Why you should travel with children
Doc and I were really lucky that prior to the arrival of the little adventurers we did a round the world trip, it was only 3 month but it was some of the most memorable, exhilarating and fun filled days of my life. My ultimate dream is to do a similar trip with the children for 12-18 months. When I say I want to, I mean I want to do this trip with the whole essence of my being, it would always be my ultimate dream come true (well after having my lovely husband and little adventurers come into my life). However, when I say this to people they look at me like I have grown a second head or have completed lost it, travelling for long periods with young children? why? So my post today is about why should you go on a round the world trip especially with children. For us we would ideally want to travel when Zayn was at school and could read, so he too could get involved with the preparation of our travels.
1. Its educational
Being in the great wide world, learning about our great planet first hand is the most magical education we can give our children. Learning about countries, people, history first hand by touching and feeling the subject cannot be surpassed by anything taught in classrooms. Children will learn maths whilst converting currency, learning miles and time differences. Learn geography first hand, seeing the monsoon of south east Asia, the majesty of Machu Picchu, learning about climates and geology, cultures and religion. Plus it is all the extra skills that will be learnt, the ability to socialise with anyone, anywhere. Appreciation that the world is different but still the same, how we need to think like a global citizen to make the world a better and more accepting place in the future. I want the world to be a classroom for my little adventurers and them embrace as many new experiences as possible.
2. It shows you who you are
I saw a whataspp status the other day of one of my oldest friends, “Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you were.’ I think in today’s busy, hectic lives we have a tendency to be grouped and categorised into a certain occupation, personality etc. Breaking free from the daily life routine and restrictions, you have that chance to remember who you are. Not Dr Khalid, or Maya’s Dad, or an introvert. It is not only a journey of discovering new adventures, but of discovering yourself.
3. Gives you perspective
We are a society of having and needing “things”, we have too many that we no longer actually appreciate what we have, I am as guilty as the next person of this. I think travelling for a period of time would help make you and the children aware that you actually need very little to be happy. From experience lugging things around with you, means that you do not carry anything you do not need. Travelling gives you the chance to get rid of excessive things you have cluttering your life. I think it would be a detox that most people need but would never do. I know that we often spend too much of our lives thinking about all the things that we don’t have without spending enough time appreciating what we do have. Seeing poverty and how other people in the world manage on so little is amazingly humbling and is a real eye opener, especially for children. We saw a homeless man on holiday and it made Maya worry and think about it for days. I can only imagine what it would be like to see things in more developing countries and part of our trip I would want to do volunteer work in a developing country so my little adventurers have the chance to see and live with these communities.
4. Memories that cannot be replaced
I remember from my own round the world trip we made memories that have lasted and still bring a smile to my face when I remember a small snippet of our travels. Travelling gives you so many moments that will last you a lifetime and those experiences can never be taken from you. I can only imagine how amazing it would be to see Uluru at sunset with my little adventurers, climbing to the Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan, standing at the foot of Mount Everest at Base camp in Nepal or watching the majesty of Niagara or Victoria Falls. Driving around Tuscany, taking in the sights and sounds or sitting at the feet of the Colesseum at night, walking in the path of people who thousands of years ago who set the foundations of the modern world as we know it. Walking in the wilderness in Tasmania or staring at the star speckled sky in the outback, with no sounds, people or light in the horizon and realising just how small we are in this vast, immense universe. The list that I have is endless (I have already done some of these and they are beyond magical) but it will also be all the accidental adventures that we would have that would be part of memories that as a family we would cherish and that could not be replaced, no matter how life pans out or our journey progresses.
5. Meaningful relationships
Parents love their children unconditionally but between work, school, groups the amount of quality that we have with our children may not be as much as we would want. Travelling away from our ‘packed’ daily lives would mean that we could focus on our relationships with our children. We won’t remember the long hours we worked when looking back in 20 years but you will remember all the magical moments you shared with the loves of your life. Long term travel is not just about the destination but the focus moves to the journey you are making as a family. You have the time to talk to your children and give them the your full, undivided and complete attention, without thinking in the back of your mind of all the chores and jobs that are waiting for you. You can stop running from pillar to post in your daily life and focus wholeheartedly on the now and make the moments count with your children. For me it is also about establishing a forever, loving relationship between my children. Being together 24/7 forces you to be friends as well as siblings as often they are the only people you would see for several days. You will also have so many memories that you have shared that it will hopefully strengthen the sibling bond forever.
6. They will never be this age again
Children grow too quickly and I want to enjoy as much of their childhood as I can. I already see such little of Maya with school and groups that it is going to get even worse with piles of homework and if I was to ever go back to work. I want a year or two where I can enjoy my children and really make the time with them count. Between PhD write ups, small children, work we haven’t managed to spend that much time continually as a family. Our year away in Warwick was lovely as we spent a lot of time together as a family but even then Doc was working 40 plus hours and we travelling back to Lancashire every weekend so spent over 10 hours in the car doing a weekly commute. This travel time would be complete and total time together. I am sure we will want to strangle each other sometimes but it would be an amazing experience.
7. Travelling with children shows the world in a completely different way
Children have such a unique and amazing outlook on life. My little adventurers can spend hours blowing dandelions and chasing butterflies. Children have the ability to see the magic in our glorious world which we as adults sometimes fail to see. By the very fact that you have children with you on your travels, people will interact with your differently and the things that you will do and experience will be completely different then if you were a couple travelling. One thing I have learnt from the 6 years of being a mother is that children put the fun into life, whether it be jumping in every puddle and getting mucky, making you dance like no one is watching or to forget your inhibitions and remember not to take yourself so seriously. Its is making the ordinary magical again.
8. It makes you adventurous
Going on a long term trip makes you adventurous (I think we need to live up to our name as the fiveadventurers). Your days aren’t predetermined and your path is not defined, there is always a big question mark of what you will be doing and who with and that in itself is an exhilarating feeling. Travelling for extended periods of time opens up a lot more options that you would never have considered on shorter vacations. I hate heights but being in the adventurous spirit we gave hot air ballooning and hand gliding (you literally jump off the edge of the cliff) and i haven’t regretted it ever.
9. You’ll only regret it in the future
Regret is something that is the worst thing in life to feel. I am a fairly optimistic person and try to think that most things in life are not a mistake but lead to your life going down a different path. But we often have regrets of chances and opportunities we have missed. I would hate to look back in the future and wonder what if…. I know that not all of your dreams can come true but if it is something that your heart, mind and soul is telling you is right for you, then you should (hint, hint Doc)
10. What is the purpose of life
The purpose of life is something that much more intelligent people than me have been pondering for centuries, I don’t know what the purpose if but I know that I want to give my children the opportunity to try and experience some of the world together, make them understand that they are truly cherished and spend quality time with them. I want my little adventurers to be open minded and accepting of all people regardless of their age, sex, colour or religion. I hate living by conventions just purely because everyone else does, a life should be determined by your path not one which society or people think you should be living. I think travelling around the world would make my little adventurers believe to dream big, the world is full of endless opportunities and to not fear the unknown but to take that first step and have the belief that the path will lead to a glorious destination.
I could go on and on (and on and on) about travelling and why I want to and why we should. Whether we get to go will be dependent on many matters, financial being the main one as a single income family these dreams may not be realistic. But why dream a little dream, if I am going to dream I want to dream to have a whole world of experiences and opportunities in it!