Story by

Jessica Pahl

March 7th, 2016

This month marks the one-year anniversary of my family leaving our North Carolina home to settle down on the central coast of California. I knew our three-week, cross country road trip was going to be an incredible journey. After all, with only a few suitcases, two adults, four kids, and a dog packed in our Land Cruiser, we were bound to have adventures. And we most definitely did. However, I wasn't expecting the abundance of experiences once we arrived at our west coast destination. Being a mountain girl myself, but married to a surfer, this place was a dream for us both – the best of both worlds. Looking out our kitchen window at a massive volcanic mountain right in front of us heightens our desire to get out and explore. It's a reminder that this world is full of life, knowledge and experiences to pursue. Adventure is right in front of us, as well as afar.

As a mom whose goal is to give my children a passion for learning, as well as a desire to care deeply about the things they are learning, our family hikes involve a lot of conversation. Talk of eucalyptus trees, rattlesnakes, Chumash Indians or different rocks can makes its way onto the trail. But the learning goes so much deeper still. Watching my kids continue up a mountain even when it's getting hard is teaching them perseverance. Giving my boys the opportunity to help their younger sisters across little streams or over fallen trees is practicing kindness and helpfulness. Having them share the last of the snacks or water toward the end of the hike is showing them how to be unselfish. And making it back to the car after three hours on the trail gives them confidence.

I truly believe the best way to learn is to be in it; to observe, to touch, to smell, and to have personal experiences with the world around you. There's no better way than to step out into the sunshine, breathe the fresh air and see where your feet will take you.

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