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Many who read this site have kids, had kids who are now grown, or at some point in their lives may have kids. Pretty much all who read this site have an interest in travel. Clearly, I have both, and today I find my hopes for both intersecting. I mean, let’s be honest, there’s not too much you can do 9+ months pregnant in the middle of a Texas summer other than clean out drawers, swim, and think. Since it’s not quite time yet for my daily swim or drawer/closet cleaning session, I’m thinking about my hopes for travel and my soon-to-be-born second daughter.
Of course I have many hopes for her that aren’t travel related including that she be healthy, happy, content, fulfilled, challenged, loved, loving, smart, creative, funny, diverse, tolerant, accepting, kind, loyal, friendly, well-rounded, adventurous, patient, friendly, fun-loving, inspired, inquisitive, and thoughtful. I’m sure I could come up with many more traits I would love for her to have and experience, but that’s probably a long enough list for a not yet born infant.
Like most of us, she may not posses every one of those traits, but I think they are good things to root for and try and foster. In fact, the more I look at the list, the more I’m struck my how relevant travel actually can be to developing many of those characteristics.
I mean, as a kid, how can you see some of the world’s natural wonders and not be inspired?
How could you have the opportunity to sled, ski, hike, and explore and not feel adventurous?
How could you see people around the world who look, sound, and live so differently than you and not become more accepting and tolerant?
How could you witness and participate in activities and customs in far away places and not become more creative and diverse?
How could you see, touch, and smell things that others might only learn about in books or on Wikipedia and not become smarter, inquisitive, and more challenged?
How could you have a blast at some of the epi-centers of fun around the world and not become more fun-loving?
How could you spend dedicated time with your family members enjoying shared experiences around the globe and not become more happy, loyal, friendly, content, loved, and loving?
How could you have the chance to connect with grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and extended family who live far away and not feel more supported and connected?
How could you experience long haul flights, long lines, and long delays and not become more patient?
How could family travel as a child not help shape someone into being an even better version of themselves?
My hope for our second daughter, just like for our first, is that she feel happy, fulfilled, safe, loved, and secure at home in her own neighborhood. In fact, I want her roots to be so secure at home that she feels the freedom and drive to explore the world beyond her own backyard and experience and integrate all that life has to offer. I want her to appreciate both the magnitude and connectedness of the world in which she lives.
I think travel can help enrich, balance, shape, and inspire even adults, but especially impressionable kids. While our budget has likely never been tighter, my hope is that through miles and points we are able to continue to make travel a realistic and regular part of our family’s life even as we expand (any day now) from a family of three to a family of four.
Travel alone does not guarantee a kind, loving, and well-rounded kid, but it absolutely can play a big role if you let it. In fact, one of my favorite quotes is a version of the following:
“Two of the greatest gifts we can give our children are roots and wings“.
In our case, the wings just happen to often be attached to a fuselage. May both my girls always fly high, and then know how to return home.