I’ve wanted to explore Jackson Hole and Yellowstone for as long as I can remember. When an opportunity presented itself that my Mom got a timeshare in Wilson, WY over 15 years ago it’s been more than just a wish. It was now a mission. She’s invited me since year one. I was just too busy with career, becoming a couple and then becoming a Mom.
5 years ago, my wife and I started a family and our daughter is now the light of our life. She loves hiking and outdoors as much as I do… and we planned our trip to Yellowstone to be a family adventure to visit with my Mom and enjoy all that the openness of that region offers.
About 3 months ago; my wife decided that with all of the travel we do for work and with Spring Break only a few weeks prior to the trip – she and our daughter would not go with me. So, in order to keep my promise to my Mom… I planned my own adventure and would spend time as a daughter and as an outdoor enthusiast/novice photographer.
Connecting with my mom in the great outdoors
As a mom with a busy lifestyle and travel schedule – this was the perfect opportunity to reconnect with me and of course connect with my Mom. I mean we’ve been a family for 48 years and her love of nature along with her being a professional photographer who has traveled the globe; I’d get to borrow one of her awesome cameras and show her how my eye has developed. Each evening we’d share and she couldn’t believe the angles I took.
When I was a kid, I looked forward to my summer adventures with my Mom. As a photographer, she always picked the coolest places to hike. Malibu, Northern California coast around Big Sur. She’d take photos of my brother and I acting like Big Foot through the tall grass. The year I turned 12, a trip to Yosemite changed me forever. Seeing how tall the rocky cliffs with waterfalls as high as the clouds and noticing those Ansel Adams photos along the lodge hallways really painted a bigger picture for me; that nature is awe inspiring and hiking I must go. Another favorite trip when I was 15… and we traveled to Crater Lake. I fell in love with Oregon that very moment. My mom was the reason my love of nature blossomed. I am forever grateful.
Nurturing Myself at Yellowstone
My mom and I during this trip, spent 4 days in Jackson together driving and hiking. Looking for the best places to shoot photos and see wild animals. WE laughed, we lunched with her local friends and we had some great conversations as Mom and daughter. After those 4 days, I pushed on to Yellowstone by myself. If you are familiar with Yellowstone then you know there is no Wifi or TV’s in the hotel rooms. (WTH?) So, after my initial shock and 3G network via my cell phone I relaxed into “my time.” Super quiet time, with no one and nothing but my phone and the books downloaded along with podcasts I have been meaning to listen too. I realized that for the next 4 days my job was to enjoy all the surrounding and to sit and watch the animals I did come across.
As a Mom, sometimes we forget to really nurture ourselves. I mean going on a hike with a 5 yr old is super fun and rewarding; but, hiking for yourself and making your job for a week to just take photos, eat, have a beer and literally do whatever you want is pretty freeing. I mean I manage 3 companies from home unless I’m cooking and taking care of our kid. Finding balance can be hard even with the easiest children. We are moms… we take on the world if need be and our desires or passions are usually but on the back burner. This gift of a week to just be while getting some amazing, quality time with my Mom was icing on the cake.
My Challenge to You
I challenge you parents out there to find a 4 days – a week to do something you really love to fill your cup. I am a better Mom because I did this.
Life coach, Iyanla Vansant said it best on taking time for your self, “No, it’s self-full,” says Iyanla. “It’s self-full to be first, to be as good as possible to you. To take care of you, keep you whole and healthy. That doesn’t mean you disregard everything and everyone. But you want to come with your cup full. You know: ‘My cup runneth over.’ What comes out of the cup is for y’all. What’s in the cup is mine. But I’ve got to keep my cup full.”
Giving to our children from our overflow gives them the best of us.
Now that I’m home – I’ve already planned a fun day to the Ape Caves with my daughter and friends and I’ll keep planning fun trips to the outdoors to keep my daughter’s cup overflowing as well. No TV, no wifi, just her and I and nature.
Next year – I’ve started already thinking about another week trip with my Mom again; this time to Alaska. Sharing our passion is fun.
This trip was a good reminder that it’s important to get our kids out, but also parents need to get out too and take time for themselves in nature.
My name is Michele Flamer-Powell and I live in Beaverton, Oregon with my wife and our five year old daughter. We moved to Portland 7 years ago via Arizona because of the amazing farmers markets and the fact that you can find a hike 10 minutes – 90 minutes away from your house depending upon where you live in the city. When I’m not outdoors, you can find me on a plane somewhere. Feel free to follow our adventures on Instagram @michele_flamer