Yes, you can call us crazy! We take our kids with us to travel the world and never regret it—not for one minute.
The first thing someone usually says to us when we say we took our son to Europe when he wasn’t even 2 yet is, “Seriously?! You guys are crazy—he won’t even remember it.” I am always dumbfounded by this response. My goal of family travel is not to have him remember every moment– who cares if he does–I will remember everything! I will remember seeing his amazement at the Eiffel Tower. His excitement sitting on a double decker bus in London and his joy playing hide and seek at the Coliseum in Rome. I take tons of pictures and make family yearbooks. We relive our travels through those pictures as often as we want to.
We now have two boys, ages 5 & 8. They’ve been to the Caribbean, Europe, Mexico, and Canada as well as all over the US. And, this summer we’re off to Asia. Every trip has been AMAZING! Whatever they remember, they know that the world is not too big for them to explore and, they are less intimated when exposed to new things. Seeing new places and understanding that everyone in this world does things a little bit differently is eye-opening for them. Watching them comprehend that culture is how one approaches life but, we’re all ultimately the same, is something that just can’t be taught in the classroom–it has to be seen. The world and its experiences are the ultimate teacher. We are giving them exposure to new things and letting them soak in the world like they naturally do.
Traveling has given our boys a different perspective on meeting new people. It’s made them more open to trying new things. Travel can be long and tiring, but the rewards are great. In addition, these experiences have made them more patient and adaptable to everyday life.
In the end, taking our kids to see the world is about exposing them to new experiences. Just like we try to do here in Atlanta. We are sparking their curiosity in the world and showing them that gifts can come as experiences, not only as material objects. The world is their oyster. They can go out into that world with confidence and become whomever they want to be.
What they remember, regardless of their age, is an amazing family experience that brings us closer. They remember the warm feeling of love and laughter and that is all I need to know.