As a family we love to travel. It doesn’t come without it’s challenges and, like so many of the memes we all read and nod along to, it certainly is easy to believe the “highlight reel” of so many travellers making it look effortless and easy.
Well, it’s not effortless and easy. The challenge of family travel is that it’s exhausting and overwhelming and real and I love it. What travel has given my family can not be replicated in the classroom or, for that matter, in the home. We have just always loved exploring near and far with our children. Here are some of the reasons why.
The world is a school
If all the world is a school, and humanity our teacher, the greatest gift we can give ourselves and our children is the gift of travel. We approach each destination as a place of learning for all of us. I don’t mean that I drill history or art, or culture into my children (okay, sometimes I do like to drill), but what I do love is the natural curiosity that comes with seeking out a new destination. There is so much to learn – some things practical, some not.
Kids will learn with wonder and interest from meeting new people, seeing new cultures in their everyday lives and watching communities go about their day. Broadening their understanding of the world doesn’t have to mean they learn a tangible concept they can recite when they get home. Sometimes what they learn is a new way to see the world.
Fresh eyes on old places
We are not all drawn to be interested in exactly the same thing, which is why when you travel with children you learn so much more.
As adults we are already programmed to “like” that popular monument, or visit that Instagrammable beach. Kids open our eyes to the wonder of simple enjoyment that is unaffected by what other people deem worthy. Their enjoyment of a place is pure and simply from their hearts.
The destination is not the focus
Whether we travel near, or far, on short trips or long adventures, we invest in enriching the lives of all members of the family. As avid travellers there have been times when we needed to have a hiatus, but when you think about it, travel does not need to involve months of planning, itineraries and airfares. A trip to your next town, or even suburb, can be the best adventure.
Our favourite trips are often when we spontaneously load the car up, chuck in a cricket bat, a frisbee and some snacks and see where we can drive to in an hour kind of trip. The arguing in the back seat as the passer of snacks (me) gets the distribution of said snacks wrong, has sometimes threatened the end of some of these road trips, however all it takes is a little shift, a glimpse of something new, or stumbling upon a market, and the little hiccups are so worthwhile.
Your memories are yours and yours alone
At the heart of every journey lies unique, inspiring and memorable shared experiences which strengthen the bond of the family unit forever. We all go to the same place, yet our memories are often oh-so different. I love the uniqueness that adventure and travel can gift a family. The discussions about past mishaps, when things go wrong and at the time you couldn’t laugh – but you laugh now, and sometimes you laugh so hard tears spring to your eyes.
Have you travelled as a family or do you plan to?
Images: Brenda Pomponio