How far did you roam?

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How far did you roam?

Postby Scott McCrea » Jun 15, 2007 9:08 am

I just read an interesting article about how kids these days don't roam like kids did years ago. The article mentions how this kid is only allowed to roam about 300 yards from his house. His grandfather regularly roamed over a mile. His great-grandfather roamed over 6 miles.

I grew up in a small town in VA. I roamed a lot. I would walk or bike to Kevin's house (3 mi), or to our fort under the interstate bridge (1.5 mi), or to McDonald's for breakfast (3 mi), or the creek (1 mi). There were places we couldn't go, but as long as we were home for dinner, no worries. In the fall, I'll be driving my son to kindergarten--less than a half mile away. But, hopefully, in a couple years, he'll walk.

I suspect that roaming as a kid is common amongst cavers. Did you roam?
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Postby Dwight Livingston » Jun 15, 2007 9:28 am

I was fortunate in growing up in a house next to a large expanse of unsettled wooded land with streams, hills - lots of good stuff. A friend and I often took long explorations, sometimes with only a vague clue where we were. I remember a few times at dusk we'd come out on some road, collect a few bottles from the ditch, and cash them in a store. We'd get enough money to call home so Mom could pick us up.
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Postby Adam Craig » Jun 15, 2007 9:29 am

I grew up mostly away from the house and the TV. I spent most of my time in the woods, wading the river, fishing, camping etc... It was all in about 5 miles or less from my house. Roam? Heck yah!! And I still do :banana:
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Postby Sean Ryan » Jun 15, 2007 10:29 am

I spent lots and lots of happy childhood time roaming around in enormous tracts of wilderness. Never mind that I mostly lived in suburbia, I found acres of woods and streams and parts of the world no one had ever set foot on to explore.

When we visited my grandparents we would hike down from his driveway into the woods. If we walked far enough we would reach a stone wall. It was a bit of a worry to see if we could make it back from there, but we always managed. When I was older, I saw that the stone wall was not even a hundred feet from the driveway. Kids' views vary on distance. They'll find the woods to explore, even if they might not be impressive to our eyes.
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Roaming and Caves

Postby tncaver » Jun 15, 2007 10:38 am

There must be something to this roaming and caving correlation. I used to roam for up to 20 miles on a regular basis when I was as young as 10. I used
to ride my bicycle to travel those long distances. The bicycle was my ticket
to freedom and going places I would have rarely visited since I lived
in the city. I used to ride the bike to city parks and the closest state parks
up to 20 miles from home. As young as 8 I roamed the neighborhood looking
for kids to play softball with or to play on the local dirt piles. There was
always construction going on at the local university and they kept a huge
lot full of dirt open all the time. Maybe that is one of the things I like about
caving...roaming and getting in the dirt. Getting to roam far and wide in search of caves to explore and things to see. But today, there is no way I would let my children ride bikes on the unsafe highways and roads. Too much crazy stuff goes on these days. There was a lot less traffic 40 years ago
than there is today.
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Postby Rick Brinkman » Jun 15, 2007 1:04 pm

I grew up on a farm in MT, so yep, lots of roaming. Usually about a mile. As I got older and got a motorcycle and then a driver's license, the roaming got farther and farther.

When we went camping, Mom would kick my brother and I ( :argue:) out of the area so she could get some peace and quiet. :shock: :rofl:
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Postby Sean Ryan » Jun 15, 2007 1:40 pm

I've got a niece who's about a year and a half old. Ever since she could walk, she's been trying to get outside. She loves trees, animals, exploring in general. Bring her inside, and she gets upset, tries running for the door (and its incoveniently high doorknob). There's just something inherent in being outside and roaming, even from that early an age. I'm very happy to see that spirit in her.
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Postby Dane » Jun 15, 2007 1:48 pm

I grew up in a huge subdivision just outside B'ham AL (I moved away when I was 12), but like others, my bicycle was my ticket to roam. My neighborhood was probably 1-1/2 mi square, and I was exploring its limits at 8 and 9, but by the time I was 10 and 11, I was far surpassing its boundaries!
My cousin, who lived 3 or 4 miles away and I went all over that end of town!

We would go exploring some new woods or a creek or whatever, then when we got hungry/thirsty, we would go to the local construction sites, collect the returnable soda bottles, and turn them in for gum, candy, drinks, etc.

My kids? No way - their mom would never hear of it! Until they were driving they never got more than a few blocks away (that I know of!).

Yes, I'm afraid that a combination of freaks running loose on the streets and PC/X-Box/PS3/TV has worked to corral later generations.

Good topic Scott!
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Postby CaveGimp » Jun 15, 2007 1:58 pm

I remember in middle school riding our bike to the local hardware store to pick up more things for our tree house / zip-line. It was about a mile away. I lived on base at the time so he had to go off base, the get back on with rope and nails and what not for our latest way to try to hurt ourselves.

When my kids are old enough I doubt I'd let them do something like that. It just doesn't feel as safe now.
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Postby tallgirl » Jun 15, 2007 2:08 pm

you know i wandered a lot too but seeing as i'm the same age as lots of u guys kids i have to agree that helicopter moms(constantly hovering) are a real problem for my generation.... my mom used to get calls from concerned neighbors who saw me wandering and just had to tell my mom. one of my favorite stories from when i was young is that my mom got like 2 calls from neighbors saying "did you know ur daughter has climbed rly high in that huge tree at the end of the block?" and my mom was like "is she calling for help?" "No, but she is rly high up there" :)
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Roaming:is it good for us?

Postby KENTO » Jun 15, 2007 3:51 pm

I believe the author of this article might know of a book recently published in Ameica...Robert Louv's " The Last Child in the Woods: coming to terms with nature deficit disorder"
This book discusses how our society has been attempting to overprotect the children from the various threats ( real or imagined ) to childrens safety when they leave the vicinity of the home. The authors research shows some startling unintended consequences , with regards to less social skills , impaired stress coping abilities , impaired problem solving and loss of creativity. He correlates this convincingly to the skyrocketing diagnosising in todays children of disorders like hyperactivity , depression and paranoia.
But I say,..." hey, those little boogers sure are good at video games, aren't they"
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Postby wendy » Jun 15, 2007 3:56 pm

I lived on a street with a circle at the end. My house was the center hosue on the circle. The street itself was not very long. I wasn't allowed to leave the circle, even with the other neighbor kids who were a little older than me, but were all hellraisers. I think that might be the reason I do my roaming as an adult now. I am the only one in the family that lives out of state from the rest, and I travel the most now.
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Re: Roaming:is it good for us?

Postby tallgirl » Jun 15, 2007 3:58 pm

KENTO wrote:But I say,..." hey, those little boogers sure are good at video games, aren't they"


yeah and the prevalence of overweight kids is up too... correlation? i think so
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Postby SpeleoRover » Jun 15, 2007 4:07 pm

I regularly walked out a 3-5 mile radius exploring stream beds, boulders, and hillsides in the mostly wooded land near my house. If I had 2 wheels and some pedals I'd go MUCH further. I'd hitch-hike on occasion, too (still do if I change my plans when backpacking in the middle of the trip). It just never really was an issue for us.

I wonder if I'd allow the same thing for my kids someday? Probably not. I don't know if it means I'm hypocritical or times are vastly different, or a mixture of both.
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Postby SpeleoRover » Jun 15, 2007 4:08 pm

Oops - one more thing. Parents should read Richard Louve's book, Last Child in the Woods. It covers this line of discussion in depth and the consequences for children AND the environment.
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