My husband and I lived on the same floor our Freshman year of college and met through the Outdoor Residential Living Community, an awesome program our school had to help ease the transition to college and connect you with likeminded individuals from the get go. The first adventure we ever took together was a 4 day backpacking trip, a first for both of us, through Pisgah National Forest. Although it wasn’t love at first sight, we quickly became great friends, then best friends, and eventually fell in love. Since that first backpacking trip, our adventures have connected us deeper with one another and the wonderful world around us. From white water kayaking beautiful rivers, to growing a fond connection with rock climbing, to many more backpacking trips, and eventually to studying abroad in New Zealand together.
We were 7,000 miles away from our friends and family when we found out we were pregnant. We experienced a rollercoaster of emotions in a matter of hours, shocked, excited, and so unsure of what our future would hold. We packed our bags and headed home to start preparing for the new journey we were about to embark on. On June 12th our son was born and the greatest adventure of life had begun. We were parents!
Over the next few months we struggled through making hard decisions, sacrifices, and accepting our new reality. Our carefree, spontaneous lifestyle wasn’t possible with a baby, and we grew up much faster than either of us had anticipated. We began to understand what real responsibility was and mourned the loss of our ability to explore like we once had. As the months passed and Oliver grew we slowly began to test our outdoor options, starting off with leisurely hikes and then making our way to our first family camping trip. That first trip was tough and although we laughed our way through the nonstop rain and sleep deprived nights we both were sad and felt very limited in our pursuit of connecting with one another and nature.
Even though our first camping trip was a bust, we never stopped trying to get outside and explore with our son. Although it took many months and maybe even the first year of Oliver’s life for us to realize this, adventures with a family are still possible, they just look a little different and that is ok.
We have learned to appreciate the opportunities for exploration and adventure in our day to day routines, whether it be learning about the veggies and bugs in our garden, taking a walk around our neighborhood, or even a trip to the store. Having a child has taught us how to be creative and resourceful in the best possible way. We choose the farmers market over the grocery store when we can, go on bike rides and walks whenever possible, and make it a point to teach our son how special connecting with nature can be.
Those big, crazy adventures we once had are still possible they just require more planning, proper timing, and patience but every sacrifice we’ve ever made is completely worth it when we get to experience magical moments with our beautiful family. Oliver may not be old enough to strap on a harness and scale a rock face yet but that doesn’t stop us from exploring the possibility of adventure now or dreaming about the day when he’s the one planning the adventures.
Photography by Alexis Rhodes @alexxisrhodes
Cheyenne is wearing the LÍLLÉbaby COMPLETE Airflow in Purple/Mist.