“To combat the pervasive culture of wealth” –Jen Miner | Travel BHAGs

In June, we asked travel bloggers and members of the BootsnAll community what their Big Hairy Audacious Goals were. For those of you who wanted to share your goals with other travelers, we’ll be posting some here on the BootsnAll blog. So to kick things off, we’re taking a look at Jen Miner’s BHAG.

Jen Miner
The Vacation Gals

I am incredibly lucky, very fortunate to not have to worry about my finances. Living in west Los Angeles (this is where famous named ‘burbs like Beverly Hills, Brentwood and Bel-air are, though I don’t live in one of those towns) and raising my children in this bubble is great, because I don’t have the serious life stress of trying to keep my daughters safe or even in good schools. That comes with the neighborhood.

But while it’s a gift to be able to give my daughters a very comfortable childhood, it’s also somewhat perspective-warping. Case in point: Through my work, we’ve been invited as a family to one luxury resort hotel after another until around a year ago — we were at some perfectly lovely hotel, the kids came in from the beach, looked at their beds, and said, “Hey! Where’s the chocolate on our pillows?!”

I started to give them a piece of my mind about this attitude but then I realized — they are children. I have only myself to blame. To the degree that I’m responsible for them growing up to be ethical, responsible, empathic, tolerant and well-rounded, I can control their travel experiences. And I had not been helping them develop they way I’d want them to. This was my fault.

Right away we changed our winter travel plans from a swanky one in Hawaii to a volunteer vacation in Costa Rica. It was mostly an ecotrip, with the whole thing being — giant bugs, open air sleeping situations — you know, the opposite of a 5-star resort vacation. And you know what? My daughters LOVED it. They didn’t whine once about the long hikes or the sweat equity (a day spent painting a church, etc). They loved playing in a small rural town with the kids that live there. They loved trying new food, without any options: You get what you get, and you don’t get upset. Because we were in someone’s home, and this is what she made for dinner. It was a welcome experience. It was so, so good for them.

My personal big hairy audacious goal is to combat the pervasive culture of wealth where we live and its impact on my kids.

A great, dirty, meaningful ecotrip/volunteer vacation every year goes a long way towards this. Volunteer vacations are impactful, perspective-shifting travel experiences. So much more validating, too, for children’s ideas that they can be important in any way in the world. My own kids still talk about planting trees near the Arenal Volcano (rainforest reforestation) and finding a baby sea turtle, just hatched, in Matapalo (night shift during protecting a sea turtle hatchery from poachers and animals). They never ask, anymore, about the chocolate on the pillow.

What’s Your BHAG?

Over the next few months, we’ll be sharing some of the goals and BHAGs that TBEX bloggers and travelers from the BootsnAll community have shared with us. So if you haven’t shared your BHAG with us, we’d love to hear it!

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