Friday 12 July 2019

Why I want my children to travel the world

As a family we love to travel, and we have been lucky enough to enjoy some wonderful experiences. We are very varied in where we stay, from self-catering cottages to cruise ships to tents. We also travel all over the place, from the campsite up the road, to cities in our own continent, and to faraway countries on the other side of the world.

I know that my children are still young, and there are many things that they don't or won't remember.  But I will always have my own memories of sharing these experiences with them, and I hope that they will grow up remembering an interesting and exciting childhood.

We prioritise travel above many other things in our household budget - our house and clothes are definitely a little scruffy - but I'm so grateful for all the opportunities that we have had.

So I thought I'd write about some of the reasons that travel is brilliant for our family, and why I want my children to see the world.

* Travel helps to enhance their learning. We try our best to find attractions that relate to relevant school topics. So we have seen real Viking ships in Norway, a Roman villa reconstruction in Los Angeles, and numerous castles and forts.

Getty Roman villa in Los Angeles, United States

* We can expose them to different cultures. For example in Singapore you can visit temples belonging to many different religions, all located within walking distance of each other.

* They see different languages being spoken. As someone that has studied languages, I think that language learning is really important and I want them to understand that too.

* While we are away we become a single family unit, depending upon and helping one another. We work together to plan itineraries and solve problems.

* The children can be given some responsibility, even if that's just helping themselves to their own food from a buffet dinner, or a short walk back to the hotel room to fetch something.

* We learn to enjoy each other's company, to play games together, talk together, or just sit in companionable silence reading, without the distractions of home and work.

* Time spent travelling from one place to another means that children need to learn to entertain themselves and be happy in their own company. They know to pack books, puzzle books, and pens and paper alongside electronic devices, and they are very good at sitting still for long periods in the car or plane.

* The children are used to living and sleeping in different environments, with different food, routines, and away from the comforts of home.

* They are able to learn about the different ways that other countries deal with the same problems, and think about whether the solution is better or worse than where we live. For example social problems like homelessness, or practical problems like recycling and public transport. This is something that I really thought about when I spent a year living in Germany for my degree, and it always interests me to see how different countries and cultures are both similar and different.

Do you enjoy travel with your children when you can? What do you think they learn from it?

Family camping trip outside

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