The Family Adventure Project
Inspiring families to live adventurously, promoting independent family adventure
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The Open Road

The Family Adventure Project is the work of Stuart Wickes and Kirstie Pelling. Our home is a Cumbrian village just South of The Lake District in England's scenic North West. We're a family of five. Kirstie is a feature writer, journalist and promotions producer. Stuart is an independent coach and training consultant. And we share our home and adventure in living with our young but growing children; Matthew, Cameron and Hannah.

We see life as full of opportunity for adventure, if you're open to it. When we first got married, ten years ago, we packed in our jobs and headed off on a six month honeymoon cycle tour of South America. On our return we decided to pack up our house and swapped the madness of city life for the peace of the country . But the village scene proved anything but quiet. The arrival of three children well and truly introduced us to the adventure that is family life and in return we're now helping them develop their own adventurous spirit.

We believe environmentally sensitive, family adventure travel is good for your health, family relationships, education and the planet.   Over the past eight years as a family we've been cycling, eco-touring, road-tripping, sailing, canoeing and railroad riding together on travels in England, Scotland, Ireland, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Samoa, Holland, Spain, France and Sweden, learning about the trials and tribulations, drama and delight of adventuring together as a family. And we hope to share some of our philosophy, experience and observations with others through The Family Adventure Project.

If you want to get out, get active and adventure with your family, we hope you'll find something here to inspire you. As Helen Keller said, 'Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.'  What will yours be?

It all started when.....
 

For a lot of people, the arrival of kids means the end of independent travel. But not for all. On our honeymoon tour we came across a family who showed us it is possible to be responsible parents of young children and retain an adventurous spirit.

We met Nadine Kuczera in a supermarket in Puerto Montt, Chile. We were looking for food; she was looking for crew. We made an impulse buy and agreed to spend a week with her family sailing around icy fjords. Nadine, Bernard and their two children Sofia (11) and Sylvan (7), were no ordinary family. They had sailed from New Zealand to the Southern tip of Chile on a yacht they designed and constructed themselves.

 


Nanu Sail - The Kuczera's family home

This family made their life a journey; their home a speck on the ocean; and the people they met and their everyday experiences their teachers. During our time with the Kuczera family, we saw the potential for an adventurous family life, the possibilities for parenting and teaching through travel, the joys of discovering the world through children's eyes; and the way family adventure develops strong family bonds. When we said goodbye we knew we wanted some of the same for our family.


Inspirational stories of family adventure


Mountain biking on horseback

We know there are hundreds of families just like the Kuczera's exploring the world together; sailing the Pacific, cycling across the Sahara, reindeer sledging across Siberia, biking across America.

These families actively choose to broaden their horizons and undertake adventurous journeys. These experiences provide challenge, learning, excitement and personal development for individual family members and the family as a whole. As part of The Family Adventure Project we're looking to get in touch with them, so we can hear about their experiences of adventure and discover how journeying together has affected their family life.


Here on The Family Adventure Project website we aim to publish stories and provide links to blogs about families that do extraordinary things together. Just as the Kuczera's inspired us, we hope these stories will inspire other ordinary families to inject a little something extraordinary into their lives.

But learning from others is only half the game. We also want to experience adventure for ourselves and see what we learn from it. Our children are no strangers to camping, biking and travelling, having been trailered around behind us since the moment they could hold their heads up. Each year we work hard to create opportunities to get out and experience something of the world together. It's not always easy to find the time, money or energy, especially amongst the many daily demands of family life - washing, vacuuming, school, work, earning a living - but experience tells us once free of the daily chores, broke and living day to day on the road, the rewards are always worth it.


Our Family on a Bike expeditions

Our first big adventure as a family began in November 2004, when we took off on a 10 month, global adventure visiting New Zealand, Western Samoa, the USA and Canada. A major part of this expedition was a six month self supporting cycle tour, pedaling 'end to end' in New Zealand, from Port Adventure near the southern most tip, to Cape Reinga, the most northerly point. From the South Pacific Ocean to the Tasman Sea, over wild, rugged mountains, skirting fjords and lakes, around volcanoes and geysers.

Two adults, two toddlers, two bikes, two trailers riding across two islands and two thousand miles. And on the way, we met up again with the Kuczera family to see how their lives were unfolding.


Our Hobbits on tour


And as we trailed nappies across a Kiwi paradise, coped with tantrums in trailers, and devised ways to keep our little Hobbits safe in a land of adventure, we also wrote about our experiences, blogging a first-hand account of the up's and down's of family life on the road. You can read about and follow our progress throughout the whole expedition here.

Since then, adventures like that have become something of annual event, and sharing the experience with others through blogs has become as much a part of the the journey as the journey itself.  When we journey in the real world we aim to leave no trace, but through our writing look to leave a virtual trail of memories and experience behind in cyberspace, a record of our adventures for the family and to share with others. Here on The Family Adventure Project website you can get a taste of our experiences eco-touring in Polynesia, learning to sail in the Bay of Islands, road tripping through the National Parks of West Coast USA, railroad-riding across Canada and North America, canoeing in the Swedish wilderness, cycling End to End in Britain, following the ancient Pilgrim trail to Santiago in Spain and biking in Holland.


 
The Family Adventure Project - an independent website for family adventure

We believe family adventure has as much to offer ordinary families as it does the extraordinary ones who venture in the extreme. We want to share with others what we learn about the practicalities and possibilities for family adventure and so continue to develop The Family Adventure Project website, our own talks and publications to help inspire, inform and share some of our hard won lessons with others.

Over time we hope www.familyadventureproject.org will become an even richer treasure trove of stories, features, blogs, articles, information, links and useful contacts to do with family adventure. Using the power of the internet we aim to build a virtual community of individuals and families with an interest in adventure, enabling people to share experience, ideas, contacts and advice to make it easier for others to get out, get active and adventure together.

The site is independently run and editorially independent. We are not affiliated to any company or family adventure operators and have no agenda in terms of pushing adventure travel products, services or particular activities. The world of family adventure is a broad church and we say each to their own, whether it's adventure through cycling, riding, sailing, climbing, hiking, skiiing, donkey riding, art, architecture or anything else. We welcome contributions to the website and links from other active adventurous families who wish to share something of their experience, wisdom or adventures.


Living and learning - education and inspiration


School visit in the High Andes of Ecuador

Family journeys have great educational potential. While on the road, we're out to learn whatever we can not just about journeying as a family but also about the landscapes, climates, cultures and natural wonders we encounter. Cycling is out thing and tTraveling light, powering ourselves, camping out, we aim to live and learn with minimal impact, in harmony with nature. We hope our children's early encounters with the world and other adventurous families we meet on the road will help to nurture a lifelong interest, love and respect for life itself.

And while we love learning ourselves, we're equally happy to share experience beyond the immediate family, helping others learn about family adventure, the wonders of nature, environmental issues, the joys of pedal power.


Over the years we've developed a range of educational, entertaining and inspiring talks, lectures and presentations about our adventures and the joys (and pain) of adventuring as a family. And we love to share our passion, learning and ideas with others when invited to schools, colleges, conferences, festivals or community events. If you'd like us to come and talk with you, let us know and we'll see if we can work something out.

 

A network of family adventurers

For us, there's nothing more inspiring than spending time with inspirational people, to see, hear and feel what's possible. That's how this project began and where we hope it will lead. We love nothing better than to hear from and connect with others with an interest in adventuring en famille whether extraordinary families who already adventure together or ordinary families who think they might want to.

With the power of the internet, we're working to build a virtual community of people with an interest in family adventure. You can interact with us and others through our blogs, email, Twitter and other family travel and adventure forums we link to from the site.


A Family birthday at sea

 

The internet is an extraordinary tool for family adventurer's, making it easy to contact and chat with active families spread across the globe, providing ways to get inspiration, advice and valuable local knowledge from the other side of the world, enabling you to adventure further in the real world with greater confidence and the knowledge you may be able to hook up with like minded people when you get there.

We hope The Family Adventure Project may one day be a hub for a global community of active and adventurous families, celebrating the joys of family adventure in aninformal online jamboree. Why not join in the fun? If you want to find us there, look us up on Blogger or Twitter.


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