We failed but that’s OK

17 family campouts in 2017 – that was our plan. Alas, we only made it to 14.

Nevertheless, that 14 involved a total of 33 nights spent camping in the Great Outdoors, across 10 counties and in two countries. We slept in tents, camper vans, Alpine mountain huts, and ecodpods; and experienced everything from torrential downpours and storms to blistering sun.

Indeed, we were all set to achieve our 17 campouts before the end of the year, but it seems that the universe had other ideas…

Not wanting to really go into it, but November and December involved Morten making weekly flights to Denmark to visit his Mum who was in a coma and on life-support. Clearly with this going on, our family adventure mission was far from our minds. After a difficult and emotional couple of months, January rolled around and Morten’s Mum made an incredible recovery (she is as tough as old boots) and thankfully is now making great strides in terms of her health. It is only really now, in June, having been spat out the other side of all this (and after a few other notable events!) that we are really able to reflect on our adventures and how our 2017 ended.

Are we a tad disappointed that we didn’t complete our 17 in 17 when we had ploughed so much time and effort into it? Sure. But clearly it wasn’t more important than being there for family, so we just had to let it go. In fact it wasn’t even a conscious decision to ‘let it go’ – it just did ‘go’. It was dropped like a hot rock when we needed to be somewhere else. It’s only really now that everything else is back on track that we’re conscious of our ‘failure’.

But was it really a failure?

As a very goal driven person, yes, it was a failure. We had clearly outlined a very specific, nay, SMART goal, and we failed to achieve it. We did fail. But does that matter? Hell no.

I mean, I’m a teacher and I’m always harping on about the importance of failure. If we don’t make mistakes and fail, then how do we learn to suck up our disappointment, toughen up, pull ourselves back together and get on with it? How do we build our resilience for the even bigger failures that are just around the corner?

And even though we failed in our goal, we still won. Honestly, last year and our ’17 in 17’ challenge, was a real turning point for our family. It was the year that we got back out there and started adventuring again. It was the year that we accepted that life was different now we were a ‘family’ with a little person to factor in, but that we could still do it…. It’s just that our adventures look a bit different to what we were used to.

The combination of our ’17 in 17’ and our ‘X County Challenge’ meant that we prioritised family time and being outdoors. We didn’t have those awful weekends where you get to Sunday night and feel all frustrated, thinking “what have we even done this weekend?” and then mourn the lost time. We genuinely maximized every weekend and spent more time together than we have done in AGES.

Plus, we visited loads of new places in the UK that we’ve never been to before and experienced a tonne of new activities; as a result Oskar has a lovely confidence about him. He’ll try anything (except fruit). He loves sleeping in a tent. He loves lighting campfires. He appreciates nature. He’ll talk to anyone. He’s a pretty tough little chap.

So, we failed, and “14 in 17” sure as hell doesn’t have the same ring to it, but regardless of that we are certainly richer for all our experiences. Thanks 2017.

So, where to from here? Will we re-create it? Perhaps 18 family campouts in 2018? Naaaaaah. And anyway, it’s already June and we’ve only had three (albeit with a newborn baby). I think we will just stick to our X County Challenge and visiting as many new counties as we can…. There’s still plenty to go. Most notably those ‘up north’!

Have any of you set yourselves some family and/or adventure goals for 2018? Fancy sharing? We’re always up for a challenge….

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We are a small family who love big adventures. Our aim is to get outdoors, travel, explore, and live our lives adventurously. We choose to define our lives by the richness of the experiences that we have had rather than by the stuff that we own.

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