Friday, June 30, 2017

Travel with kids

We got a lot of questions on our trip as a family, which made me think a lot about traveling with or without kids. Some people said, "Yes, they're a too young to remember this trip. But they can always see pictures."

I don't think the main point of traveling as a family is for the kids to remember their fabulous, kid-centered trip doing only things they loved or eating only things they liked. At least for us. Maybe some other kids have happier childhoods...! Although we always have them in mind obviously when we pick things to do and places to eat, I see them as more of tagging along. The trip had lots of fun parts for them, but the main fun part, I'm convinced, is us being together 24-7 and experiencing new things together.

There were also not fun parts, for them and for us. There was lots of waiting: in airports, in hotels, in restaurants, in stores, in lines. There were stressful situations in which my husband and I had to make difficult decisions: which hotel to stay at, how to get to and from the airport, etc. There was staying at other people's houses, there was not making noise in hotels, there was jetlag and illness. It would have been "easier" (in the short-run) to go without kids.

But not only would that not have made sense for us, we really felt it made us grow as a family. Davy and Addie came back different... more mature, more used to waiting in stores, more used to walking around holding onto the stroller, more used to ordering in restaurants. We came back knowing ourselves better, knowing each other better, having spent immense quality time together.

I don't totally agree with the modern view of travel that is simply for hedonistic pleasure. Or even simply to "see the world". Sometimes it's harder to open yourself up to people close to you and form true interpersonal communion than it is to go far away and see lots of things and meet lots of people superficially. In fact, I'm sure it's harder. That's why St. Teresa of Calcutta told people, "Go home and love your family."

Some travel might be for rest or pleasure (I'm thinking of babymoons, before a baby is born... totally want rest and pleasure there!). But mainly travel for me is adventure, with a purpose, and personal (to meet people or with people). It's like the Hobbit, traveling alongside his companions on a mission. It's hard, but it's totally worth it. And home is so much sweeter afterwards.

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