Tales of the Vohemian: Mike Meru's Adventurous Family Outings

    Mike Meru – avid split-boarder, adventurer, father and Vohemian – lets us in on his life as someone who loves the outdoors and how it shapes his role as a father. As a Fathers Day tribute, we interviewed Mike to learn from his passion for nature and how this bonds his family. 

    From delving into his story, we found that his connection to the outdoors has not only shaped who he is, but his energetic approach to life. 

    Finding His Interest in The Outdoors Early On

    His love of outdoor activities wasn’t something he had to discover, but more-so a gene he was lucky enough to inherit. Mike was very fortunate to grow up with fun and outdoorsy parents who included him in adventuring from the very beginning. As a kid he surfed and skated practically every day and backpacked several times a year. One of his most memorable adventures with his parents was in the seventh grade when his dad came to check him out of school. Mike recalls, “As we drove away, I asked where we were going and he told me the waves were perfect today and that sometimes being outside and surfing with him was more important than what was happening inside the classroom.” 

    This is a moment he’ll never forget – it goes to show how his upbringing instilled his appreciation for being outside from day one. His parents are now in their 70’s, but they still adventure with Mike regularly. 

    He’s been able to apply this way of life into his own family. If you were to ask Mike was type of adventure he enjoys most, his answer would be anything that includes his daughters. He has an epic wife and two daughters who join him in split boarding, surfing, and canyoneering together. 

    A Family That Adventures Together, Stays Together

    Mike and his wife, Melissa, agreed to take their daughters on all adventures with them the minute they were born. Getting outside has been a key part of their family life from the beginning, and it’s an excitement they share in common. The more outings the girls were involved in growing up, the more they learned to love it.

    He says, “Now it wasn’t always easy. Initially we had to convince them, reward them, and work hard to get them out on longer days, but fast forward to today and they are now pushing us to get out.”

    A prime memory for his family is when his daughters were 8 and 10 years old. They set out to descend Heaps Canyon in Zion, which is long, cold, and strenuous. Despite the difficult journey, the beauty is unmatched. Mike said the overnight trip went perfectly and that the solace, the conversations, and the memories will last a lifetime for them. 

    Mike knows that he only has 18 years to have his daughters living with him, so he uses this as motivation to keep creating new memories and adventures for them to share. He says, “Life is too short, and I don’t want to lose sight on what’s really important. Family, friends, and seeing what mother nature has created on this incredible planet.”

    How to Make Adventures Happen Despite Life’s Chaos

    With the obstacles of life, it can be hard to manage the logistical and practical challenges of organizing family adventures and making them happen. Mikes solution to this universal challenge is simple, “Just make it happen.” Although there will always be challenges that are increased with kids, he’s committed to not allowing these setbacks to stop his family from getting outside. 

    To all the dads out there who want to introduce adventure to your family but are unsure where to start, Mike says; “JUST GO! It doesn’t matter what it is, your kids just want to be with you. Hiking, biking, rock climbing, snowboarding, surfing, canyoneering, frisbee golf… In my opinion it doesn’t really matter what we’re doing, but as long as we’re together and doing something outside, it’s a win. But if you’re looking to step up your game and get into more adventure sports like rock climbing or canyoneering, hiring a guide or taking a class is a great way to get the ball rolling.”

    He mentions that it took him a few years to figure out how to balance this, but he’s found success a prioritized list of places to visit and things to do that he compiled with his family. Each free day they have, they choose an adventure from the list based on weather, time, and safety. 

    From Mikes own family dynamic, we can see how adventuring with your kids is something you have to commit* to, but it pays off with endless memories and a special bond. Pull the trigger

    Lessons Learned from The Outdoors

    With his own kids, he hopes that these adventures will instill a sense of confidence, an appreciation of the outdoors, and a realization that there is much more to life that what is on their phones. From his time in the outdoors, Mike himself has learned to be present. This is a major life lesson that has had a lasting impact on how he is as a father. He says, “Talk to them. Tell them you love them. Make an effort to do the things that they like. Teach them. Being present has made us so close as a family.”

    Mike says that his identity as an adventurous dad is who is he is now. Every moment he has free, he wants to get out and create memories with his kids. With this in mind, we asked what once piece of advice he would give to his children about life and adventure:

    “If I could give them one bit of advice it would be this: Be kind to everyone you meet, seek life beyond your phone, and treat every free moment to get out and adventure as a gift. Don’t waste it. Oh, and stay close to your dad - he needs his adventure partners and promises to help fund your future adventures!”

     

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