What are your most profound childhood memories?
As I think about my childhood the first things that come to my mind is trekking in the Swiss Alps with my parents and sleeping inside our 4X4 while roadtriping along the European mountains during the holidays. I was always very lucky (I think anyway!) that my parent were always wanting to canoe down one of the major rivers in Portugal or trek during the night to observe nocturnal wildlife…
And without barely noticing, Paul reminds me that I am getting too excited, my voice rises and I have the biggest smile across my face – I have really good memories about my childhood vacations and weekends. Because life without adventure can get a little sketchy, my parents always (still today) make an effort to turn most things into advents. And I cannot thank them enough for exposing me to things that seemingly only happen when parents share their wildest dreams with their children…
And the fact is that in this “bubble wrap” world where most of the time overprotecting parenting styles rule, children take a special pride in knowing how to get to a place through a shortcut that parents don’t know, paddle a canoe with adults and even try to paddle by themselves.
I still remember how proud I was to be part of different “adventures”, to be the only child involved and especially to be part of the discussion around the campfire about our strategy on how to tackle the next stretch of the river in the morning. And as in any adventure, this reminded me how to be part of a team, and each person had different roles and that overall we needed each other to get to the bottom of this river.
The pictures here are from a trip that was featured in a Portuguese Adventure Magazine in 1991. I was 8 years old and we spent 4 days paddling down the Sado River in Portugal, camping on the side of the river. It brings back such great memories.
It doesn’t mean that my parents weren’t aware of the risk involved, they were actually fully aware. Since a very early age I learnt safety rules from each of them. Since I was 5 I’ve practiced with my parents how to survive in case a canoe/kayak rolls over. I learnt how to lean backwards or forwards when going down rapid waters. In fact, research has proven that reasonable risks are essential for children’s healthy development. This was a thrilling experience that over the years made me love kayaking and made Paul and I buy our own Kayak to seek to the same exhilaration that I had when I was 8 years old.