Kids come up with priceless tidbits of wisdom every once in a while. Even mine.
When D & D were recently asked what advice they would give to parents that want to undertake a similar trip with their kids, Daryl’s advice rang true.
“Do it. You really don’t need to have a chest full of toys and your own bed. All you need is a bed to sleep in, food to eat, and imagination.”
I love that. Especially the imagination part.
We, like most American families, had a houseful of toys once upon a time. The boys had buckets of blocks, Legos, and K’Nex. They had toy cars and trains and hot rods. Water guns and Nerf guns. Davy and Daryl had a PlayStation and a stack of games.
They had toys. I mean – TOYS!
And then we piled on our bikes and headed out. Each child was given a small handlebar bag to stash his toys. If it didn’t fit, he had to leave it behind.
The boys had spent hours planning which toys they would take with them. They took their handlebar bags to their toybox and practiced stuffing them with various toys. They cooperated together to make maximum use of the limited space they had.
In the end, they packed a few plastic aliens and a wiggly snake.
The first day of our journey those aliens and their pet snake made their way out of the handlebar bags during every break we took. As soon as we hopped off the bikes, the boys’ hands were digging in their bags to pull out the toys. Their aliens fought battles and conquered new lands while we sat on the side of the road, and then they headed back home to sleep while we pedaled.
By the second day, the aliens still came out, but sticks and pinecones became their spaceships and distant planets the aliens controlled.
Within a few days, the aliens had been forgotten and the boys’ playthings were solely of the natural variety: rocks, sticks, leaves, and pinecones.
Davy and Daryl had bucket-loads of imagination. Tree branches became Ninja swords, rocks became baseballs and discarded Coke bottles magically turned into bowling pins. Their imagination soared as they discovered the world about them.
Now that we’re back, the boys have rediscovered plastic toys. But now they’re more particular about what they choose. Whereas before we traveled Davy and Daryl wanted every toy they laid eyes on, now they make their purchases wisely. If it’s a toy that will be used for a few minutes before being discarded, they’ll pass. If it’s something that allows them to use their imagination to create new and fantastical wonderlands, they’re all over it.
All four of us now understand how little we truly need to be happy. All we really need is a place to sleep, food to eat, and our imaginations.
We’re not the only family out there carrying very few toys. Or much of anything in fact. Here are some posts from other travelers living with less.
Worldschool Adventures: Getting rid of stuff
Break Out of Bushwick: Live with less – Lessons learned from downsizing
Family Travel Bucket List: Living with Less and 5 Kids? Isn’t that an oxymoron?
Around the World in Easy Ways: Living with Less
Carried on the Wind: Living with less
Our Travel Lifestyle: Does having all our gear again really make us happier?
Livin On The Road: Four Kids and Almost No Toys
The Drop Out Diaries: Anchors Aweigh
Discover Share Inspire: 1 Truck, 2 Continents, 7 People – How We Organize Our @321 Things
New Life on the Road: Living with less stuff
Got Passport: Less IS More: George Carlin had a point about all that *STUFF*
Fullness of Life: Don’t Use It? Don’t Keep It!