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Young Explorers: Joy in the Journey

Family

Young Explorers: Joy in the Journey

Family

Young Explorers: Joy in the Journey

To find out more about Momentum Adventure

Bon Vivant discovers the transformative effects that taking the path less travelled can have on explorers of all ages, and why adventure travel today is about so much more than adrenaline-fuelled activities and extreme sports.

In our hyper-connected world, the appetite for adventure holidays is growing amongst travellers – and families are increasingly wanting a slice of the action. But the word ‘adventure’ can carry negative connotations, having once been a byword for extreme endurance, making it hard for parents to know where to start when tailoring their travel planswith children in tow.


“The word ‘adventure’ is often associated with danger, but adventure really just means immersing yourself in a place that is different in some profound way,” says Andrew Solomon, author of Far and Away: How Travel Can Change the World, who believes travel to be instrumental in shaping character. “Children grow through exposure to different experiences—that’s well established – and developa view of the world based on what they’re exposed to through travel.”


For Matthew Robertson, founder of luxury bespoke travel company Momentum Adventure, there is one childhood memory that still resonates with him to this day: a thrilling hike up a mountain in Snowdonia, aged 10. “We hiked up through the fog and through the rain, and over six hours, we conquered our own Everest,” he says.“It was such an incredible bonding experience, and the next day I told all my friends about it. And I’m still talking about it 40 years on!”

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“Children grow through exposure to different experiences—that’s well established – and developa view of the world based on what they’re exposed to through travel”

Andrew Soloman

Ever since, Robertson was determined to live and work in the outdoors in order to make similar bonding experiences possible for others.“We are drawn to the outdoors because, ultimately, that’s where we are from, as human beings,” says Robertson.


Whether it’s exploring an ice cave in Iceland, kayaking beside orcas in Canada, or foraging in the Scottish Summer Isles, Momentum’s brand of adventure traveloffers exhilaration – but it is not confined to one specific itinerary. The only requirement? Abandon your technology-saturated routine and embrace something new.


“We’re on information overload, but we’re still human beings, we can only process so much,” says Robertson who finds that bonding experiences in the wonders of the wild are a sure-fire way to inspire a break from screens.


But adventure travel today isn’t solely about sacrifice, especially when it comes to comfort. "There’s no reason why you should have to suffer to enjoy it,” says Robertson. “It can be as relaxed or as challenging as you like. It can even have private helicopters and five-star luxury,” he says.

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"People are much more aware of the environment changing around them and wanting to experience it before it changes permanently"

Matthew Robertson

For Robertson, it’s all about striking the right balance, which ultimately comes down to developing an understanding of the travellers involved. “There are different variables, depending on the children’s ages and what they’re looking to get out of it,” he says.

And it’s not just children that parents have to be mindful of when planning a family holiday. When Robertson got a call from a client wanting to take his children – aged 8, 11 and 16 – to the Arctic to see the Northern Lights, he was presented with an additional challenge. "He wanted to bring his 85-year-old mother," he says.

While Roberston was accustomed to creating these kinds of experiences for children, he was worried about the conditions for the grandmother. “So we got the grandmother an expedition down suit that you might wear to the top of Everest. She was running her own dog team with the musher in front of her, telling her what to do, and she had the time of her life – and the kids were blown away.”

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“We are drawn to the outdoors because, ultimately, that’s where we are from, as human beings”

Matthew Robertson

So what does the future hold for this thrilling type of travel? Robertson cites sustainability as a growing factor in decision makingthat will no doubt shape future trips for intrepid explorers. "People are much more aware of the environment changing around them and wanting to experience it before it changes permanently," says Robertson. "We’ve just launched a trip to see 18 of the most endangered species."

What's more travellers are able to make a valuable contribution to protecting this wealth of wildlife and their habitat. "Every trip is carbon offset, and a huge contribution fromthat trip is donated into that area of conservation," says Robertson. "People want to feel like they are contributing while also having a holiday too."

With a vast array of trips available to families, holidays with Momentum vary in price. "We’re orientated towards a discerning traveller who will pay for value and trust, and prices range from £35,000 to over a million. The conservation trip is one million," says Robertson. “But it can be tailored to the individual, the majority of the cost is in the transport.”

Ultimately, you can’t put a price on the opportunity to connect with loved ones in new and dynamic ways, especially when the rewards can be so great for children. And both Solomon and Robertson agree that the magic often lies in the journey. “Adventure is more about an attitude than about going to the most obscure place you can find,” says Solomon.

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

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