Some people are probably questioning our decision at bringing a toddler to such an arduous task. Wyatt Maktrav has climbed mountains before and, while each one offers different trails and unique challenges, we are quite confident that he will be able to reach the top without a lot of problems. Concerned about safety? Risk and safety are subjective and, as parents of the baby, I believe we know best on what is dangerous for him and what is not.
My husband and I are avid climbers even before our son was born. When we found out that I was pregnant, we decided to put hold on any outdoor activities for the next year and a half in order to rest and take care of our little one. When we finally decided to go back climbing, we found out that there was no one who could take care of Wyatt while we were away so we decided to tag him along instead.
We took him camping and we have never looked back since. Despite our busy schedules, we always do our best to find a way to travel and climb a mountain as a way to de-stress from the hustle and bustle of the city and also to bond as a family.
When we first took Wyatt to camping, we were not sure what to expect. We were surprised to see that he actually enjoyed being with nature – he loved the trees, the animals and the new environment. Who were we to limit his interaction with nature?
When you grow up in an urban jungle, it is often very difficult to appreciate nature because you rarely encounter it. Camping and hiking in mountains allowed us to make our son aware of the wonders of Mother Earth.
Climbing mountains entail travel which also means that beyond going on a hike, you learn a little bit more about the place you are visiting. Each trip becomes an educational experience, better than a classroom, book or movie could ever offer, not just for our kid but also for us parents. Did they not say that experience is the best teacher? It’s true. And when you allow kids to get involved, the learning is retained so much better in their heads.
Going to the roof of the world is more than just walking (or running, in Wyatt’s case). This hobby actually helps develop and reinforce problem-solving skills more than you think. It all starts in the planning because you have to consider your budget, plan out an itinerary and figure out what items to bring during the trip. Of course, kids do not have to do these just yet but being exposed early on will make things much easier in the future in case they want to do the planning on their own.
Climbers and hikers have no idea what will be in store for them ahead but, as long as they know what could happen two steps forward and backward, then they are good to go. When you go on a hike, you learn to figure out where best to step your foot on and how to deal with things while you are on the move. It also involves learning how to pitch a tent and cook food with very limited resources.
Yes, climbing can still be an affordable hobby. You do not have to own the best (and most expensive) gear in the land because you just need to make sure that you are physically fit to take the journey. It definitely is much cheaper than if you get your kid hooked on gadgets.
If you do need to fly, local budget carriers such as Cebu Pacific Air and Air Asia are your best friends. Wyatt used to fly in free of charge before but, at three, he is already being charged a full fare. Cebu Pacific and Air Asia’s promo fares make it easier to plan out trips within the Philippines because they make paying for three “adult” fares more affordable. We also love that they offer several international flights which make your overseas dreams become more attainable indeed. The secret is, WATCH OUT for PROMO FARES!
If there is one thing that, as parents, we love getting out of bringing Wyatt to climbing and hiking trips, it is the improvement of his overall health. Okay, he was never sickly to begin with but we did notice that he has a much stronger stamina and, thankfully, has never been hospitalized. Being exposed to “germs” once in a while does have its benefits.
We always love it when Wyatt leads the way during our climbs and hikes (we also make sure to look ahead to ensure his safety) because it helps boost his self-confidence and teaches him leadership skills. Climbing allows you to exit your comfort zone and that in itself is already a huge act of bravery. Being able to overcome fear is a very useful skill that will help you achieve success in life.
But, no matter how confident you might be about yourself, it is also important to learn the value of humility. The view at the top will make you realize the vastness of the world and how tiny a speck you are. Then again, it is also important to keep in mind that no matter how small you may be in the face of the Earth, everything you do will create a ripple effect that could impact the life of other people and the entire world.
So, there you have it. Did we not say that climbing mountains is beneficial to both kids and parents? If you are still not convinced or are still looking for inspiration, you can follow Wyatt Maktrav’s Adventures. There we will update you on his latest climbs and also give tips and tricks to help you in your climbing journey, with or without a kid in tow.