As you cross the bridge, you open your car windows, letting in the fresh sea air. The vast blue water stretches out as far as you can see. Your preoccupied thoughts of work, carpools, chores, and checklists begin to dissipate into the landscape around you. As each wave crashes to shore, you feel tension and stress receding from your shoulders. This is the magic of the Outer Banks – a gentle power which seems to slow down the pace of the world around you. A power which makes you feel fully present and alive in this moment.
The Outer Banks, recently featured in the Netflix TV show, is having “a moment” as one might say. Even before Gen-Z made this riveting discovery, the Outer Banks has always been a popular vacation destination. It’s not hard to understand why. The secluded beaches, protected landscape, and rich history make it the perfect destination for families wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Coming to the Outer Banks is like entering a different world. Its magic has inspired many to return year after year to receive their annual dose of oceanfront detox. When you enter into this world-famous “happy place,” you may not have the recognizable OBX license plate, but we recommend the following steps to blend in with the locals and maximize your visit.
Be fully present.Put down your phone and take in the ocean breeze. Filled with emails, notifications, and deadlines, our phones have the ability to take us out of the moment and pull us back into our 9-to-5 lives. When you are in the Outer Banks, focus on being present and let those expectations fade away. You are on beach time. This is especially important while driving in the Outer Banks. The streets around the coast are full of people – people on beach cruiser bicycles, people pulling coolers and lugging surf boards, people crossing with little kids and beach umbrellas. Keep your eyes on the road to be fully present and to protect your fellow beach folks.
2. Enjoy your surroundings. When you enter into the Outer Banks there are a few things that never change. There will always be a parade of families with a slew of kids running ahead, people pulling wagons with boogie boards and colorful tents in tow, and visitors of every age biking to the beach. These walkers and bikers make up the quintessential Outer Banks that we picture in our heads when longing for an escape. Keep them safe by paying attention to your surroundings – especially while driving. Remember to look for people crossing the road and be proactive in predicting people’s movements. Enter into this Outer Banks state of mind and you can save lives.
3. Slow down and take a breath. Our lives move so fast. Treat yourself when visiting the Outer Banks by allowing yourself to slow down. Savor your book in the sand. Wander aimlessly along the beach. And take it easy as you drive around. Lowering your speed on the road reduces the number of collisions and reduces the severity of crashes as well. Slowing down is not only the vacation you deserve, but it saves lives.
We hope you enjoy your stay in the Outer Banks. In a world where everything moves so fast, take the opportunity to be fully present, enjoy your surroundings, take it easy, and slow down when visiting the Outer Banks.
“Mama look! A butterfly!” She giggles and points as a bright yellow butterfly dances past. It stops to sip nectar from a small flower near the sidewalk. You hadn’t noticed that flower before. You smile and pat her backpack as you continue down the sidewalk. The cars passing can’t possibly notice that flower – or the Cardinal that cheeps at the two of you from a branch above.
The air feels cool this time of the morning. You breathe in deeply and feel a shift in the weight on your shoulders. A gentle easing. You needed that.
As you approach the next intersection, she turns to you smiling. “Almost there!” She presses the crosswalk button while looking up at the sky. “That one looks like a shark Mama,” she says as she points above.
“Ah, I see it! Shark!” you say as you wait for the light. “Ok, what do we do now?” you ask as traffic begins to slow.
She grabs your hand and starts looking back and forth down the road. “Hold hands. Look both ways. Listen!”
As you make your way across together, you think to yourself that school drop-off has never been so sweet.
For many North Carolina families, school looks very different this fall. Whether your child is meeting in a classroom or settling into lessons from home, we invite you to join us for Walk in Your Community/Walk to School Day on October 7, 2020.
Each year, thousands of North Carolina kids participate in International Walk to School Day. From the famous Walking School Bus to large parades and everything in between, communities across the state find ways to celebrate walking to school.
Walking one mile to and from school each day is two-thirds of the recommended sixty minutes of physical activity a day.
If your child is attending school in person, make a plan to walk there on October 7. Registered school events in North Carolina are listed on the Walk Bike to School site, but you do not have to walk with an officially registered event to participate. If your child’s school is not holding an official event, consider inviting a few of your child’s friends or other neighbors in your area.
If you live far away, pick a parking spot within a mile of the school and do the last leg of the trip on foot. By practicing the route to school with your child, you teach her/him safety and health skills that they will carry for life.
This year, for North Carolina kids who aren’t attending in-person school or are unable to walk to school, we have adapted Walk to School Day to include Walk in Your Community Day. To participate, kids and their grown-ups can go on a walk at any place of their choice. Share pictures of your walk online and join the conversation with #walkinyourcommunity.
Physical activity can positively impact academic achievement, student morning energy levels and attention, truancy and absenteeism, and can improve schools and their communities through social bonding and community building.
Your child looks up to you and absorbs your behavior. That is why it is said that children start learning how to drive from the moment you turn their carseat facing forward! The good news is that you can help ensure your child is a safe driver years before they get a driver’s license. By modelling the habits that will keep them safe on the road, you teach them without making it a formal lesson.
Even very young children notice your behaviors when you travel. Help them to absorb safety habits by showing them the right things to do around traffic.
Explain your Thinking Process
As you are traveling, explain your decisions by using I statements. For example:
“Oh look, the cars way up there are braking. I will slow down too.”
“Since it’s raining, it may be hard for people to see this car. I’m going to put on my headlights so they can see us.”
“There’s a pedestrian at that crosswalk! I’m going to stop and wave at her so she can cross safely.”
“That big truck may not be able to see my car, so I’m going to give it plenty of space.”
Imagine your Child with a Driver’s License
Even if your child will not start driving for another decade, he is already learning how to drive by watching you. If he spent years watching you text and drive, what do you think he will do once he gets his license? If the driving example in your family includes speeding, do you think he will follow the speed limit?
Make a Family Commitment
Discuss safety rules with your family and commit to them together. Give your children permission to remind you of that commitment if they catch you doing something unsafe. By keeping each other accountable, your child will also learn how to speak up and advocate for her safety in other situations.