Only 18 summers
Don’t wait until they are grown
I can't even believe these are my little babies. It still seems like yesterday I was taking them to get these pictures taken for their first airplane trip. Yes, both girls first airplane ride was to Europe. You are probably thinking it’s crazy, but for us it was an experience we will never forget. The girls may not remember it, but they love looking at pictures from London and Italy as a baby.
Over the past week we have had a few geography lessons since Kyle is in China. It has been fun hearing Mackenzie explain to Hailey where he is and about the 12-hour time change. The girls love talking to Kyle about the food he is eating and the way of life in China. For the first time, I told Kyle I am ready to join him on his next trip to China. I have never had a desire to go but I was letting fear control that thought. He was shocked, but we will see if I can get there in the near future, with the girls of course!
As a travel professional I hear reasons all the time why people can’t do xyz. “One day...we’re going to take the kids to Hawaii!”, “We really want to travel over to Europe, but we’re waiting until the kids are older” “We really want to go out West and see the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, but our summers are just too busy”. Do any of those statements sound familiar to you? The average American family doesn’t think they spend enough time together (guilty). Between school, work, sports, and extracurricular activities it’s no surprise that we are all feeling disconnected and burned out. The best way to reconnect with your loved ones is to get away. No distractions and no excuses: just you and your kids (or Grandkids) spending “quality time”, enjoying each other’s company and maybe even experiencing an unfamiliar culture together. “Next Year, maybe” turns into the year after that...and so forth...until you “blink” and you're sitting at their high school graduation wondering what just happened!
Travel is proven to be a wonderful learning tool for children. Seeing how people live in other countries can open their minds and hearts and expand their imagination exponentially.
Here are a few things travel can provide your family
It creates lasting relationships //Relationships both between your family members and people you meet while on the road. These folks that you run into along the way give you a glimpse of what life is like outside your regular circle of friends and can give you a fresh perspective on how other cultures live.
You can learn another language // There is something very exciting about being able to throw around a few words of French, knowing how to say hello and thank you in Portuguese, or ordering off a menu written totally in Italian...and hoping you don’t end up with something inedible! And...knowing that if you do accidentally order calf fries that your whole family will still be laughing about it 20 years from now! Beware of any meat turned into fries.
It gives you and your kids perspective// Meeting folks from other cultures will teach you that the way you look at the world (maybe through the distorted lens of our mass media) is not the way everybody does – and that you could be dead wrong about some things! We have had many meaningful conversations about why Europe is so far ahead of the U.S. in its transportation infrastructure, why people of Native Hawaiian descent still protest becoming a part of the US, and why when we travel outside the United States they can all speak English and we hardly know a lick of any other language.
Are you reading this and thinking “Boy...I’ve always wanted to see the Pacific Ocean with my kids”? If you want to do it now, you’ve probably always wanted to. You’ve imagined it, daydreamed about it, envisioned it. Guess what? Now’s the time to DO IT! I have several vacations on my desk right now for folks just like you, who are wanting to take their 16 and 21 year old’s to Europe before they are leave the house. Don't wait until they are about to move out, start young. Kids are adaptable little sponges who will forever cherish those memories. Remember...you only have 18 summers!