I guess you could say, I was born to travel. I mean, it is sort of in my DNA. My Father grew up as an original Third Culture Kid. Born into an Air Force family, he moved from England, France, Morocco and Syracuse. When he joined Foreign Affairs, he and my Mother instantaneously began to move and travel. At one point, I tried counting the amount of planes I have been on, and I lost track at 350… that is a lot of flying!
I don’t actually recommend moving as much as I have, it has been difficult to say the least, but I love traveling with my son and showing him what the world has to offer. We began traveling with him at the ripe age of 2 months. He went on his first plane trip at 4 months, and he hasn’t stopped. Now, he is more independent, being able to read, pack and heck navigate any airport himself at the age of 8. He is an absolute blast to travel with, and comes up with the best observations.
1.Since we are Canadian, I feel we live in a ridiculously clean, safe little bubble. I don’t want my son to know just his safe bubble, I want him to see the struggles and poverty that exists outside of our regular lives. In Canada, poverty is easily masked, it isn’t in your face as it is in other countries. I grew up facing dire poverty outside of our diplomatic bubble, it is pretty hard to ignore in countries such as the Philippines and Venezuela. It made me more compassionate, and I want my son to grow up with the same compassion for the plight of others. He now stops to give food to the homeless in Toronto and Vancouver, he doesn’t ignore.
2. With Travel, comes a wisdom, and a feeling that so much is possible in life. The more we travel, the more we are sharing history, knowledge and possibilities with our son. Instead of making our life smaller, we are expanding it.
3. Having lived the life that I did, I had a lot of fears, it comes with the territory, but one of the best things that travel gave me, was a sense of fearlessness when it came to experiencing something new. I wanted to pass that to my son. I watch so many people who are terrified of moving, whether it be for school or a job, so they stay in the same spot, getting angrier and more depressed. Their fear of moving, even if it is for something better, paralyses them, so they don’t do it. From day 1, I wanted to make sure my son didn’t have fear of the unknown, the unknown can bring the most fantastic adventures, friends, and experiences. Travel, has already created that. He is not afraid to hop on a plane, nor is he afraid of us moving again, even though, I am pretty sure, we are already creating roots here.
4. Bring on a more open-minded kid. I grew up with 2 conservative looking parents, I mean, my mother wore pearls and sweater sets, and well, my Father was rarely out of a suit and tie. Yet, they were the most open-minded people you could meet, at least, my Father was, sometimes I think my Mother has digressed, but that is a whole other blog post. My Father was pretty clear in one thing, skin colour, religion, sexual identity and gender, were all off the table in assumptions, no question was dumb or off-limits, but answers, well those could be dumb, and quick judgments on anyone were quickly scolded. Our son, is exposed to different cultures, religions, and in the case of Thailand, gender as well as sexual identity. I don’t shy away from any subject, no matter how awkward I feel about it.
5. Confidence. Being able to travel and get out of your comfort zone, takes a certain amount of confidence. By starting to travel early, you are essentially feeding your child a kind of confidence that only comes with travel. Seeing and doing new things in a different culture and language, helps build a confidence that can’t ever be taken away from a child!
Happy traveling everyone.