The holy grail of family adventures is creating an experience that is cultural, natural, personal, physical – and fun – all at the same time. The Harrisons seem to do it every time.
The travel-savvy Larkspur, Calif. family spent 2 ½ weeks in Nepal in October 2013 as part of their latest summer adventure. It’s not the same Nepal that parents Jen and Dennis trekked through just 13 years ago, but it remains an outdoorsman’s paradise set in a cultural wonderland full of warm people and incredible natural beauty. Zoe (10) and Miles (6) loved it.
Striking envy in the hearts of all former-backpacker parents: The Harrisons completed the 10-day Annapurna Sanctuary trek as a family. By the time they reached the Annapurna Base Camp at 13,500 feet, the journey had taken dozens of hours of walking and many multiples of thousands of feet up and down.
“There was a lot of talking about Legos,” explained Dennis. Clearly, the kids were troopers.
Jen said a lot of their success involved setting expectations. “When they would ask what we were doing after the hike, we’d just say, ‘This is what we are doing today,’” and eventually they got the message.” The guide brought along treats for the especially tough parts, and the kids latched onto little diversions to keep them busy as they trekked, like building rock cairns. (Read more advice for motivating young hikers here.)
And the trek was just the best part of an otherwise great trip. In every country they visit, the Harrisons make a point of arranging a way for their kids to interact with local people. In Nepal, the family spent time at Her Farm, a home for abused women and their kids. In Kathmandu, the family based their stay at the Mountain Fund guest house, a crossroads for all manner of volunteers and travelers coming and going from service stays or treks across the country. “There was a great mix of nationalities and ages and professions,” said Jen. “We loved hearing the latest tips for traveling around Nepal and the tales from the road. It made us feel plugged into the traveler set again.”
Keywords: family vacation, family travel, summer vacation, family vacation in Nepal, Nepal with the kids