11 Questions with… Kevin Wagar. @wanderingwagars #bdk11Qs
07 Jan 2019
Welcome to “11 Questions with…”. This edition’s guest is Kevin Wagar.
11 Questions with… Kevin Wagar
1. Elevator pitch… tell us about yourself.
My name is Kevin Wagar, I like to call myself an Adventure Family Travel Writer, which really just equates to meaning that I love to travel and I almost always bring my kids with me. This means I get to do crazy things like throw my kids off 200 ft towers in the Philippines and tear down sand dunes with them on sandboards in Peru. And as much fun as it is doing things, one of the best aspects of my job is that I get to share these adventures with other parents and show them that there is so much more to family travel than just Disney and Caribbean resorts with all-you-can drink bars. Not that there’s anything wrong with those either! I look at travel as a tool to use for excitement, personal growth, and education. And every destination has something that it can teach us, no matter what age we are.
2. Your spouse… tell us about her.
I’ve been married to my incredible wife Christina for 11 years, although we have been together for nearly 20. Christina is a scientist, business-leader, and an intellectual, and I owe everything about my love of travel to her. She introduced me to travel. She helped get me over my initial fears of the unknown, and she has supported me through every step of my journey into a somewhat unorthodox career path.
Christina was born in Philippines and moved to Canada when she was 10. She was far more well-traveled than I when we met. But through all of our crazy adventures we have stuck by each other. Every new challenge and experiences forces us to rely on each other more. And these adventures have led to a stronger relationship and partnership than either of us could have expected.
3. Your kids… tell us about them.
I have two boys. D, who is 5-years-old, and C who is 7-years-old. We haven’t been using their names online until they are old enough to start deciding how they want their social lives to be reflected. Although they are starting to bug us about sharing that information with the world. Both of our boys are incredibly adventurous. C is a leader, an intellect, and a food-lover like his mother. He is up for almost any adventure … once he’s had time to think about it. In fact, on a recent trip to Finland, he took it upon himself to take part in a local Lappish tradition by jumping in a frozen river 250 km north of the Arctic Circle. Luckily there was a steaming hot smoke sauna for him to warm up in afterwards.
D is the reckless adventurer. As soon as he hears about an activity, he’s already trying to take part. Whether he’s strapped into a safety harness or not. Whether it’s ziplining over the jungle or sliding down sand dunes, he’s always the first to jump in. Where C is the calm sea’s, D is the Hurricane, and they both keep us on our toes.
4. Do you have any family traditions?
Travel is definitely our family tradition. It takes up a huge portion of our lives, and it seems that almost every adventure we have revolves around living one experience or another. That’s not to say that we don’t get involved in other things as well. Both my children play hockey, and I’m lucky enough to be a coach for their teams. We follow pretty standard family traditions surrounding the holidays, although our hectic schedules often have us on the road during most occasions. In fact, we have never spent a Christmas morning at our own home. We are almost always out visiting family in one city or another.
5. What have been your biggest challenges as a parent?
Being a parent is evidently WAY more challenging than I had ever thought it would be. The challenges of balancing responsibility, learning, education, recreation, and discipline is nuts. Adding to that the wild schedules of our family’s unconventional lifestyle, and it is a constant gong show of disorganization and exhaustion. Balancing school with our travel schedules is not something that Christina and I had ever thought would be a challenge that we would face. But taking our children out of school, for sometimes weeks at a time, has been something that we have had to adapt to. We have always tried to be hand on in helping with their learning, through stories, project, and even the shows that we allow them to watch. This has helped us keep that balance. And working education into our travel style has helped to fill the gaps. It’s helped to give our children a unique perspective of the world that they could have never learned in a classroom.
6. If you could pick any career in the world for yourself, what would it be, and why?
This career that I had never considered has become one of the most rewarding jobs that I never thought I had wanted. I didn’t grow up as a writer or story-teller. I was a horrible student in school. And when I finally went to college and start my initial career as a graphic-designer and animator, I thought that it was where I would be forever. But, that career faded to the background as I discovered the personal value of sharing stories and inspiration with people. And as more and more readers reach out with questions, requests, and thank you’s for being offered some guidance on value of travel with kids, I know that I’ve made the right choice.
7. Growing up, who inspired you the most?
I was a weird kid growing up. I had lots of trouble fitting in. So I always looked to Science Fiction and Fantasy books for inspiration. As I got older, my attention switched from fantasy to real life science and adventure and I began inhaling books by Stephen Hawking, stories about NASA astronauts like Neil Armstrong, and the journeys of Marco Polo. For a child that viewed himself as more awkward than smart or successful, these stories offered me a touch of a life that I thought I would never experience myself.
8. How do you balance work life and family life?
I am very lucky to have a career that allows me to blend my family life and work life. Because I write, primarily, about family travel, I often get to include my family in my adventures. This definitely leads to struggles of it’s own, including balancing school life and travel. But, by finding a way to merge my career with my family, I’ve been given a gift where I get to spend far more time with my kids than I had dreamed of. And that’s pretty awesome.
9. What advice would your “current self” give to your “just about to have my first child” self?
You know all that advice you get before you have your first child? Ignore it. Everyone, ESPECIALLY parent’s love to give advice. But all that advice, safety tips, food guidance, weening techniques and more are all based on their child. And every child is different. Your first child will be completely different from your second child. Kids are unique and need to be treated like they are unique.
10. Has there been a piece of advice you were given about parenting that really stuck with you?
My friend Pat took me aside right after my first son was born and gave me a jock. “What the hell is this for?” I asked him. He looked at me and, with a sad look said “You’ll never be kicked in the nuts more by anyone than you will by your own kids”. Oh my God was he ever right.
11. What advice would you give to new parents?
Travel. Whether it’s to the local conservation area or museum, or across the world. Travel looks hard. But in reality, it’s actually far easier than most people expect. And the memories and experiences that it helps to build are things that you will all have with you for the rest of your life. Travel forces us to spend time as a family. To rely on each other, to experience things together. All of those things are too easily skirted when we remain at home. Challenge yourself. Challenge your children. And build memories that you will never forget.
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Thanks for reading!
“11 Questions with…” is an on-going feature. I will be interviewing parents with the same 11 questions, who like me, live in the digital world. The goal is to examine different perspectives, advice, challenges, and experiences from how people parent their children, and live a successful work / life / online balance.
With all the challenges of parenting these days, we could all use stories from fellow parents, who may have already gone through a similar experience, or were offered advice that you could use.
If you would like to be interviewed for an upcoming edition, please contact me at email@example.com.