I guess it all started with my brother. Del is something of an outdoorsman and, oh, about 10 years ago, he invited me to go kayaking with him down the Wekiwa River. I agreed, failing to tell him that I don't swim and have a huge fear of all things *water*. Nonetheless, I strapped on a life vest, got in the kayak, and pushed off. While the actual trip down the river and back up was completely uneventful, I managed to scare myself and freak out every 30 seconds. In the end, I promised myself that I had taken my first...and last...trip in a kayak.
Fast forward to about a year ago. One of my facebook friends posted pictures from a kayak tour she had taken in Cocoa Beach, and I was intrigued. I did a little research and found http://www.kayakcocoabeach.com/ . It seemed safe enough, affordable enough, and they even allowed kids. From there it just kind of blossomed; We took vacation during Olivia's spring break, booked a spot at a campground near the kayak launch, and just went for it. Our first family camping trip, first kayak tour...aside from that one trip with my brother...
I suppose at this point I could introduce myself. I'm Paula, wife of Robert for almost 15 years, mom of Olivia (age 5). Employee, geocacher, lazy bones. Former roller derby referee, seeker of new experiences to enjoy with my family. Enjoyer of naps.
Okay, now that that's done...The camping trip changed us. Being outdoors and realizing the beauty we have around us in this great state of Florida really spoke to Robert and me. We even want to buy kayaks now! One of Rob's coworkers, Chris, went on this trip with us. He loves all things outdoors and encouraged us to open our eyes a little bit. Chris mentioned a book he has, the State Park Passport. I guess you take it from state park to state park and get a stamp from each one. It resonated with me. Living right around the corner from Blue Spring State Park, we stopped by and bought the passport book before we even made it home from camping.
The book is really neat...it breaks the state parks into regions and is alphabetical within region. Each park has its own page with information and amenities. There are officially 160 parks in this book, and our first stamp was from our purchase at Blue Spring. We have been slowly planning day trips to other local state parks with the goal of getting outside and having fun as a family.
See, neither Rob nor I grew up doing many outdoorsy kinds of things. In fact, he asked me yesterday what kinds of things we did as a family when I was a kid, and I could really only remember shopping, cleaning, and road trips to Grandma's house. Now that Olivia is old enough to appreciate it, we want to instill in her some kind of love for the outdoors and just want to give her the type of upbringing we didn't have.
So it made me think. One hundred sixty state parks in one year is quite a lot to cram in, and the appreciation factor would most likely be lost. Especially when Rob works a lot of weekends. But what can we accomplish in a year? We may not make it to all the state parks, but we'll make it to more than we did last year. Or any year, for that matter. So this is what I'm planning for this blog: To chronicle our year of getting outdoors. Taking day trips, spending time together as a family. Heck, it might not even be a state park, but it also won't be on the couch, in front of the TV. It will be a year of making an effort to change our horizon just a little bit.
Are you in?