Monday, August 31, 2015

Cultivating Adventure: A Walk in the Woods

I have a lot of really fond memories of time spent outside as a kid. I played computer and video games way too much, watched way too much TV, but still managed to enjoy a rich and active outdoor life.

Heidi and I rode our bikes all over the neighborhood. My brother and I explored the creepy dam behind the park. We made snow forts, had water fights, walked around in the woods pretending to be lost in a haunted forest.

Ryan skateboarded and rode his bike all over our hometown. He built forts and climbed mountains, played hide-and-go-seek in the dark with his cousins.

Our joyful memories combined with the sad state of today’s children makes it pretty easy to determine we want something better for our children. We want them to climb trees and pretend they’re explorers, to ride bikes and chase squirrels and dig holes that wreck our yard.

Sometimes that’s easier said than done, though. Sometimes it’s too hot or I have too much laundry or too many errands. So we stay inside. And he has fun. He runs around and plays and laughs. But it’s not the same.

Blogging for Books sent me A Walk in the Woods, which I’ve actually had on my list for a few years now. Because it’s being (been?) made into a movie, starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte, they re-released the paperback and I was a lucky duck.

I read the book pretty quickly, and it’s now sitting in Ryan’s pile because he just HAS to read it! I also sent a text message to my father-in-law just a few chapters into it and told him he has just got to read it too.

The book is an account of the author’s (Bill Bryson) time spent hiking the Appalachian Trail, a hike from Georgia to Maine. (Fun fact: I say Apple-Ay-Shun… but most of the people where I live pronounce it Apple-Atch-Un. How do you say it?) He talks about all of the interesting people, places, things, hiking/camping tribulations he comes across along the way. His writing style really drew me in. I found this book really informative and inspiring, but also really funny. I like that in a non-fiction. If I wanted a textbook I’d read a textbook, you know?

The whole time I was reading it, I found myself thinking about all kinds of adventures we could have. We played outside a lot more than had been, too. It seems like we normally alternate between a whole morning spent playing at the park or hiking, then two days stuck inside. A long morning outside, two days inside. Not the way I want to do things! So now it’s part of our morning routine to spend at least ten minutes of every morning outside. I start every day with a quick note in my one-line journal and a passage in my Mom’s Devotional Bible. So now I’m just doing that in the backyard while the toddler plays and the baby smiles and giggles in her bouncy seat. Then I water the veggies and play with the kids for a few minutes. Some days we stayed out longer, other days that was the end of it.

One of my two-year-old’s words is adventure (“Uh-ben-sure”) which makes me really happy. A Walk in the Woods made me that much more determined to create a million and one uh-ben-sures for him.

Have you read this one? Are you interested in the movie? 

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


  1. I do want to see the movie. Dont be too hard on yourself about not being outside more with the kids. They are still really young & most of the memories your talking about- you were most likely an older kid eh? I know Ryan was. They are still at the age you have to watch them all the time.

  2. I watched the trailer. It looks like a good movie. I am glad you enjoyed playing outside as a kid. I know I sure enjoyed watching you build pyramids with friends, making lemonade stands, jumping on the trampoline, and pogo stick hopping around on the patio. Keep up the tradition of creative play both indoors and out.


Thanks so much for your comments! I always read them, don't always have time to answer quickly. Sorry about that!