A while ago I interviewed Ingrid about cycling the length of the Americas with her husband and daughter. It was a popular post about an amazing family experience. Instinctively I felt that taking a child on a grand adventure like this must be a great thing to do. But I wasn’t too sure, so I decided to ask Kate (then 8, now 13) for her thoughts on the experience.
Why did your parents decide to take you away on the big adventure?
Because they are crazy. They have been taking me off on adventures since as long as I can remember although this was the longest.
What did you think about the plan? Were you happy or would you rather have stayed at home with your friends?
To be honest when they asked me I didn’t give it much thought. When I was that age I didn’t really think that far ahead. I guess when you are younger you are less aware of how big things are. If I hadn’t wanted to do it though it wouldn’t have happened. I always get a say in the plans.
How do you feel now when you look back at the trip? Do you often think or talk about it?
I love looking back on the trip and I often think about it. I don’t think I talk about it too much. (My friends might disagree!)
What were the best and worst parts of the adventure?
It’s a hard question to answer. For me it was just a way of life for 2 years. Some of the toughest parts of the trip were also the best parts. Like the places where we had the hardest times or felt scared is the ones we look back on with the most fond memories. Like Mum and Dad always say that travelling through Mexico was the most challenging bit for them but if anyone asked which was my favourite country one of them would be Mexico.
Has the adventure had a positive or a negative effect on your school work?
I think mainly a positive effect. My Mum did schoolwork with me for about an hour every day and I had her all to myself. We took some really good workbooks with stickers all about a wizard called Wizard Whimstaff and his friends. My Dad practiced times tables with me on the bike and then asked me questions like how long it would take to get to somewhere depending on how fast we were going. As for subjects like Geography and History well we didn’t need books because the real thing was right there in front of me so if we passed glaciers we learnt about those and in Peru we learnt about the Incas or volcanoes in Costa Rica or whatever we saw every day. I wrote a journal about my experiences and emailed it back to my class.
What would your advice be to other parents who are wondering about doing a big family adventure?
My advice to other parents if you want to travel with kids is try and do it when they are fairly young I mean I am 13 now and the idea of going away and leaving my friends for 2 years sounds much harder than back then. I found it easier to adapt and making new friends a lot less scary.
What would you say to people who think that children are too small, fragile and weak to travel around poor and maybe dangerous parts of the world?
I think that is rubbish I can tell you I was a lot tougher than my Mum and Dad!!!
Do you still do adventurous things now you are back home? If so, what do you do?
I have been kayaking my own sea kayak since I got back from the trip. My parents and I have almost finished kayaking around Skye together and I am in the kayak club. The 3 of us cycled from Lands End to John O Groats last summer. And I trekked to Everest Base Camp when I was 11.
Would you like to do more adventures? If so, what would you like to do?
If my future adventures adventures are like the ones I’ve had then without a doubt though I’m not sure where or when or how. I guess I’ll just have to find out.
My new book, Grand Adventures, is out now.
It’s designed to help you dream big, plan quick, then go explore.
The book contains interviews and expertise from around 100 adventurers, plus masses of great photos to get you excited.
I would be extremely grateful if you bought a copy here today!
Thank you so much!