It’s been just over six months since we began to work on this little side project, which means our first real blog post, “Why Travel With Kids” is six months old now. After re-reading the article, I still agree with everything we tried to get across. However, after having six more months to travel as a family, visiting some incredible places, and meeting some truly memorable people along the way, it has become clear that we were missing something.
In that original post, we focused on how travel can help your kids grow and develop, help strengthen your family bond, and can expand their horizons to see beyond what is “normal.” What has truly begun to stand out to us, however, is how traveling with your kids can open doors that you would never even know were there, and give YOU a much more rewarding and complete experience when on the road. Even a few months ago, this is a concept we didn’t really appreciate or understand.
Let me explain. Time and time again over the past several months, we’ve seen how our kids have helped open people up in a way that we could never do ourselves. Children are valued and cherished in nearly every single culture, and this seems to break down any pre-conceived ideas as to what two Caucasian adults would be like if we didn’t have a two and five-year-old along with us. Seeing our kids smile and play somehow instantly makes people open up and share something about themselves. We’ve been invited into people houses for tea in Vietnam, we’ve been rushed to the front of the line because of our children in Cambodia, and we have had countless people come up to us with their children, eager for them to see, interact with, and play with our littles.
Listening to the news, it’s easy to feel like the world is somehow becoming a more divisive place, but through our children we have learned otherwise. Nothing makes us happier than to see Miles and Penny playing with children from a world very different than their own, who look very different than they do, practice another religion, and celebrate different holidays. Play is a universal language, and even if our kids can’t speak a word to other children, they can still very easily get across anything they need to just by having a good time. Any perceived cultural or religious barrier comes crashing down with a good game of hide and seek.
Taking your kids along when traveling can be extremely daunting. It’s certainly harder, it’s messier, and it’s more stressful than if you were without them. However, life (and adventure) doesn’t stop when you have kids! Instead, having your kids along for the ride actually makes YOUR travel experience that much more profound. The doors that your kids help open will reveal to you a deeper understanding of the places you visit…all because your kids show up without any judgement, expectations, or hesitation. They are just happy to be there and greet new people with a smile on their faces. If we could all do that, we honestly believe the would would be a much better place.
Bottom line: Traveling with kids is “hard,” but it’s certainly not “bad.” The more we travel the more we realize that even though our kids make travel more challenging, they also open numerous opportunities that we otherwise would not be afforded. For that we will forever be grateful. Miles and Penny, thanks for being part of our tribe. It is our privilege to explore the world alongside you both.