“Where do fireflies get their light from?”
“Why are there windmills, and why do their fans (blades) move in different directions?”
“Why can’t we ride the fluffy clouds?”
“What is the purpose of colored balls on electrical wires (power lines)?”
“What are cemeteries?”
“Why can’t we feed the squirrels?”
“Why is the water blue?”
These are just a few of the hundreds of questions that my kids ask while impatiently sitting on the back seat of our car, or when in a plane, or walking or hiking. (You get the picture?) Their curious minds trying to get their arms around the mysteries of the world, and imbibe as much as possible while on the go.
Truth is that travel constantly massages our minds to explore the world around us, nonetheless planning a family outing is an arduous task. With all the work that travel entails, my family loves it! My hubby who is an excellent organizer takes care of the planning part, while I do packing. When the travel time comes, we do our parts of hauling the luggage (and kids), dealing with tantrums, ensuring that everyone’s needs are met, prioritizing and revisiting the itinerary as the situation demands. Despite the planning, there are last-minute changes due to unavoidable circumstances, so we adapt to the changing course.
With a good amount of travel experience under my wings, I am nowhere near a pro. I get anxious as the time comes closer to leave the comfort of our house. Packing overwhelms me! I start with an intention of packing light (which is what pro travelers do) but somehow end up with multiple pieces of luggage; juggling in my mind about the different what-if scenarios (what if one outfit gets wet in the rain, what if it gets windy in the evenings, and so on). As packing light does not come easy to me, I have developed deep admiration for those savvy parents who can pack smart.
Now that you get the picture that trip preparation is a challenge for me consider the unglamorous job of unpacking! After the fun is over keeping things back where they belong (after washing) is rather unexciting. It is a sign of the end of vacation and beginning of the routine!
With so much hassle to get the trip moving smoothly, why on earth do I still love to travel with kids?
Travel is an opportunity for our family to unwind and build some memories together. It makes us leave the familiar surroundings and our comfort zone to embrace the new and unknown. We explore, learn and imbibe through experiences. We become aware that we are simply tiny specs in this big world around us. We meet different people, taste a variety of foods, and somewhere travel has made us more receptive to other cultures too. When we encounter the generosity or rudeness of a stranger, it makes our belief stronger that underneath different skins, we all our human. And I know that these travel experiences would help our children grow with a broader mentality and with less pre-conceived notions about the world they live in.
To sum it up, no travel is a guarantee of only good times. Hidden behind those alluring Facebook travel pictures, is a sulking child, long check-in lines, probably a missed flight, a flat car tire, sickness and other disappointments too.
None the less, travel is an experience to savor as a family. How magical it is when one of us starts a conversation, “Remember when…..”, and we all chime in as we have another something common to share.
♥ Food for thought ♥
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” ― Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky
“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard