“Are you guys crazy?” This is the main question we’ve been asked since our family decided to do a fundraising walk across India over the summer holidays. Walking 800km over six weeks with five kids aged 13 and under, it’s a fair call. The toughest part of the walk was definitely keeping the kids entertained. We’d be half an hour into it and our nine-year-old Maggie’s saying: “Are we there yet?”
Of course the kids’ safety and wellbeing was top of mind. Before we left I’d been thrown by a question from a friend – a father of two who lives a pretty settled and safe life down on the Fleurieu Peninsula – who asked me: “Is it safe?” At the time, I rabbled along with a half answer and then ended up saying: “I don’t know, is anything really safe?” I then stewed on this question for the next few weeks and honestly every day we were in India.
The truth of the matter is there is that little voice in your head that says: play it safe, don’t take any risks, stay in your comfort zone. Admittedly, there had been several times in recent months where I turned to my wife Bec and said: “Let’s not do this thing.” Of course, Bec just said: “Don’t be stupid, we are doing it.” I guess it is like anything in life – there are risks. You can’t really live your life avoiding risks, you can only choose how to manage them.
As we planned for this trip, we asked ourselves not just what is the risk of doing this but what is the risk of not doing this? What is the risk of allowing our kids to grow up without the broader perspective of what life is like in other countries and cultures? What is the risk of not showing our kids that they can set big hairy audacious goals and actually achieve them?
Over the past 16 months our family has lived with an absolute sense of purpose. Together we made the decision to go on this adventure, we have given talks at local community groups and schools, we have conducted fundraising events, we have learned about the needs of vulnerable children, we have prepared for our trip and all of this before we took a step. We then travelled to India, walked together nearly 800km, spent every day together for six weeks. We turned off our phones and emails and, most importantly, we met thousands of incredible Indian kids and families that have provided us with so much inspiration.