*Island style livin’ in the Northwest

It’s been a while dear blog reader, and life has certainly been busy.  The addition of a new miniature human to our familial brood has helped evaporate most every spare moment of late, but that hasn’t stopped me from taking pictures, merely from writing about them.

A few weeks ago, we were lucky enough to be invited to a family friend’s home on Heron Island.  Where is that you say?  Exactly.  I’ve lived in the Northwestern US for most of my life now, and I’d never ever heard of Heron Island.  After a bit of google based research, I realized why.  Heron Island is a private, residential island in the south Puget Sound.  Accessible only by private ferry, or a particularly ambitious swimmer, you need to be invited to visit, and we were lucky enough to be summoned for a sojourn.

With dirt roads and absolutely no commercial presence on the island, it is truly an escape from the daily grind.  With seemingly more deer than people on the island, we found ourselves exploring the island on foot, via golf cart or by way of a kayak needing to dodge the hordes of foraging four leggers who were obviously not in any way bothered by their human counterparts.

Being a huge fan of water, having been raised on the ocean, I felt at home being surrounded by tidal shifts and the smell of the salty air.  Getting to see my two year old experience this explorative freedom, and wild interaction was what I’d always hoped to find parenting to be.  The unbridled excitement coupled with the exhausting reality of constantly running around provided us with a great sleeper.  For those without kids, this is a pretty big deal.

photo by mrs squeeze

In a world where we seemingly need to bubble wrap our children based on legal necessity, it is nice to allow a child to run free, to scrape themselves up, to explore with only a watchful eye as protection.  I feel this haphazard approach to interacting with the world around us more closely resembles my past reality and one that I fear my children will not get to experience, at least in the same way.  Being able to allow sunlight to dictate your curfew and neighbors providing the child’s equivalent to a public bathroom when needed while out playing in years past, my kids are growing up in a time different than when I learned that hopping fences could provide a shortcut home, enabling a few precious extra moments to play before needing to be back for dinner.  This type of self directed responsibility and creative envelope pushing creates a wonderful experience from which to draw a comparison while growing and moving through life.  I will strive to give my kids as much of this as I possibly can all while helping teach me to let go, to allow them to experience the world from outside my grasp, knowing they will be capable, just as I was, to make decisions for themselves.

I learned quickly to understand my physical limitations and be aware of my surroundings out of necessity and being fortunate enough to learn through mistakes.  Mistakes that would be looked upon as neglectful parental oversight I think nowadays.  Oh well, the more experiences I can give my kids that allow them to freely explore the world around them is a goal I now seek to employ as often as possible.

While on Heron Island, we were able to relax our responsibilities not only for our kids, but for ourselves as well.  That was a wonderful escape from so much necessary daily need that didn’t fully dawn on me until I took the time to go through the pictures and saw that freedom on our faces and sense of wonder in our demeanor.

Life is a constant balancing act, and so much more so with kids.  Learning to live within a reasonable framework of moderation and logical sensibility all while letting go and getting to experience the feeling of your stomach dropping out or the rush of life through your hair is an act that I hope to master.  So, goodbye and thank you Heron Island, you were a wonderful reminder of a different time which has helped bring me back to what it should be like to be a kid.

Here’s to finding more of that freedom within our daily confines both for ourselves and those who we have chosen to guide through life.

All my best,



8 thoughts on “*Island style livin’ in the Northwest

  1. Fabulous blog Tyson, reminds me so much of my childhood as well, all be it in a very different environment, that of the heavily industrialised South Wales Valleys. Almost forgot to mention, the fantastic images of this idyll, of a time and place to be found in fewer and fewer places of such innocence.


    • Thank you very much Geoff for taking the time to comment. I find myself redefining life on a daily basis with these little ones around, which also has me constantly remembering back to my own childhood which has been very enjoyable albeit much more tiring this time around.



      • You are so very welcome Tyson. I know just what you are saying about having little ones around. As for myself it was only the one who is now 31 years old herself, make the most of those young and carefree years with them they disappear all to quickly.


  2. Thanks for a great read. I don’t have kids myself just yet (though it is not far away at all!), but I’ve been thinking about what kind of parent I hope to be; I’m glad to see that others have the same ideals as me when it comes to parenting. I want my kids to feel free to explore and make mistakes (as I did). But as you say, in the modern world this is too often frowned upon as bad parenting. Yet I see countless bored children being dragged around the shops on a Saturday and Sunday – surely that is bad parenting!

    We’re lucky enough to live on the beautiful South coast of England, with the beach in one direction and the South Downs National Park in the other. I’m going to make it my goal to let them have as much freedom as possible to explore everything mother nature has to offer. Every time I feel this goal slipping, I’ll try to remember this article to renew my enthusiasm.

    Thanks for the inspiration!


    • Thanks Rich,

      I visited the south coast just last Fall. We were visiting friends who live in Hill Head. They happen to be our distributor for the UK and are based in Fareham, so I got to do a bit of exploring in the area. I’ve been down there a couple times now and have enjoyed it immensely.

      Thanks for the comment, and if you do become a parent, stick to your gut. I like to try and look at the responsibility as a constant balancing act between compassion, logic and guidance. Just recently we were at the grocery store and my oldest wanted to hold a jalapeno pepper (I love spicy things and near literally drink hot sauce with most meals, so he’s very curious) as we perused the market. I’d explained to him just how spicy, and painful, it would be if he were to bite it (he is obsessed with trying to eat things with pepper on them to test his spice threshold currently) letting him know it would be so much spicier than pepper. He’s a pretty sharp kid, so I let him hold onto it. Once in the checkout line, he started to nibble at it a bit which caught the clerk’s attention. She asked if he should be doing that, and I looked at him, turned back to her and said that he’d only do that once. That was enough to immediately remove the jalapeno from LBWHF’s mouth, before he even broke the skin. I’m sure it would have been a painful, potentially traumatic experience for him, but I’m sure he’d have been just fine (physically anyway, and I had some yogurt in the cart if we needed to treat it on site) and no doubt would have heeded my warnings more acutely in the future.

      I got a bit of a look from the clerk, but I didn’t feel like a bad parent at all. I’m sure many would see this as poor judgement, but it wasn’t rat poison, it was something that would have had no lasting harm had he actually bit into it, and would have been a lesson learned (albeit a painful one) and it wasn’t like I had him holding onto a habenero or anything, sheesh. Long story longer, while I’d never do anything within my power to put my children into the path of true harm, I’m not against them learning certain things the hard way, especially if I’m able to observe it and be there to help them deal with it. Is there a difference between a jalapeno and say a firework? Yes. Should he wear a helmet while riding a bike even though I’ve never ever personally owned one and did my fair share of biking, skating, etc and made it through unscathed, sure maybe, but I want him, and his brother to understand that while protective gear (or the “bubble wrapping”) can certainly help, we need to live life without the reliance of that protective gear, to make decisions based on our well being without that false safety net that these pads or helmets may provide which aren’t a replacement for good judgement and awareness.

      I see far too many kids (and parents) on bikes not paying enough attention when on the road nowadays. I knew, in my youth, to make sure I wasn’t going to get creamed by a car before I rode/skated/walked anywhere near a road, and was constantly on the lookout while now I rarely see people glance in any direction but ahead of them, crossing streets without looking because they have a “walk sign” but they’re wearing helmets, or have the “right of way” so they should be fine.

      anyhoo, thanks again, and sorry for taking the opportunity to further ramble on…



  3. Hey Tyson,
    It was really great to see you after all these years. I look forward to making some time to go threw your blog more. Looks like you guys had a wonderful time and the pictures are great. I wish you and your family the best. Hope to chat you up about life and photography again soon. Let’s not let a huge gap of time to go by.

    Much love from your fellow Hoodie Rat,


    • Hey Lei!

      Same here. Always great to reconnect with the oldschoolers 🙂

      I’d love to see more of your photography too if you have anything online to view, and as I’m sure you know, I’m always down with talking shop.

      Hope to cross paths again soon.



  4. Pingback: *Porto, business and pleasure | Tyson Robichaud Photo-blography

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