Over the last 10 years, I can remember so many conversations with adventurous friends and family returning from various vacations. People would describe trekking adventures, heli-skiing vistas, and rainforest zip lines and I would smile and nod and leave the conversation feeling tired. I often wondered what was wrong with me. Why is it that all I can imagine doing on a vacation is beaching myself and shutting out the world by diving into a great novel? I wanted to sit down. I wanted to take a shower without being interrupted, and I wanted to eat a meal someone else prepared. I never once thought about river rafting through a canyon, until now. . .
Sicily is the largest and most populous island in the Mediterranean Sea. I expected a lot of things from Sicily more in line with over zealous fish merchants and scenes from The Godfather movies. I was not prepared for the diverse and natural landscape that opened up before me. The volcanic valleys are lush and Irish green, the mountains are snow-capped this time of year and covered in towering Sicilian fir trees. The orange groves blanket the interior and seem to drop into the sea. We knew we needed to see the towns and cities but our trip would not be complete without experiencing the natural artistry of this famed island.
We were ready for some family adventure. The landscape of Parco Avventura in the Madonie mountains of Sicily was surrounded by hundreds of kilometers of nature trails that wound all the way to the sea. We contacted the park owner and even though the park was closed in January, they planned a day of endangerment just for us! Our guide led us through three-story ropes courses weaving the forest canopy. Our son said all he could hear were the “birds singing and mom screaming!” We spent the remainder of the dappled sunlit afternoon honing our archery skills and completing family orienteering challenges. We all pushed ourselves further than we thought we could go but the difference was we did it together.
The adventure was exciting to me because I had energy to spare. I was not running on empty needing to get away. I felt fulfilled and rested and joyful when we left for Sicily. I am now seeking new ways for us to grow and challenge ourselves as a family. The stamina to have that desire makes this the greatest ride of my life.