Today, I am so excited to introduce to you a super RAD guest blogger. Gariele is an all around inspiration. She is the co-founder of Rad Girls Collective and a new mother of beautiful baby Aria. Her and her husband-to-be, Brandon, are the ultimate #coastalcouple who share many incredible adventures (including their latest into parenthood). Gariele is here to tell you today all about adventuring with little ones! Hope you enjoy :) Oh and be sure to head over to her instagram account and give her a follow (linked at the bottom of article) as she has a beautiful dreamy account, full of outdoor inspiration!!
Gariele's Guide to Adventuring with A Baby
Before I had a baby, adventures were easy. All I really needed were my essentials like water, sunscreen, and a camera. Babies are totally different specimens – they need to be cleaned, fed, entertained, cuddled, and carried… all day! I have been a mom for five months, and I already feel like an expert. My daughter, Aria, has taught me everything I need to know, and while I still have plenty more to learn, here’s what I can tell you now:
Reevaluate the “10 essentials”
Any outdoor expert will tell you that a packing checklist is incomplete without the 10 essentials. Babies also have an essentials list, except maps are swapped for diapers and compasses for wipes! Even then, each baby will have its own list. Our adventures with Aria are usually to beaches, boats, and short hiking trails, so our 10 essentials list looks like this:
- Diapers & wipes
- Change of clothes & hat
- Pop-up tent
- Infant life jacket
- Tear-free sunscreen
- Swim diapers
- Baby carrier
Don’t underestimate the rest stop
How many times have you been on the highway and driven past signs for rest stops? Often it’s so easy to just wait until the next town before having a snack or stopping to stretch those legs. Babies don’t care where you are – when they need a break, they need a break. I’ve driven across the country a few times and know the value in rest stops. They’re usually in a great location – right next to a river, looking up at a mountain range – and have all of the amenities. On busier highways, rest stops sometimes even have clubhouses with maps, playgrounds, and air conditioning!
Leave pride and expectations at home
You might not be able to hike, walk, or run the fastest, but you’ll get there eventually. Babies are notorious for extending travel time. They might want to eat half-an-hour after you’ve stopped for lunch. They might get a dirty diaper in the middle of a traffic jam. Next thing you know, 8 hours have passed when the trip was only supposed to take 5 hours! Arrive when you arrive, keeping in mind that you’re never late if you arrive safe, especially on long drives or sketchy highways.
Explore! Don’t just stick to the original plan. Be versatile, try new things, and go to new places. Provincial parks are usually pretty baby-friendly and have picnic areas or easy walks. Exploring is a win-win-win, because you can take a breather, check a location off your bucket list, and get epic pictures for your Instagram feed! It’s also so important to experience nature, fresh air, and surround yourself with other people who aren’t in a rush (like the grumps at the gas station or the maniacs next to you on the highway).
Keep pushing limits
What’s that old saying? “You’ll never know until you try?” That quote was made for parents with babies! Honestly, it could be so easy to just go through the motions of every day – feeding, changing diapers, playing peek-a-boo – but there is so much more to life than just the same old activities. Take a small risk and the reward might be surprising. Aria has now been on two boats (one sailboat and one wakeboard boat) and even though the pessimist in my head panics (she’s too young, she’ll get cold, what if we hit an iceberg and sink??), we take her anyway.
Guess what? Aria likes boats. She likes them so much that she falls asleep as soon as she gets on board. And when she wakes up, she smiles.
Gariele Braaksma is a writer, social media consultant, and freelance photographer based in Victoria, BC. A true island girl, Gariele is inspired by all things ocean related. When she is not stand up paddling, she can be found rediscovering her yoga practice, inspiring women at Rad Girls Collective, and enjoying the perks of new motherhood. She and her coastal family live in a nano mansion full of love and laughter.
Aren't Gariele and Aria just the cutest!! I love rad moms!!
How do you stay active and maintain an adventurous life with little ones? Let me know in the comments below!