Letter to My Five-Year-Old Elite Traveler

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When I started this blog on a whim in 2011 my little one really was little.  She was a one-year-old toddler who had just a couple of flights under her belt, er, diaper.  Her first year of life hadn’t been the calmest one on record, and as parents we were just starting to come out of the other end of a year-long dark tunnel of sleepless nights, fear, confusion, and seemingly endless crying from her discomfort. 

Travel had just started to return to the realm of not only possible, but actually fun.  Since that first day of blogging in 2011, time has done what it always does, and marched on.  Over the subsequent years, my Little C has flown and grown into what she is today.  Today she is a five-year-old elite traveler in every sense of the word, and here on her 5th birthday, I want to write a letter to my not-so-little traveler.  I’m mostly putting the letter here so I can’t lose it, but if you are still in the phases of being a new parent where travel seems like it will never again be a realistic or fun option, then maybe this will give you some hope because we’ve been there, too.


Happy Birthday!  Holy smokes, five, really?  Somehow overnight you magically turned from a little girl into a five-year-old full fledged “big kid”.  As your mom I can’t help but be a tiny bit sad to see you growing more into your own and further away from that little one I used to hold, but for the most part is the coolest process I have ever been a part of.  You have your own opinions, your own sense of humor, your own favorite activities, and a heart the size of Texas.  You aren’t afraid to speak your mind, dance to your own music in front of a crowd, head off on your own adventures at school, and yet you still love to snuggle close at night with us and your blanket.


One of your favorite questions to ask me is what time is it right now in different cities.  You understand fully that the world is bigger than the streets of your neighborhood, and you want to know what time it is right now in Australia, Tokyo, Hawaii, and Paris.  All great choices, I must say.  It’s a simple question, but it seems like your way of being connected to places near and far.



You aren’t afraid when I ask if you want to go to travel to a new place with me, but instead you often say yes before I can finish the question.  At five-years-old you’ve already ridden a horse through the forest in Alaska, played with children who didn’t speak English in Paris, swam in the ocean as the sun came up in Hawaii, and walked the busy streets of Manhattan.  You’ve not only done those things, you’ve done them with a twinkle in your eye and confidence in your heart.  You have so many more adventures on the horizon, and I can’t wait to go on many of them with you.


At five-years-old you are also now old enough to fly without me.  I know, trust me, that sounds a bit terrifying to me, too, but it’s now an option on the table.  I can’t imagine there are many five-year-olds out there who are more prepared for that challenge than you, but you won’t fly solo on a plane to visit Grandma and Grandpa until you and I are both 100% ready.  I’m sure that day will come before too long, but until then, I’ll be right next to you.


You are, as of very recently, a card-carrying elite traveler with United Airlines, and while that’s kind of cool on it’s own, we certainly didn’t need a plastic silver card from United to tell us you were in a special class of travelers.  You earned that designation years ago all on your own by knowing when to be patient, tough, kind, and also knowing when to let me know you just can’t go any further.  You’ve been an elite traveler to me for years, but as a five-year-old it’s now official beyond just what I think.


The next year will be a very exciting one for you as you officially start Kindergarten, meet lots of new people, and continue to explore places near and far.  Five years ago today I couldn’t have imagined how amazing life would be with you as part of our family.  I can’t wait to see what you do this next year, five years from now, and beyond.  Whatever you do and wherever you go may it always be with a twinkle in your eye and confidence in your heart.


Happy Birthday, Big C.





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  1. How perfect that her birthday theme would be Super Heroes who all possess the ability to fly and travel quickly via different means and have as their goal to help the Universe. Good choice. Love, Grandma

  2. My best wishes to C !
    Hope this blog stays here for decades to come and one day she comes back here and reads all these nice comments as an adult ! 🙂

  3. Wow. Elite status on United. That’s a lot of paid travel for a child! Especially for someone who writes a blog about how families can travel for free!!

  4. Beautiful story, Summer!! Even if “Little C” won’t earn Elite status every year, bet she becomes a Million Miler decades earlier in her life than I did :-(.

  5. Happy birthday to LittleC! She is sooo cute!

    Enjoy the travels while you can! In my area, the schools send nasty letters and haul parents into court if we miss X many days of school. The first letter starts at 5days’ absence and continues w each absence. : /

  6. Happy Birthday, C and Happy Mamaversary! As a mama to a 5 year old girl who is my super little traveler, I know that this time is exciting and a little bittersweet because they are getting so big! But, I can’t wait to go on those bigger trips and see her experiences through her growing eyes. Enjoy!

  7. Happy Birthday to little C! And thanks for writing your blog mommypoints.
    We are heading off on a European vacation this afternoon and I’ve been feeling a bit less excited about it than I should. We’ve done a lot of traveling this year and I’d be glad to spend a week off at home as a family. But… its already on the books and it’s a trip to places I love and/or have been wanting to see (skiing in the Alps!!! And I’ve only skied once before). Reading about other people’s excitement about their travels helps me to remember what I love about traveling as well. And hearing about little C reminds me that my girls (6 and 8) have loved every trip we’ve been on. This year at thanksgiving it was “Copenhagen is the best city in the world!”. Last Christmas on the way back from the UK and Ireland it was, “I kinda want to visit another country, but I also miss home”. So, I’m going to get ready for this trip today knowing it will be another wonderful adventure. Kicking it off in BA business class. Thanks for helping to recharge my travel batteries. 🙂

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