Thoughts on remote travel (With Kids)

Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014 at 16:27

Baz - The Landy



Photos: Baz - The Landy

Living life to the fullest, taking risks, knowing your limitations, these are questions I frequently ponder. It isn’t something I dwell on; it is more of a musing from time to time.

Recently there were a couple of threads posted in the forum about remote area travel with young children; people weighing the pros and cons, and many comments from people both for and against which were articulated very well…

At the time I of these posts I penned a blog Trip Planning Everything has risk associated with it.

Recently I was involved in a similar discussion and thought I would reproduce an article I wrote some time ago. It doesn’t specifically relate to four-wheel drive travel – but it easily could in the context of those recent forum posts.

And before proceeding further, let me say that as a family we are not special in any way, the only thing that sometimes sets us apart is a willingness to give it a go after assessing all the risks, nothing more...

Personally I have always been encouraged by the words penned by Helen Keller...

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in name, nor do the children of man as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

Mrs Landy; Janet, my partner, thinks along the same lines and is always very supportive of the adventures I have undertaken; many which she is involved in. The only questions she usually asks are have you thought through the risks, prepared as best you could, and are you ready?

I’m fortunate to have someone so supportive. Mind you, Mrs Landy is no wall-flower when it comes to adventure and applies the same principles of risk assessment herself. Whether it is when she jumps from a plane with, or abseils down a building!

My mountaineering goals are as high as the largest mountains that can be found. I want to experience the joy and satisfaction, the freedom and beauty that mountains can bring into our lives.

It is a personal thing, shared by many and what better place to do it than the majestic Himalayan Mountains...

And rest assured, I have no morbid fascination of pushing to the limits of flirting with death, I’ll be happy to slowly slide away peacefully when my time comes! And I would sooner that be in one of my favourite outback places, than on the side of a mountain…

But I have been cognisant of the impact it has on those around me, both negative and positive, and especially our son, TomO.

We want to bring him up in an environment where he is encouraged to pursue his dreams and to believe that anything is possible. We feel that this is possibly one of life’s most important lessons. Sure, school teaches many things, but it stops short of some of life’s most valuable lessons, which can only ever be experienced, not learnt.

And when is a good time I hear many people ask - and my response is usually, no time like the present!

This is one of the reasons we have travelled the Australian Outback with him since he was a baby!

He has also shown signs from an early age hat he is heading down this path of thinking...willing to throw himself at life!

One of my goals is to climb Cho Oyu in the Himalayan Mountains, possibly next year following some setbacks I experienced in 2013. It seems a long way off, but as we all know, time seems to fly-by so fast.

But in all honesty, Cho Oyu is part of a bigger journey and TomO casually asked me a few months ago whether I intend to attempt a climb of Mt Everest.

I wanted to be measured in my answer, but truthfully the answer is yes, so I just told him that.

Highlighting that it is a journey that may take me there, but it isn’t my real focus just at the moment. In fact, the journey isn’t about climbing Mt Everest either, but it hopefully will form part of the dream, the journey, to see what I am capable of...

One step at a time is what I told him and if it goes the way I would like, and I retain good health, then it might be a chance sometime in the next 3 years.

But having dreams and aspirations goes a long way to defining who we are, part of the mosiac that is life itself...

Before climbing in New Zealand last year, TomO left me a note to say that one day he might be standing on top of Mt Everest with me.

He had obviously given it some thought, and I’ve spent quite some time reading that note over many times…

Perhaps it is a dream; a child’s feeling of wanting to follow in the footsteps of those close to them, to emulate them.

Importantly, it gives us feedback that TomO is developing a line of thought that gives him the confidence to pursue his dreams, whatever they are. We couldn't ask for anything more...

The other day I casually asked him was that truly a goal he would like to pursue, standing on Mt Everest with me? Asking what was his motivation to do it?

“Yes”, he said. “How great it would be to experience that feeling of the mountains you have described to me, and doing it together makes it even better.”

He shows maturity beyond his age sometimes. Mind you, he is a 14-year old, so rest assured, not all the time!

Mrs Landy was there and we both told him there is plenty of time to think it through, although we highlighted that he will need to prepare for it if that is his dream, his desire...

Maybe the enormity of the task is lost on him presently and we will see how it unfolds. There is no pressure from us and we are ever so careful to ensure he understands that, no matter what it is he is pursuing. We are placing no expectations on him whatsoever, but endeavouring to help him understand it is important to develop and set your own expectations.

But it puts to the test our resolve to support him in any endeavour he wants to undertake.

Later, I asked Janet what she thought of “her boys” heading off to Mt Everest together?

Her reply was simple and uncomplicated.

“It scares me”, she said

“But if that time comes I will walk every step of the way to base camp with you, after all life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

So my advice is simple when it comes to remote area travel, travel that might seemingly be your own Mt Everest; plan and research well, assess the risks, take advice, but equally, don’t let the prejudices of others put you off…

You only get one shot at life, at least that is what the little voice in my head is always reminding me of...

As a footnote… “The Landy” came about as a consequence of owning three Land Rover Defenders, but as you can see this has now changed and yes, thank you, I've recovered fully!

And whilst I'm reluctant to refer to the new vehicle as “The Landy” that’s for sure; the owners’ of either brand would never forgive me!

But “The Landy” reference has stuck, so “The Landy” it is…
“Those who don’t think
it can be done shouldn’t
bother the person doing it…”
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