Believing In Experiences Over Materialism

Shawn Vicklund

Bozeman, Montana - On the heels of a busy holiday season and getting settled into a new year, new goals are set. One family has set a life goal of giving their kids experiences over material things. It’s something many parents strive for and find it increasingly difficult to do in this age of technology.

This family seems to have the formula. Meet ‘The A Team’! Adam and Ashley and their three daughters, Addison (Addy), Ashlynn and Astella (Stella). They are an adventurous family of five and have made Bozeman their first stop on a ‘Trip of a Lifetime.’

The Carr Family, (a.k.a. LifeWithTheATeam), says they’re your typical family of five with a flare and passion for adventure. After learning more about them, the places they’ve been and the family memories they make together, I found them to be extraordinarily inspiring and adventurous, and I became interested to learn more about their mountainous journeys. In 2019, they traveled a total of 15,000 miles (25,000 km), visited 21 states, seven provinces, went on over 100 family hikes and slept for a total of 39 days away from home. They’ve been on top of mountains and sand dunes, inside sea caves and sand caves.

Being able to travel and explore North America requires teamwork (long road trips with three kids ages 3-11!) and Adam and Ashley have combined their goal to explore and give their kids experiences over material items in a unique way. Adam Carr is a correctional officer and mountaineer. A seasoned adventurer and explorer, his passion has led to the opportunity of becoming an Ambassador for The North Face and Keen as well as multiple other outdoor-based companies. His adventures have been featured on the monthly photographers list in Backpacker Magazine. Ashley is a professional photographer and has won several awards for her work as well.

They enjoy hiking, road trips and fell in love with the majestic Rocky Mountains at first sight. This passion is what prompted the ‘Trip of a Lifetime Adventure’ that led them from their home of Calgary, Alberta, to Bozeman, Montana, to Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California.

I had the opportunity to catch-up with Adam and his family in Bozeman as they had made it their first stop of their road trip before heading on to Moab, Utah, making a few stops with a final stop in Disneyland.

Okay, traveling with children is not the easiest, especially young ones. Giving experiences is often harder in a sense than material toys and gifts because of the patience and thoughtfulness required.

“90% of our trips include our girls. Surprisingly, without fail, we ALWAYS get asked “You’re actually taking your kids?” - Hell yes I’m taking my kids! Through travels, our children realize that different is good, adventures are exciting, and that they don’t have to go along with everyone else ‘just because’! When you travel with kids, you’re giving them something that can never be taken away - experience, exposure, and a way of life. So that’s exactly what we do, and they love every minute of it. One by one, we’re creating memories that can’t be put into words,” says Adam.

The Carr family spent a few days enjoying some of the special places Bozeman has to offer. Being from Alberta, they weren’t surprised to drive through a snow storm in mid-October to get here. True to adventurer form, they didn’t let the weather hold them back. They hiked the popular ‘M’ Trail and recommended it as “a family-friendly hike and great place to blow off steam while catching some incredible views.”

After hiking, the family re-charged at The Best Western Plus GranTree Inn in their pool-side room with some swimming and hot tub fun. Enjoying some food at the in-house Club Tavern and Grill, they got some rest and headed on to their next adventure, the famed Museum of the Rockies.

“The girls loved this. We highly recommend the Museum of the Rockies. Not only is it exceptionally educational, it is hands-on and engaging for even the littlest of visitors. It boasts a dinosaur complex, history exhibits (which were my favorite) and an amazing planetarium and discovery center for kids,” said Ashley.

A trip through Montana wouldn’t be complete without seeing some wild life. The Carr’s had the opportunity to visit the Montana Grizzly Encounter in Livingston. “We learned so many interesting facts about Grizzlies. In all of my backpacking, camping and travels, I’ve learned it’s important to be well-educated and take the necessary precautions when heading into bear territory. Also, if you pack it in, pack it out! Don’t leave any garbage lying around. Human error is the number one cause of death in grizzlies.”

We know our backyard of Bozeman has so much to offer, and it’s exciting to see those who truly treasure its beauty make experiences and memories with their families. If you’re lucky enough to live here, you can experience these activities when you want. If you’re wanting to see some of the most special places in the country, this is only scratching the surface. The Carr family plans to return for fishing, ice climbing, more hiking, camping and more. What’s your trip of a lifetime?

You can follow the Carr Family and their adventures on Instagram at @lifewiththeateam or Whether you call Bozeman home or are planning your next family trip, get inspired and plan your next family adventure. Make memories this year and cross some adventures off your bucket list.  

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