure, Travel Channel is documenting their trip across 13,000 miles in 96 days with NO AIRPLANES. You heard me right, folks. Land and water travel only. Their adventure begins in British Columbia, Canada and by the end of the series, they will arrive in Ladakh, India.
In episode 4, the family spent time in China, acclimating themselves to higher altitudes before heading to Nepal. They climbed a remote section of the Great Wall of China, taught the children how to barter with merchants in local markets, and even gave us a little lesson in the best technique for using squat toilets. Important life lesson for everyone! We bit our nails waiting to find out whether their Nepal travel permits are approved or if they’ll have to change their itinerary to take a longer route to India.
Like so many of us, the family’s decision to take this amazing trip was to allow their children to have new experiences and see different cultures and to bond as a family. In watching the show, it quickly became apparent that the Kirkbys have realized something that I had not. Travel planning is a good thing, but finding enjoyment in your trip isn’t about checking off everything on your must-see list for the day. It’s about enjoying the moment and enjoying it together.
While they had planned their trip carefully and had many sights and experiences that they wanted to include, they didn’t fret much over any change in plans and left plenty of time for everyday adventures to simply find them. An abandoned excursion due to the danger of altitude sickness turned into an afternoon of bowling in their hotel. An afternoon snack allowed them to take part in a Tai Chi class in a park. A moment of a child being tired and overwhelmed on a hike turned into a scavenger hunt for different kinds of poo, earning the kids extra shopping money.
Not only am I thinking more about finding the joy in the journey itself and learning to have more unstructured vacation time to simply soak in the adventures happening naturally around us, but I am also now hooked on following the Kirkby’s adventure, to see what other amazing experiences they find on their way. Tune in to Big Crazy Family Adventure on Sunday nights at 9 PM ET on Travel Channel to follow along and be inspired to create your own big family adventure.
We were contacted and invited by the Travel Channel to preview this program as a part of a sponsored campaign and have received compensation. All opinions our own.