The experiences and memories that can be created from being out in nature are incomparable to anything else.  Even now as we continue on this journey, it brings me back to the trips I would take with my parents over twenty years ago. 

Before the travels around the world and the birth of my other deep-rooted passion of learning and connecting with different cultures, nature was my first love.

Childhood Memories Are Unlike Anything Else

My fond recollections of running through a field of dry, crinkled leaves or having an impromptu picnic next to pretty much any body of water really first began before I could even say the words to express my gratitude. 

I have a few particular memories of some summer day trips in New York.  

I would describe impressive forests that could fit an entire country. 

My parents would tell me that we didn’t go anywhere special, just some small parks and picnic areas, but you couldn’t convince my pre-adolescent self that the places were anything less than magical.

I still remember walking through the muddy, uneven paths in the woods.  The kids would separate from the parents and a group of us would go exploring. 

At the time, it felt like we had disappeared far into the wilderness away from all supervision and security, left to fend for ourselves.  And, even though the child in me would have you picturing a scene from Lord Of The Flies, it probably wasn’t any farther than 30 feet away from the picnic tables.

My Fuzzy Little Caterpillar Friend

I have a detailed memory of meeting a special little caterpillar.  He had miniature dancing penguin shapes covering his fuzzy, segmented tiny body. 

I held him in my hand and let him roam up and down my arm freely as I watched him in fascination.  I was never one to be a fan of things with more than four feet, but for some reason this little guy has imprinted a memory in my brain that stays with me even until now.

There might be some experiences that wouldn’t be as pleasant from a parent’s perspective.  A hilarious memory comes to mind when a few of us kids went exploring once again. 

This time we were hanging around the lake and picking berries off of the tree.  Fresh, ripe, and sweet raspberries and blueberries all for our picking, it was wonderful. 

Plopping Butt First Into Murky Waters

As I made my way around the small hill looking over the lake, I jumped on to a steeper one to get closer to some berries.

As I grabbed a full branch with excitement, I slipped and plopped butt first into the water.  This wasn’t the type of lake you picture surrounded by mountains and so clear you can see the seaweed. 

This was musty, stinky and far from clear. 

And now, so was I. 

As I shivered naked under my towel in the backseat on the way home, I was still laughing.  And to this day, I’m still laughing as I remember something that could have only happened in nature.

Children Have Imaginations That Are Meant to be Explored and Nourished

Nature is the perfect location to do all that while bonding and creating unforgettable moments.  Mother Nature provides all of her own entertainment, soundtrack and the characters are never reoccurring. 

One day you could encounter a friendly caterpillar and the next you could find a silly mountain goat having some lunch on the side of the road in Zion National Park.  It’s an adventure that could never be planned or expected and that’s exactly the best part. 

So, grab the family, pick a random green spot on the map and go create some stories to tell and laugh about in the future.



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