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What The Goonies Taught Us About Adventure

Aaron McHugh

The Goonies-1985
The Goonies-1985

I’m a big geek when it comes to movies.

I’m a bigger geek when it comes to adventure and road trips.

I’d love to tell you a story about my son and I retracing the steps of The Goonies movie a few years ago.

I hope you will be encouraged to plan your own adventure with your kids before the summer is over.

Who doesn’t love the Goonies?

We had this idea that we’d fly to Portland, OR and retrace the making of The Goonies movie.  We found this website that provided scene-by-scene beta including maps of where each scene were filmed.

We’d decided that we’d take our portable DVD player in the car and retrace the movie over a couple of days while we car camped along the coast of Oregon.

We romped, hiked, sauntered, waded, walked, galloped and gazed for four days.

We found an excuse to go create an adventure.

My son was young enough to still think it was cool and we would re-enact the scenes at each location.  It was awesome.

Here are a couple of fun photos that can tell the story better than I can in words.


Memories instead of stuff

While your kids are still at home, make memories instead of buying more stuff.

In our annual budget travel tends to be one of our largest expenses.  We drive used cars all with over 100K miles on each of them.

We live in a nice home, but we don’t all have the newest gadget or most trendy fashion.  My kids have started to notice that although we don’t have some of the other things that the Jones’s have, we go on some killer trips.

Don’t make it complicated

A couple of times my kids and I have hoped in the car with a map, sleeping bags and a tent.  We point the car in a direction and a vague idea of where we might land and allow the adventure to unfold organically.

To be fair this fits my personality.

During the week, I am organized, measure statistics and forecast revenue.  I try to not apply that same analysis to my play.

I encourage you to find a few low budget ways to pull a Clark Griswold and go visit the World’s Largest House of Mud.

Error on the side of not knowing

You don’t have to know where you are going, where you are going to sleep, or what you are going to eat.  I’ve found that part of letting go of these things allows us to be more aware of our circumstances and environment.

For instance, if you’re hungry then you pull over and find something to eat.  If you’re tired then you start looking for a campground or a cheap motel to stay in.

A couple of practical tips

  • Get a good book on audio
    Little kid suggestion: Peter Pan, Wizard of Oz
    Teenagers: Travels with Charley, Into the Wild
  • Let your kids pick out the treats for the car
    Bribe them with Starbucks or ice cream
  • Let the schedule be driven by your kids
    How long the hike is, the pace you go at and what you listen to in the car.

Summer is almost over.  It’s not too late to hit the open road.