Marisca and her dad. (Contributed photo)

Growing up with an adventurous dad creates cherished memories

Marisca reminisces about some wild experiences with her father

I found this beautiful father’s day card that said: “A father’s love is the compass by which his children learn to navigate, to sail and to reach their dreams.”

It was a really beautiful card with a lighthouse, sailboat and the ocean in the background. It was also $12.99 so I put it back but it would’ve been the perfect card for my dad.

I know how lucky/blessed I am to have the dad I got. We don’t get to choose our dads but I hit the jackpot.

I think my favourite quality of his, besides his enormous heart, is his sense of adventure. And my dad made sure to pass on his love for travel, and the wild and jumping into new things down to his children.

My parents had five kids but that never stopped them from taking us camping, on trips and skiing. We had a childhood of fun and crazy experiences and trying new things. My mom will be the first to admit that all that travelling wasn’t her idea but she went along with it— which was probably a good thing because someone had to keep us alive.

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One of my favourite memories has to be getting caught in a wicked thunderstorm camping when I was very little, maybe five years old.

We all went as a family camping in a provincial campground and my dad took just my older brother and me on a hike to another camping spot for one night, so that we could experience real camping in a tent, with no electricity, in the middle of nowhere.

After a long hike up to a beautiful spot beside a lake on top of a high hill, (I’m sure my dad had to carry me most of the way), we went fishing for dinner. Of course, we didn’t catch anything and ended up eating a can of some sort of mush.

It then started pouring. We were huddled in the tent and suddenly we thought we heard a bear growling. It was dark, cold and rainy. I was so scared. It turns out, it was just my brother snoring in between the rolling thunder. It wasn’t the picture-perfect camping trip but memories were made and an adventure was had.

Another fun memory was when we went to Belize and instead of going on a paid tour of a cave, we went off the beaten track and took our own, led by our fearless father.

We didn’t make it very far because we started hearing howler monkeys … except we didn’t know what they were at the time. We just started hearing very, very loud howls that sounded like jaguars, or some other large animal. We later learned what a howler monkey was (through a paid tour guide) and felt silly being so scared by a monkey. We got a good chuckle out of it anyway.

My older brother told me recently his favourite adventure with my dad was being hurdled over a barb-wired fence to get a better look at some bears eating garbage in a town dump. My younger brother said his favourite trip was going on a snowmobile ride with my dad and returning in a cab — he won’t elaborate on the details but I think maybe those stories make the best adventures.

Maybe these memories aren’t the safest and now as a parent, I cringe a bit. But I wouldn’t change any of them.

I hope I can create some adventures and amazing memories with my own kids, but maybe slightly safer ones.


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