good life with valerie barton
Part of cultivating a good life is finding joy in the journey.
My family loves adventure! Whether it’s hiking trails through the wilderness or enjoying museums in the city, we are always on the lookout for a new quest. Though the years, I have learned some important things about the journey to adventure.
1. It’s important to not be so focused on the destination that you forget to enjoy the scenery along the way. We are a family that travels by automobile, no matter how far away the destination might be. Since some of our trips can be very long and over multiple days, we have learned to look for exciting opportunities along the way. Our most recent hiking adventure involved a 24 hour drive to Utah. When my daughter realized that we would be driving on the Interstate near an art installation called Cadillac Ranch in Texas, she asked if we could stop. We made a point of looking up the directions and seeking out the hip pop culture exhibit. Since it is an interactive art installation, we were able to add our own artistic touch as well. Yes, the detour made our journey a little longer, but we have a wonderful memory of the adventure.
2. Exploration doesn’t have to be reserved only for vacation time. With one child in college and the other a school teacher, sometimes it’s hard to schedule vacation time. We make it a priority to explore wherever we are, whenever we can. We have visited many state parks, museums, and places of interest in our state. Last year we had conflicting schedules and different spring breaks. Since we couldn’t take a trip all together, we took smaller exploration trips when each child was home. We explored old general stores, antebellum homes, and iconic restaurants in our state. Any time we travel to visit family or friends we search the internet for exploration possibilities near where we will be. We have found great old barns, covered bridges, and fascinating scenery that were close to places we had visited many times but never knew where they were located until we did an internet search. Our family time is enriched by sharing these experiences.
3. Sometimes the journey IS the adventure. We live near a section of the Natchez Trace Parkway. The Old Natchez Trace is a historic forest trail that runs from Natchez, MS to Nashville, TN. The trail was created by Native Americans and later used by early explorers and traders. Today the path is commemorated by the Natchez Trace Parkway which follows the approximate path of the Old Trace. We decided to take the Parkway all the way from end to end and to also explore the many trails and scenic stops along the way. The expedition took several days to make the trip to Nashville. Although we could have driven straight through in one day, the experience of this unique journey was the true adventure.
So whether your adventure is big or small, don’t be afraid to get off the beaten path and explore. It is well worth the journey.
Valerie is a part of our Creative Team using the Digital Product. Her family consists of her husband of 27 years Mark and her two children — Kaitlyn (24) and son Addison (20). She is currently experiencing the empty nest lifestyle.