Life is busy, y’all. The truth is that we all have room for only so many important things in our lives. For our family, travel is one of those things.
Travel broadens our vision. It feeds our soul. It gives us something to look forward to when every day life feels tedious. It gives us a bigger perspective on the world in a way that nothing else can.
Travel is the glue that holds our life together. Even now, when the pandemic has made life feel like it is stalled and travel is very difficult, our memories of our last adventure and daydreaming about our next (no matter how small) give us our light at the end of the tunnel.
Travel provides us something that is more precious than gold. In today’s busy, hectic world, travel gives us long stretches of uninterrupted family time. When we are on vacation, we are free from every day chores, free from unwanted obligations.
We spend our days on vacation exploring and creating memories, and our evenings playing board games or eating gelato while the kids play at a local playground. Having this kind of time to just BE together is something that we all really look forward to.
The Chance to Form Deeper Connections with Extended Family
We are big fans of sharing our travel with members of our extended family. I really feel like it makes our travel experiences richer and more meaningful when we share them with others. Life is so busy and travel gives us time to form deeper family bonds with folks who we otherwise wouldn’t see as much because life is just so darned busy.
I know this is not necessarily normal for a lot of families (and of course we like to take vacations by ourselves from time to time), but we have shared vacations with our siblings and parents and all of these experiences have given us some great family memories as well as a deeper sense of family connection. These deeper family connections are valuable in today’s busy, uncertain world, and there is no better way to make them than sharing the adventures and experiences of travel.
Supercharge Your Children’s Development
Travel is filled with unique experiences. This is why we do it. New places, different foods, different languages. These experiences help your children’s brain development in many ways. Travel makes kids more flexible. It helps their problem solving skills. Seeing the various ways that other people live around the world gives them more compassion and helps to dispel stereotypes.
The biggest brain benefit, in my mind, is the way that travel can help your kids make new neural connections in their brain. Kids’ brains are still developing, and each time your kids experience something new while traveling, their brains make another connection. These additional neural connections can only mean good things in the future for your kids. Just sayin’.
And this benefit extends even to kids who are too young to remember the actual trip! I hate hearing people say, “I am not going to take my 3 year old, because they won’t remember it.” We still take our little ones to the zoo, and they won’t remember that. If they won’t remember any of it, then why not just lock them up under the stairs until they are older? Sorry, off my soap box now...
Travel Enhances and Deepens Learning
We went to a program at our local children’s museum about jungle animals. Because my kids had actually BEEN to a jungle, they had a much deeper understanding and context for what they were learning. Having real world experiences of places, animals and people gives them context for what they see in the world, in books and on tv when they get home. The world becomes a real, dynamic place to them, and they can see more clearly how their actions affect it.
Travel also makes them more curious to learn more deeply about the world at large when we are at home. They may be a little more patient about stopping to learn about the bear in the zoo in a deeper way if they had the experience of seeing a bear in the wild on your trip to Grand Teton last summer (this was one of the BEST parts of our summer vacation this year).
Travel Teaches Our Kids Compassion and Understanding...and APPRECIATION
Traveling to other countries (and even sometimes in our own country) teaches our kids that some people live simpler lives than we do, and some people live richer lives than we do, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that one is “better” or “worse”.
It gives them valuable perspective on the blessed life that we have, and compassion and a desire to help those who are struggling more than we are. IMHO too many people in rich, western, developed countries live an insulated life in a bubble of sorts.
Here in the US, there are too many people who have never really experienced how hard life can be in other parts of the world. This is perhaps one of the biggest gifts that travel gives my kids...appreciation and a desire to compassionately help others and make the world a whole a better place (because travel makes those other parts of the world “real” to them in a way that is not the same if you never leave your backyard.)
Family Travel is Legacy That Keeps On Giving
If you ask many avid, dedicated travelers why they travel so much, they will often tell you that it is because their parents took them on a lot of trips when they were growing up. This is true for both my husband and I.
It is my deepest hope that when my kids have kids of their own, they will think back fondly on all of the trips that they went on when they were kids and want to share those same experiences with their own kids. A love of travel is truly a gift that can live for generations.
These are some of the reasons that travel is so important for our family. What lessons or gifts has travel given your family? What benefit are you most looking forward to experiencing on your next big trip?