A dirtbag nowadays means someone who knows what they want out of life and will do whatever they have to to live that lifestyle. I want to raise my kids to love their life even if it means being dirty and having no creature comforts or security and here’s why.
According to urban dictionary:
A dirtbag is a person who is committed to a given (usually extreme) lifestyle to the point of abandoning employment and other societal norms in order to pursue said lifestyle. Dirtbags can be distinguished from hippies by the fact that dirtbags have a specific reason for living communaly and generally non-hygenically; dirtbags are seeking to spend all of their moments pursuing their lifestyle.
In modern society, such a thing is not even mentioned to most kids. In fact, for most kids, it’s “go to school,” “wash your hands,” “study hard,” and “get a well paying job.”
I feel, however, that the dirtbag way of life has it’s merits too, and can create strong, persistent, industrious human beings that could make a difference in the world.
I don’t make my kids shower daily and often when they do shower, it’s a lukewarm, military style shower.
They’re encouraged to tough it out and sleep in a tent in dozens of uncomfortable situation often. When we were in Norway tent camping, it would only get dark for an hour a night and some nights the temperature dropped to freezing!
When we tent camped in Ireland, it rained every day and the temperature never got higher than 11 degrees Celcius. We’ve tent camped in Hawaii in rainstorms so strong that our tents would leak and the insides would be soaked.[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9i1Y_S6KdE[/embedyt]
We’ve bakpacked altogether in Abel Tasman in New Zealand, my kids carrying everything they needed on their backs, camping in tents on the beach, and sanflies eating us alive and keeping us awake all night with itches.
Related blog: Backpacking Abel Tasman with Kids
I often make my kids skip meals, especially if we are hiking or climbing for the first half of the day and know there’s a big meal waiting for them afterward.
We rarely have a good WiFi and we definitely don’t have cable (does anyone anymore?) or Netflix and instead, our entertainment is found through reading, writing, drawing, playing instruments, thinking, planning, and daydreaming.
For multiple 6 month periods, my kids had to wear the same five outfits over and over (the mere thought of doing so would cause you to be ostracized in some teenage circles).
We live out of our RV and roam around the US and when we aren’t, we are traveling the globe, usually with a tent or RV as our form of accomodation. We have no house, but nature is our home. Our life revolves around adventure.
Seeking adventure is the “extreme lifestyle” we pursue that has taken priority over creature comforts and sometimes cleanliness.
To some, I’m irresponsible, mean, selfish or just straight up crazy. If you met me, you’d know I’m just overly idealistic (as well as a kind and loving mom) and believe the gifts I’m giving my kids, although quite unconventional, will carry them far in life.
I really am almost selfish. The only problem is, that in living this lifestyle and searching out new crags to climb, trails to follow, and waves to surf, it puts my kids in some of the most pristine nature and the little hardship they do endure becomes masked by panoramic views, jagged coastlines, rolling hills, and black forests.