Currently Wandering » Outdoor Family, Adventure Travel, Simple Living - Family of 5 Traveling the United States in an Airstream.

I Don’t Trust Myself in Suburbia

Cecret Lake Hike_18

“Just get out the door. Just get out the door,” I chant to myself as things start to look bleak for our afternoon adventure. In a perfect world, our kids jump up, excited to get out the door and explore. The reality, however, usually consists of a whole lot of whining.

“I don’t want to go,” says Rachel, our oldest. “That doesn’t sound fun. Do we have to?”

I sigh, count to ten and then looked at my daughter. “Yes. We really need to get outside. We are going and I want absolutely no more complaining. You’ll feel better when we get there.” The longer we go without hiking, the harder it is to get everyone motivated.

Rachel looks at me doubtfully, but nods realizing she’s lost this battle and heads toward the bedroom to change into her hiking pants.

We have been staying with my parents in Utah for over a week and this was the first opportunity we had to get outside on a hike. With Little Cottonwood Canyon only about 20 minutes away, I feel like a complete failure because it has taken us so long to carve out an afternoon to get up there. We are advocates for an active, outdoor, adventure, family-oriented lifestyle so what does that say about me when I can’t even get us out the door in over a week?

It says that life in Suburbia is hard and we are cheaters.

There’s something about being in a house (luckily not my own) that makes me lazy. As a family, its so much easier to spread out into the far corners of the house and be completely unaware of each other. The kids are upstairs playing nicely, so I’ll jump on my laptop for a few minutes and suddenly an hour goes by and I have no idea what anyone else doing. Its much easier to let the kids stay inside and play with toys than it is to grab our gear and hit the trails. Its even easier to let grandma play with the kids while I “get things done”.

I just don’t trust myself in a “normal,” suburban lifestyle. I don’t have the willpower to get us outside and exploring from a house, and I love how much we’ve been able to explore over the last two years from our Airstream. Its cheating. We don’t have to deal with soccer, or cub scout meetings, or neighborhood friends, or all the other distractions that pull us away from each other and use up all of our time. Don’t get me wrong – those things can be good. They just aren’t what is best for us right now.

As we hike up the hill towards Cecret Lake, I watch my kids break up ice in the frozen stream, and stare with wonder at the sky as it starts to snow. They run up the trail with their cousins, and for the first time in over a week I start to relax. I knew we’d all feel better after a little outdoor therapy, but I never realize how much better until we get there.

Rachel looks over at me and smiles. “Thanks for bringing us up here,” she says. “Its so nice to be back outside!”

I know exactly what she means.
Cecret Lake Hike_02


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  • Mara@thefullnelsonexperience - Wow! You said it spot on! Although we’ve never traveled full-time, the way you described it is exactly what life is like in suburbia with kids. Even with a healthy and active lifestyle, sometimes you just get so wrapped up in feeling the need to get things done because in reality there is always so much to get done (the unfortunate, sad part of having too much stuff).ReplyCancel

  • Crissa - What a great post. I understand what you mean about suburbia just kinda sucking you in. That’s how we felt this past summer being stationary. It was all we could do to get outdoors to do anything.

    I love Rachel’s words to you!ReplyCancel

  • Meghan Caldwell - So true! It is so easy to get caught up and not get outside and playing. Thanks for the extra motivation 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Jen N Daniel - I completely agree! And similarly, I say to people about homeschooling.. “Hey, I took the easy way out. Now I don’t have to deal with teachers, school districts, or deadlines.” Cheaters! 😉ReplyCancel

  • Kate @thestreamlinedlife - Such an honest and good post, Jess. And I completely understand what you’re saying here. We struggle with the same things, and I find it hard to keep up with all the household stuff, let alone getting out and exploring. The few short trips we’ve taken with the Casita has shown me the alternative, and I crave that. It may be “cheating” like you said, but it’s so totally worth it!

    Hope your return to Chicago and getting back on the road goes smoothly!


  • Meg - Surbia is tough. It is so easy to over schedule and spread out in the big houses. This post is a great reminder that the lawn can wait, tonight we must get outside as a family!ReplyCancel

  • Indiana Dunes, Chicago, & 2.5 Whirlwind Weeks in Suburbia » Currently Wandering - […] going CRAZY. We had been in Utah for over a week and had not made it into the mountains once. In a recent blog post I wrote that I don’t trust myself in Suburbia and that living on the road was actually a […]ReplyCancel

  • The Truth About Our Outdoor, Adventure-Focused Family » Currently Wandering - […] admitted in a past blog post that we are cheaters. Suburbia IS hard to get away from. Outdoor sports are less conveniently […]ReplyCancel

  • Why We’ve Downsized … Again | Our Streamlined Life - […] putting a damper on our adventurous spirits. I often think of Jess Curren’s excellent post, I Don’t Trust Myself in Suburbia, and somehow, the camper was starting to feel like our own personal version of suburbia. (If you […]ReplyCancel

  • The Good and Bad of Temporarily Living in a Sticks and Bricks House » Currently Wandering - […] wrote over a year ago about how I Don’t Trust Myself in Suburbia. While I feel that I’ve made some progress since then, the struggle is still real. Its so […]ReplyCancel

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