As children, my brother Zach and I watched Disney's Swiss Family Robinson over and over. We'd watch it, rewind it, and plead with Mom to let us watch it again. She rarely let us watch two movies back-to-back, even if was the same film. So, we'd hop up and pretend our own Swiss Family Robinson adventure, imagining our clubhouse was our very own tree-house, secluded on a private tropical island, complete with roaming tigers and coconut bombs. We'd concoct "delicious" meals in our sandbox, gleaning fruits and edible plants from our bordering woods.
Our Missouri suburbia acreage hardly mirrored the exotic climate of the Robinson's island. Even so, we could fabricate an environment that brought us great joy...not because we had the ideal setting, but because we desired to make the most of what we did have.
Adventure is more about imagination and playfulness than it is about setting or circumstances.
As an adult, I've lost touch with this more cheerful approach to life. Crippled by social media and the comparison game, I feel my soul whine, "But, I want to go too...I want to be there, not here. I want a change of setting."
Change of setting isn't bad, nor is vacation--I'm a huge advocate of them both. But, merely surviving 51 weeks a year so you can relax and play on one isn't much of a life. I've done it, and I don't recommend it. Because as soon as you return home and the reality of everyday life pushes in, you start to suffocate. And one week back, I'm asking when can I take another vacation.
All the money in the world won't buy you a rested soul or a playful attitude; you have to acquire that on the everyday adventures, not just the once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
If you are like me, a homeschool mom with another job from home, you know that changing attitude isn't going to "fix" everything. After all, home isn't just a sanctuary of respite; it's our office too. We see every pile, every dusty picture frame, every dirty dish and forgotten toy. The rooms can scream at us for attention. We can ignore it for awhile, but finding the ability to fully exhale doesn't always seem possible. Sometimes we have to get a little more perspective. Leave the house. Even so, you don't have to escape to the Caribbean or spend hundreds of dollars on spa treatment.
Force yourself to think outside the box...but still inside the budget.
*Go to a Farmer's Market and select a few things you've hardly cooked with before. Take it home and try a new recipe.
*Have a bonfire and make s'mores, letting the kids catch fireflies.
*Take a day trip to a town you've never seen; Google a 2-hour radius and see what part of your state (or surrounding states) you've been missing.
*Set up a scavenger hunt around town and see which family team finishes first. Complete the evening by comparing pictures and eating ice cream.
*Play frisbee golf and bring a picnic lunch.
*Hang up a calendar of fun and random holidays: for example, in June, we have doughnut day, juggling day, drive-in movie day, onion ring day, nature photography day, etc.
Have fun with it.
*Concoct your own cooking-challenge by inviting over another couple or two and each bringing three or four items to swap. Set a time and see what you can create.
*Have a themed party for no reason at all: luau (tiki torches, grass skirts, fancy drinks with umbrellas), carnival (ring toss, face painting, hotdogs), tea party (finger sandwiches, fancy hats, tarts), or theme it around a certain ethnic food/culture.
*Have an outdoor painting party.
*Go to an outdoor festival or concert.
For more ideas...
Just remember that creating the idyllic conditions for adventure is more about mindset and a willing spirit. Kids remember the special times we share life together--even if nothing was expensive or elaborate. Be intentional with your time. Set up a "dream list" of adventures to pull from. And have an attitude that says, "We're out to laugh and make memories!"