Naomi Chandler | adventure mum
Just go do it…
My “into the wild” moment was far from the wilderness of my island home, on board a Boeing 787, ten thousand feet above the pacific.
I remember feeling saddened that I wanted to do more with my boys, something that was unique to what they did with their dad, something to create memories special to just us. Then there, across the isle of the plane, was a lady reading a Bushwalking Australia book. I knew straight away that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be that super weird adventurous parent that maps out hikes with the kids, carrying a monster pack and listening to them whinge the entire way. I couldn’t wait to do exactly that.
I had no idea, I didn’t know where to start. I’d never taken my boys on a hike, or even a day walk. I didn’t have any gear, I wore a suit everyday, I had no friends that hiked, and I had no idea about the where or how to. It all looked way too expensive and overwhelming but I wanted make it happen, and at the end of the day all I needed was the will and want to make those memories.
I started small and did the regular tourist circuits. Then I bought maps, then proper boots, and it all just slowly came together. The weekend after I came home we set out on a crisp, clear June morning at Freycinet National Park. We were setting out on the 11km Hazards circuit. To avoid the sight seers we did the walk in reverse. In our sneakers. With school backpacks. We slipped over, struggled up stairs, and got wet, bruised backsides. But we also laughed so much, took so many photos, found treasures on the beach, and created the memories I was aching to create.
That walk was 3 years ago. Since then we have tackled dozens of hikes. Mountains in the North and East of Tasmania, from Mount Arthur to Bear Hill on Shouten Island. Day walks into the West, and our biggest achievement of 5 nights in the depths of Lake Sinclair National Park where we reached the peak of Mount Ossa in 35 degree heat. I did that with my oldest son. His greatest achievement which I helped to create for him. Something I am so humbled by.
I’m now partnered with 3 step sons, and all they want to do with just me, independent of their dad, is climb a mountain. And that is just what we do. It’s special in so many ways. Even the journey there - road tripping, music, stories, games, and disconnecting from devices. It’s magic.
We are so blessed to live in Tasmania. To have amazing, accessible trails. Just go do it. Take your children along – they won’t be forever young.