I'm currently in the process of going through college applications and with that comes writting an essay all about myself. This got me thinking as to what made me, me and what truly makes me tick. Something that struck a special place in my heart was traveling.
Since I was little, my small family of just three were lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel. From this, I was able to grow up with a different experience than many of the kids my age. By the time I was in grade school I had gone on countless cruises and been to a number of countries!
With time, I realized how traveling impacted my life and changed me as a person.
People seem to get the idea that traveling with children is wasteful since it's typically expensive and they won't "remember" it. And while I don't remember every single place I've been to or every experience I've had I would never say that travel was ever wasted on me, ever.
It follows the same principal of the nature vs. nurture debate that we all probaly know too well. If you honestly believe that traveling isn't going to effect a child, the why should you even spend time with them? Take them park? Or to a museum? They won't remember it, or at least very well, but you take them for the pure purpose of creating bonds and learning new things which will shape their outlook of life.
It forever altered my life and left lasting impressions that I carry through my everyday.
And while no, I wasn't moving from country to country all the time or always on vacation but each trip, big or small, definitely changed me in its own way. Stepping out of the comfort of my home was a huge influence in my life, hence the reason why I think it is super important for kids. So, let me get into some of the reasons why…
Quality Family Time
Obviously this can be achieved virtually anywhere, but when your traveling it's different. Your typically without access to wifi all time and forced to spend some good old-fashioned quality time with family, which I think is definitly more of a burden on my parents than me 😉 We always become much closer after spending a week together where we our each other's only friends or at the very least, the only ones that speak English. Everything we do puts us all together in one place at the same time where there is no worrying about work, school or whatever you worry about. We are all just able to come together and focus on one another.
We become friends. I know some people have those parents or family members, or you have them, that are so completely close with each other that they tell each other everything and blah, blah, blah. But when I am stuck with my family, we become each others friend. I not trying to say we necessarily aren't when were back in normal life but it's like you do everything together so your forced to become close. We hear new stories and overall just learn more about each other while experiencing something so new.
Have you ever been on retreat or summer camp? For me, it's kind of like having the same experience when I travel, with whomever that may be. We all become closer and our able to build off that for wherever life may take us. Having family all together to emeruse yourself into a place brings everyone together in ways that staying at home cannot always do.
This is definitely the most important of them all! So, when I say traveling I don't mean heading to a resort on some tropical island and spending all your time there, not that I have anything against anyone who wants to do that, everyone needs to relax sometime! But, what's really important is putting yourself completely out of your comfort zone where you see such a different life than you have.
Traveling for me was a huge eye opener for wherever I went and definitely what shaped me as who I am today.
I saw so many different cultures, traditions and lifestyles so utterly different from mine that changed my perception throughout my life. A lot of children are sheltered, even if you don't realize it, kids can end up not understanding what a different life would be like and a true apprecation for what they have. I am always around my younger cousins friends and I realize how some kids are so blind to other lifestyles. And I know it can be hard for families to find the time and money to travel but I definitely think it is completely worth it.
Having the opportunity to travel all over the world helped me open my eyes. When I walked through Tunisian markets or saw the struggling people of Belize, I was able to experience what life is like for others, how hard they can work for it all to be taken away in the blink of an eye or how something so incredibly small for me could be so big for them.
I learned so many lessons that I keep with me everyday in my life!
Opportunity to Learn
Every new place was a learning experience! You know how some people say learning is doing? Well, traveling makes it all the more true! Being in the place that your learning about makes everything so much more interesting; I'm able to put myself int that situation and sympathize with the people.
I remember tour ride after tour ride where we would all load up into some local's torn up car and be driven around, being explained everything about their lives. It was SO interesting! I would hear about what they do, how hard they work, about their families and the government. Each local taught me something different whether it was factual or a lesson about being happy.
It was and is still so astonishing to me that the people who live in such poor conditions are actually the happiest in life. This is one lesson I've learned that I especially hold near and dear to my heart, I always look back and remember those smiling faces and it reminds me to be grateful and completely happy with what I have, as they all seemed to be.
So, no matter what kind of things I've learned while traveling, I still think about it everyday and am so thankful that I was give that chance.
To recap, I just want to say that travel is a huge part of my life and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Being fortunate enough to go on all these wonderful adventures holds such an important place in my heart that I wouldn't trade for anything. I have made so many friends, including my family, and learned so many new things from visiting all over the world.
I hope that all children are given the same opportunity that I have where they can learn, see and build relationships during their travels; having these experiences are honestly so important and altering for me that can't ever imagine my life without it.