As an expat family and serious travel lovers, we have always taken our children to far flung destinations. We have never thought of travelling less because we had children. We have never stuck to a 4-hour drive/flight rule or a no-fly rule for under 2-year-olds as so many families we know do. Travel is part of our family's identity. You should see how many maps and globes we have in our house. We love travelling and even though travelling with children is completely different from travelling as a couple (and less face it much less of a holiday), we (still) enjoy it.
We certainly hope we will have given the travel bug to our children by the time they are old enough to do so on their own. At the very least, travel will have opened their mind and broadened their horizons and partly made them who they are. So I am writing this today as a little memento for myself and as a piece for them to read one day in the future.
To my children:
- Travelling with you is one of my favourite things in the world.
It is not a holiday, not always, or at least a different kind of holiday because let's face it travelling with children is not always relaxing. Yet, showing you that there really is that big large statue you have seen in a cartoon on the top of the most beautiful mountain, in the most beautiful city I have been to (so far) was worth every minute of the 5-day-long vomiting bug you caught when we arrived in Brazil.
- Travel does not have to mean to the other side of the world
Travel can be to the next village, the next city, the country next door. You don't have to fly half-way around the world to travel. Travelling is discovering new things, new people, new experiences.
|Music in Lanzarote, Canaries|
- Travel will make you richer.
It may be a cliché but travel does leave traces in your memory, your heart, your body and your soul. Accumulate those memories, they are priceless. Take something away with you and leave a little something behind too whenever you can.
- Know languages, countries and people
Don't judge, be open-minded. Learn about the people, the countries and their languages. You will learn so much from all of them.
- Stay humble about it.*
You have both been to so many countries before you could even walk or talk. The fact that, just to visit grandparents, we had to make a 9-hour road trip meant you have always been travelling and have been incredibly good at it: patient and resilient. But please stay modest and humble about it. You will soon realise that not everyone hops on a plane to see their grandmother who is ill or cousins for a birthday or flies across the Atlantic once a year.
- You can travel anywhere, any time and with(out) whoever you want.
Never listen to people who tell you you can't travel here and there because it is not the right season, not the right time or the right thing to do. You can go anywhere you like in the world (apart maybe from war-torn areas). Alone, with friends, with family: just follow your heart. Be confident, careful, safe and prepared is all I ask.
N.B. don't use this when you are 16 to tell me you are going alone to some war zone and it is fine because I wrote it here!
- Travel is not about money, but courage.
You don't need lots of money. It helps, but it is not the most important. What you need is plenty of courage. It takes courage to fly across the Atlantic alone when you are 16 to visit someone you have never met. You can do it, like I did. Have the courage to go beyond the tourist trails and what Benidorm has to offer! Don't just dream it. Don't be scared. Plan and go for it.
Travel has a nasty habit to throw unexpected bad experiences your way. Remember the hospital in Italy or getting robbed while in a stopped taxi in Brazil? We never really dwelt on those days. There are good days. There are bad days. Travel is life. Move on and don't let it deter you from packing your bag once more.
- Your memory is your travel bag.
You don't need to travel with tons of gear. As a family we never carried a lot: baby carriers and the minimum always suited us best. I don't envy these parents folding prams at the airport while juggling a toddler and carrying 3 bags each (including their own toilet paper).
You don't need to buy hundreds of souvenirs and trinkets from your travels either. Pictures, notes and your experiences (stored somewhere in the little brain of yours) will be enough.
- Travel does not define you
You define yourself. Travelling or not, you are you: my daughter, my son. Travel may have shaped part of your childhood, part of who you are but it is only that: a part of you.
And if you choose to stay put, if travel is not really your thing, because you will have done way too much of it when you were young, then it is fine too. You will find your own way to be yourself.
This post was written as part of the A-Z of Raising Global Citizens hosted by Creative World of Varya.
In these Series 24 bloggers of Multicultural Kid Blogs Community got together to share ideas and tips on Raising Global Citizens. Follow us from June 1st to June 26th as we share a letter of the alphabet and an idea associated with it over at Raising Global Citizen Series page!
Creative World of Varya = Bilingual Avenue = The European Mama = Melibelle in = Smart Tinker = Good To Be Mom = Marie's Pastiche = Third Culture Mama = Tiny Tapping Toes = All Done Monkey = Russian Step By Step = Multilingual Parenting = In The Playroom = Rue Du Belvedere = Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes = La Cité des Vents = Faith Seeker Kids = World Languages = The Piri-Piri Lexicon = Healthy Child, Global Mind = Mama Smiles = The Art Curator for Kids = Words n Needles = Multicultural Kitchen = Crazy Little Family Adventures