Fall in love again...

Di Westaway | CEO Wild Women On Top

“Challenging nature on its own basic terms and succeeding brings exhilaration on a grand scale”, Dr Ken Kamler, Doctor on Everest

With boys it’s a grunt. With girls it can be hysteria or brooding silence.

Teens can be challenging at the best of times, and downright torture at the worst. They can tear at your heart strings and tie your stomach in knots.

Eight years ago, I discovered a secret. I worked out how to create a really meaningful connection with my 14 year old daughter. We went from being witches to being real friends.

I was searching for solutions. I’d experienced great happiness, excitement and contentment, from adventures with women: climbing Mt Kilimanjaro and trekking to Machu Picchu. So I decided to try it with my princess.

I wanted a shared adventure challenge; she wanted an overseas holiday. We agreed to climb Mt Kinabalu and she swapped makeup and the mall for the jungles and hot springs of Borneo.

We embarked on a challenging adventure together and we invited some other mums and teens to come with us.

The training walk was a disaster. We had a massive fight and my daughter sat on a log and wouldn’t budge. After 10 minutes of yelling and tears, I threatened to video her and share it on Myspace. She got up and walked. I thought I’d pushed her too far.

When we headed out for the summit of Mt Kinabalu, Borneo, 4,000m, at 2 am, a couple of months later, we got caught in a typhoon. Climbers began streaming back down the mountain and yelling in fear.

Our World Expeditions guide found shelter, we debated our options and half our team turned back.

My daughter, the one who failed the training walk, surprised everybody, most of all me! In the dark, three hundred vertical meters from the summit, as the wind and rain pelted us in the face, she said, “I’m never coming back here. Let’s do it Mum.”

When we got to the summit, we both cried and she said, 

It was ‘same, same but different’ for my son. Two years ago, we climbed Mt Rinjani in Indonesia, with 5 other mums and their teenage kids. We got caught in a gale force winds and a volcanic dust storm on the crater rim. Summiting was never an option.

The mums and teens in the group were remarkable. Everybody toughened up and managed their fear as our tents blew flat onto our faces and we were forced to pee into bottles inside the tent.

Melissa said, “Summit night wind storm, faced with fear like that is only heightened when you have a child with you. Being with my son and experiencing it all together made us even closer. I was so proud of him!”

Linda, whose daughter Daisy is 12, said the adventure changed her life. “It has changed my relationship with my daughter. I am closer to her and I think I trust and respect her more.”

Melody said “it's been such a positive experience! I’d like to do it with them all!” And Elizabeth, “It has certainly strengthened our mum/daughter relationship.”

Last week, my son wrapped his arms around me really tight.

My daughter’s now 24. We’ve climbed Mt Kinabalu, Borneo, trekked to the crater rim of Lombok's Mt Rinjani while it was erupting, trekked through Tassie, for her 18th birthday, we trekked to Everest Base Camp together and last year we trekked Mt. Olympus with a team of Wild Women. Now she’s fit, wild and adventurous, and hates the mall almost more than I do.

I am absolutely certain that shared wild adventures with your kids brings a connection and depth to your relationship like nothing else. Even if it’s a simple day out rock climbing in the Blue Mountains, or canyoning in the gorges of your local river, adventures with my kids have been truly life changing and I highly recommend it to you.

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