As a child, my parents would often bundle us all up in the car and head off on an adventure. The boot loaded to the brim and a heavy use of monkey straps and ropes ensured that whatever was tied to the roof sure wasn’t coming off soon. As the smallest and only girl, I was often wedged in between my two older brothers, their knees splayed open to assert some sort of child hood dominance over the space of the back seat.
I never really minded as I could see out the front window. I always liked to see where I was going.
Of all the memorable trips, it is the ones outdoors, camping and exploring the ‘wild’ that I loved the most. The giant, granite boulders of Wilson’s Prom, the wombats that roamed at Tidal River and the Canvas tent that had a giant centre pole, as the smallest would assume my position curled up at my family’s feet.
My 10th birthday was spent camping in the same tent at Hall’s Gap. Dad had made damper for breakfast and my parents had written a birthday note on the bark of a paperbark tree. I can’t remember the present but remember the card vividly. It’s still the best one I have ever received, certainly the most unique.
As we age (I’m nudging 40), we become nostalgic about our child hood memories. In the case of fond memories, research has shown that they serve function to improve our mood, increase social connectedness, and enhance self-esteem when we replay these with a rose filter. In my case, my dad’s dementia is taking grip and health concerns seem to plague the family, so it’s nice to remember, replay and revisit some good times. It makes me feel a little more together as time and circumstance separates us all.
My husband and I love taking our 3 girls on adventures. Our eldest, now 17 years old has many memories to recall from her outdoorsy lifestyle growing up on the Mornington Peninsula and Gold Coast. I watch as she shares these stories, the corner of her lips upturned, her eyes sparkle as she recalls the days spent collecting sea glass, or walking through giant forests, fish n chips on the beach watching the sunset. It’s not the things that we give our children, but the experiences that they carry with them throughout their lives.
Some of my favourite places to explore with the kids are right on our doorstep, the Mornington Peninsula. A beach walk or snorkel in warmer weather along any of our beautiful beaches, exploring the rock pools of Cape Schanck, a trail hike along Two Bays trail or the Coastal walk, exploring by foot or paddle at Devilbend reservoir, a history lesson at Pt Nepean. We often pack a picnic, strap the back packs on and venture by foot.
Building a rich catalogue of memories to support happy healthy children into adulthood.
Studies tell us that of all our senses, smell and touch are said to evoke nostalgia due to the processing of these stimuli first passing through the amygdala, the emotional seat of the brain. These memories of one's past are usually important people, events and places where one has spent time.Music and weather can also be strong triggers of nostalgia.
What memories do you carry with you from childhood?
What are you creating with your family or friends? For the older version of you to look back with nostalgic vision...