The beginnings of great adventures come in all forms.
For my recent trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, that beginning was extremely unexpected.
It all started last December, when I emailed my brother, Marc, to start brainstorming ideas of what to get our younger brother, Michael, for Christmas. After we both had ideas for Michael, I directed the same question toward him. "What do YOU want for Christmas?" I asked.
I couldn't believe what he wrote back.
If I had to ask for anything, it would be to go on an adventure like you do. I honestly get a little jealous seeing all the awesome backpacking and camping stuff you go on and all the cool stuff you have seen, I'm just awful at initiative so I've never arranged anything for myself (which I technically could since I still have that free round trip plane ride from Mom and Dad).
After reading this, I sat in thought for a while. I do travel a lot, with all different groups of people--girlfriends, co-workers, like-minded travel folk, etc. WHY hadn't I ever taken the initiative to coordinate something with my own brothers? WHY had it taken Marc's email for me to even entertain the idea? Truth be told, I was a little embarrassed that it had. But that embarrassment quickly turned to excitement. This was going to happen. I just had to figure out how.
I replied: Say no more. Don't use that free roundtrip.
Over the next few weeks, Marc and I discussed the parameters of the trip. Marc would choose the destination, but it had to be affordable. If I planned it, I was coming, and so was Michael, since we couldn't leave him out. It would have to fit into a long weekend over the summer. I would foot the bill on any rental car we needed and hotel room. We would split incidentals. Our gear was limited, as was our budget and collective experience, so we would have to be smart about not getting in over our heads with any technical hikes or back country camping.
Things fell into place surprisingly quickly. After briefly considering a trip to a Utah national park, we decided against it. Flights to/from Utah (or even nearby Vegas) were costly and we would have lost precious time just getting to them since they aren't as accessible as other national parks. We quickly replaced the Utah idea with another great one: Rocky Mountain National Park. Flights to Denver were dirt cheap and the park was only 2 hrs from the airport. Estes Park neighbors RMNP, so we would be able to stay quite close to the action and day hike to our hearts' content.
I looped my parents in on our plan, and my mom was so pleased ("I'm just sooooo happy you guys all still like each other!") that she offered to pay for Michael's airfare as her Christmas gift to him. I booked an el cheap-o hotel room, reserved a basic rental car. Done.
Christmas rolled around and I didn't give my brothers anything. They didn't care. They knew my gift to them was arranging the trip and shouldering the cost of the bigger ticket items. Christmas was coming in June, I told them. June 20-23, to be exact.
Over the next week of so. I'll be sharing some incredible stories from the trip, which we dubbed BroSis 1.0.
The first release of the sibling trip.
But certainly not the last.
Of Possible Interest: Being the nerds that we are, Marc, Michael, and I had a live twitter feed going during our trip, which we've decided to keep even after getting home. Follow me @tothefulllist and/or #GoldenChild to get in on the sibling banter.