Over this past few days I’ve witnessed my eldest daughter attend her Prom, watched her accept her High School diploma (with a 93% average I must add), and as I type, we’re prepare for her grad party. How I managed to raise two intelligent, thoughtful, beautiful and generally incredible daughters still amazes me but, I did and I’m incredibly thankful and proud of the people they have become.
So, the milestone of my eldest essentially finishing her childhood and moving into adult life is now behind me. I have one more daughter who is also developing into an incredible young woman and I look forward to continuing to guide her into her adult life as a woman who questions authority, doesn’t accept statements on face value without doing her own research into the facts and who cares about social justice and doing the right thing regardless of the any negative consequences.
But, its time for me to hit the road now. I need to do this for myself; for my own sanity; and to find meaning in my own life. But its not just about me. I’m taking this path for my kids too. Some may feel I’m “abandoning” my children by going on this extended journey but nothing could be further from the truth.
I define myself first as a father and secondly by what I may or may not do for a living, what hobbies I might have or what groups I may belong to. Always have. I have always been the more “maternal” parent to my kids and that won’t change simply because I’m on the road. To me, this trip is just as important in my parenting of these two girls as changing their diapers or helping them get over the heart break of their first crush.
Yes, this trip is for me to explore new cultures and define my own “normal” but it is just as important to me that, in doing this, I am trying to show my children that they can do whatever they want, whenever they want, and however they want.
I’ve received two basic reaction when people here about the new path I’m following. they are either incredibly supportive and jealous of me for doing this or, they think I’m batshit crazy and/or a bad person for abandoning my “supposed” good life here in Moncton.
To me though, and this is the point I hope my children learn earlier in their adulthood than later… white picket fences, 2 cars in the driveway, Calvin Klein underwear, matching dinnerware, scented candles, working 50 hour weeks to earn money for more crap you don’t need, or worse, taking out bank loans for things like vacations… THAT’S batshit crazy..
So, to my children, before you get “trapped” in a “normal” North American life… “throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbour, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.”
2 days to go and I board that plane to the rest of my life.
I will miss my children horribly but thankfully Facetime and Skype mean seeing and talking with them is just a mouse click away. That’s the beauty of Flashpacking. Technology makes this lifestyle achievable. Plus my children will both spends weeks if not months with me in various foreign countries each year.
That is the gift I hope to give my children.