“There is no passion to be found playing small and settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”-Nelson Mandela
I am by no means an expert on parenting, but I do know that my son watches me like a hawk. Every word that I say, every action that I do, every tattoo that I get. He sees it all. We were lying in bed last Thursday night, and out of nowhere he said to me, Dad, you are one unique dad. I started giggling and beaming with pride, and asked, What do you mean?
You just do things differently. You do things that other dads don’t do. I mean, other dads don’t have tattoos on their chest, do they?
It is no secret that I love to travel. It’s how and where I reimagined, reinvented, and rediscovered my zest for life. It is no secret that I have done a fair amount of traveling, particularly in the past five years. It is also no secret that every time I travel, if my son is not with me, I am giving up precious time that I could be spending with him. I am well aware of this as I’m sure he is also, but as I told him in that same Unique Dad conversation, Son, traveling is the best way to see what’s out there, discover yourself, and uncover what it is you want to do with your life. Start early, and never stop. It’s a huge world with endless possibilities.
The conversation continued. Dad, when I turn 21, we are going to see the world. All 50 states. Every country. I started buzzing. You have a date.
At six years old, he has a great start. We’ve taken memorable trips to the DC area, New Orleans, Atlanta, Miami, Nashville, Dallas, and New York City. He’s lived in North Carolina and Mississippi. He’s been to all of the Deep South, all of the Southeast, and much of the East Coast. He also thinks that because I have visited and enjoyed 43 of our nation’s great states that I’ve seen everything, but I remind him, there’s always more to discover. My soul craves it every day.
If I needed any further proof that he watches me like a hawk, I got it a few minutes later. Dad, here’s what we are going to do on the trip. First, we are going to a game in every place. Front row. We’ll make a pattern and just rotate. Baseball, soccer, football, so on. We’ll see the things that we want to see. Maybe meet some cool people?
I love it, son. How about food and drink? That’s so important.
Yeah, yeah. When we are in Los Angeles, we need to eat and drink Los Angeles things and meet Los Angeles people. Same for Miami and even Arkansas.
Yep! You don’t want to be eating chicken tenders every meal for the rest of your life, although I do love a good chicken tender.
These are all great ideas, son, but can I offer a few thoughts?
Let the trip unfold naturally. A rigid trip misses a ton of hidden gems. Allow for the unplanned. The world is like a puzzle. An unsolveable maze. With every adventure you get two answers, but four more questions. It’s beautiful. A great number of people are looking for the answers, but the beauty is in the questions, in the process, in the exploration, in the left turns, and in the doing.
The first time I went to New York City, I fell in love. I had so many questions, and I still do. That’s why I keep going back and always will. You’ve been. Do you have any questions?
Dad, one final thing, can mom and Charli come with us?
Absolutely, buddy. Let’s send them an invitation for 2036 right now.
Have a great week.-Benj
Join the abk community!
Follow along on Instagram @anythingbutkhakis, @abkgolf, and now @anythingbutkhakisphotography.
If you enjoy these and would like to get the weekly piece via email, please follow on the website http://www.anythingbutkhakis.com.