When I became pregnant with my first child, I heard over and over again how my wanderlust ways would have to come to an end. I knew that my love for travel would not subside once my daughter was born and I would find a way to continue traveling with her in tow, and I did!
It’s unfortunate that so many parents and parents-to-be feel that once they have children, their traveling days are over. I promise that they don’t have to end and there are great things that come along with traveling with kids.
Here are some reasons I travel with my kids and some good changes I’ve experienced since doing so.
The biggest change I noticed on my first trip with my oldest daughter was that I wasn't moving as fast as I usually did. At first, I was a little annoyed. I wanted to get out and see as much as possible; I had a checklist and needed to cross everything off. I soon realized a lot of my travel was exactly that, just checking things off my list but not really taking it in.
Because I couldn’t move as fast with my daughter I started traveling deeper. Furthermore, because of her vantage point, she sees things I don’t and is always pointing them out to me. An example was when we were on the beach in Phuket, my youngest was crawling in the sand and noticed some baby crabs walking along the shoreline. We would have totally missed this had she not pointed it out. My oldest and I definitely enjoyed watching them go in and out of their shells.
“What is that?” “What are they doing?” “Why?” Those are just a few of my daughter’s favorite questions. I don’t know about your kids, but mine will not take “I don’t know” for an answer. I’ve learned to love this, as I learn more since I am forced to find the answers to their questions.
Children are natural icebreakers. I've engaged in conversations with so many more people than I normally would have because of my girls. Sometimes the conversation starts just by someone giving them a compliment or because my oldest says "Hi" to everyone. Once this happens, the floodgates open and the conversation continues. This has often led to us finding out about a cool place or nice restaurant in the city we're visiting that we otherwise would not have known about.
No car, we have to take a tuk-tuk? No forks, we must use chopsticks? No traditional bed, we have to sleep on the floor? No problem!
My girls know about different modes of transportation, different foods (my oldest is not a picky eater), and know things won’t always be as they are at home. They also know that’s okay. I know travel is making a positive impact on their personalities, outlook on the world, and even their behavior.
I am a firm believer that most things learned are taught outside of the classroom, and that travel is a great teacher. Even at two years old, my oldest has learned that there are many different types of people in the world who all look very different. She knows and understands there are different languages spoken and different foods served based on where you live. She doesn’t have negative preconceived notions about people who are different from her. In fact, she has plenty of examples of many different types of people who have been kind to her.
If you haven’t taken a trip with your kids yet, go for it, the memories you create will last a lifetime!
This article was originally published on Ebony.com.