Raising Children with Wanderlust
I know this is going to sound crazy to some of you, but I have always budgeted for family vacations and considered it to be an education expense.
I’ve talked to thousands of people about travel over the course of my 13 years as a travel professional (and 30 years traveling the world) and one thing is clear, people who have traveled have a more open-minded, optimistic opinion of our world.
They’ve been places, they’ve experienced other lifestyles and cultures, and they’ve learned that people around the world are basically the same. We all love our children, we value safety and security. We laugh, we cry and we are amazed at the great wonders of the world. We all want the world to be a better place.
There are things that you can do right now, in your own home, to encourage a sense of adventure in your children and grandchildren.
Do you encourage them to read or watch movies about other countries and locations? If you’ve been there do you tell them “I’ve been there” and then tell them all about it?
Are they involved in your travel planning or do they help you with your bucket list?
Have you helped them prepare a “when I grow up I want to see” list for themselves?
Is a globe or world map prominently displayed in your home? Are coffee table travel books visible and accessible? (Thank you Mom and Dad for the always within arm’s reach National Geographic Magazines growing up).
When they travel with you are you educating them along the way? Have you taught them to read the departure and arrivals board at the airport? How to find the baggage claim? How about how to get from one terminal to another?
When you arrive in destination do you help them understand customs and immigration? Do you show them where you are on a map and help them learn to read a map?
Do you show them how to be a considerate traveler? Are you kind to strangers?
Are you open to the different ways of the world, not only observing what goes on but participating in cultural activities? Even as close as Cancun Mexico you can include a purification ceremony by a Mayan medicine man that’s a thought provoking experience.
Is watching travel shows the “norm” in your household? Smithsonian channel? National Geographic channel? Even House Hunters International is a cultural experience.
My friends and I traveled first with our children and now with our grandchildren. When I’m dead and gone I want those nearest and dearest to me to say “Remember when Mom fell into the river on that Colorado Rafting trip?” Or how about when I danced with that waiter at the café in Paris in view of the Eiffel Tower? Even better- when I cried the first time I touched the grave of Julius Caesar in Rome. Who ever thought a girl from Eufaula OK would see the world the way I’ve been able to see it. I am profoundly grateful, and hope to raise everyone in my family to appreciate the opportunity and ability to see the world.
Joy Gawf-Crutchfield owns and operates The Joy of Travel