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An Adventure-Proofed Life?

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Reflections on parenthood and fear

This article appeared in our August 2004 issue. As I began to plan a trip to India with two small children, I found myself paralyzed. I wondered whether parenthood had transformed me from a fearless, adventurous young person into a fearful, careful adult. Did the values of adulthood and parenthood — safety, comfort, convenience — limit the ability to travel, to have adventures, to face the world without fear? In my youth, I had traveled the world. I relished the challenges: bungee jumping and scuba diving in Australia; riding in the cockpit of a 747 on an oversold flight to Ecuador; backpacking through Indonesia. India, however, was the apogee of my adventures. It was at once the most beautiful and the ugliest; it assaulted the senses and awakened the spirit. Looking back, I remembered a series of fearless adventures: solo travels in the mountains, forty-hour train journeys in second class, joining in pilgrimages and parades, and exploring the vast dunes of the Thar Desert on a camel trek. But now I was married to a wonderful man, raising two cherished children, leading a happy and si …

Ellie Pierce earned her master’s degree in theological studies from the Harvard Divinity School and is a contributor to S&H.


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