You’re raising superheroes! Well, maybe they won’t be the Man of Steel or Wonder Woman but their contribution to the world could be so much more. I firmly believe that by traveling with your children they very well could help solve world problems one day. I recently read a post titled “Why travel with young kids even if they don’t remember it” by Family on Bikes. I caught myself saying yes and nodding my head in agreement with so much of what was being shared. It’s pushed me to share my own thoughts on this topic.
When I had M, I planned a trip to Lower Michigan and Canada with my best friend and of course the baby. My mom made a comment that always has stuck with me. She said “Amanda, he’s a baby not an accessory. You can’t just take him along like a purse.” I was so confused. Why did having a baby mean that we were now relegated to sit at home. Didn’t people everywhere have babies therefore having the things babies needed available? He was 10 weeks old and a very good baby. We made the trip and came back in one piece. No problem. Thus began his superhero career.
Traveling is something that is a reality in our life. Our family is scattered on three continents, and both MarocBaba and I love to travel. My kids have been on planes, trains, buses, cars, camels, donkeys, on foot, on bikes, on mopeds and probably close to any other mode of transportation you can imagine. They don’t flinch when they hear someone speaking with an accent, they (for the most part) don’t turn up their nose at foods most American kids wouldn’t touch, and they have a broad world view. If you asked a 6 or 9 year old walking down the street to name a city in Spain or where the Caribbean Ocean is they might answer, but the majority have no way to conceptualize what those places are. Because of our travel we have made these locations more than just a spot on a map.
Technology has opened up a lot of opportunity to explore the world but there’s simply no substitute for actually being in and experiencing a place. Do my kids remember their first trips? No of course not, but they are veteran flyers, and a road trip of several days is not a big deal for them. They easily adapt to new places, new faces, and experiences. I have to credit that to an early exposure to new places, foods, and traditions. Children who travel are not wrapped up in identifying differences, especially if done at a young age. The media reports they see as older adolescents or young adults have a different meaning. If something happens somewhere, say Germany, and they’ve been there the issue is more real. The people are real. There is no disconnect between here and there, us and them. This is why they become superheroes AND this is why these traveling little people will someday make the world a better place.
Would you be surprised to learn both of my boys have already aged out of their first passport? Yup at 6 and 9 they are both using the second passport that’s been issued to them. In the United States only about 35% of people have a passport, and I haven’t been able to find any statistics on how many of those are minors. So are my kids superheroes because they’re in the passport club? No, they’re superheroes because of the gift that comes with that little blue book. Traveling with children, no matter what their age, gives them wisdom and insight that can not be found somewhere else, nor can it ever be taken from them. I will continue to take them wherever in the world our future holds because I know this is a treasure. One day they might be in an encounter where their travel experiences really pay off, and who knows that side trip we took to visit ancient pyramids might help one of them negotiate with big business who wants to destroy them for a new development. Without seeing it, without meeting the people in that place, it’s just a place. To these superheroes it’s real.