At WHAT Age?
AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
Don’t waste a minute. Travel.
Exponentially, travel is the greatest educator; not just for seeing something new. Also, for the things that turn up that are just good and fun!
No agenda, just another skill or experience or talent exhumed……something that gives you joy.
What Is The Best Age To Start To Travel?
Your children are under three years old. Do you know what you will have to pack?
Baby food, lots of diapers, two strollers, teddies, toys and lots of clothes. You have to carry all this.
While I say the younger the better, nap times and routines are still a must.
Don’t forget to rest when they are napping – at the same time!
In the middle of the night, a two-year-old shows no mercy. You better be on your toes!
Oh and have fun!
What is practical for you?
Yes, Let’s BE Practical!
Most people think that it is best to start the children travelling when they are old enough to understand where they are and the significance of the voyage.
What is it teaching them? Do they enjoy it?
Can they ADAPT?.. I will answer that later on. I promise!
The practicality of this is that if you can afford just one big trip in their young lives, wait till they can get the most out of it; you will know when that will be.
As They Grow Up…
By now they are 9 to 14 years old. They can carry their own backpack and organize it.
They learn to manage their money and know what to do at the airport.
As early as the first time they look at a ticket, they will start to learn what they should do next.
They are getting comfortable. They are leading the way!
Don’t forget, if they are taken out of school to travel for two years, education needs to continue… They need to keep up with their maths and sciences.
But the other students will never be able to keep up with the life lessons your kids learned in their travels. They won’t even understand how recent history is actually “there”!
Did they even hear of the metric system at the schools back home?
What About The International Community?
Some large companies offer overseas living to some employees in their business.
Now your children can attend an international school while being immersed in a new culture.
This is one way of living/working overseas.
Is there a downside to this?
Maybe they will initially miss their friends, grandma, and their routine.
At home, they can read the signs and take the bus to school.
They know the way.
The food is different in a new country so that’s a big adjustment for a picky eater.
The move was a BIG deal, to you as parents and to your children.
Want to know why they are looking forward to this?
Well, they met an exchange student in someone’s home last year. She was there for five months.
They started to ask questions about her homeland and language.
HOW did she just learn English? It was that easy?
Teach me Dutch and I’ll help you with your English.
And So it Started.
Things are getting exciting.
Can you imagine what it can teach your child to see how other people live in their homes?
Do they wonder if their schoolmates pray several times a day or just before meals?
Do they wonder if they worship the same way?
What is that spicey smell in their house?
They smell red meat in ours!
Does your grandmother live with you? In the same house? And your Mom doesn’t mind?
And This Happened!
Overseas my friend’s son went to the house of a schoolmate. A tall man in a suit answered the door.
The boy asked, “Was that your Dad?” His friend said, “no, he’s my slave”.
He meant that this man was a bodyguard of sorts.
This charge was overseen and protected by this man as is the custom in wealthy middle-eastern homes.
It just lost a little bit in the translation.
How Is This Working For Them?
What changes do you see in your children now? They’ve been there for a year already.
“Mom, do you know that almost every kid at school speaks English, as their second or third language?
And some of these kids know at least two or three more languages because they have lived in a number of countries!”
“Oh, by the way, I am learning French and Latin this year. My friend Pierre said he’d help me”.
They take on a whole new persona. Their priorities and dreams become different.
Their horizons widened because they have seen their peers achieve all the things they thought they could never do.
In our society, we don’t put much credence on expanding language skills. We don’t even put pressure on correct English, whatever that is. There are so many variations today, and slang that is considered acceptable speech.
Now, this is a whole new way of talking.
What’s The Downside?
There is one MAIN drawback: they will, all too soon, have to say goodbye to their closest friends.
It’s a tight-knit community with an even smaller school –
maybe 400 students, grades K-12.
Full curriculum including sciences, sports, maths, and music.
And Move On They Do!
“Goodbye, Cid, we’re going back home”. And, “Nice to meet you, Robier, so long”. And, “Please come and visit our home in South Korea”.
By the time this has been going on for five years, said child will stop making friends for a while.
Oh, he’ll make really good friends but will not enjoy the longevity to make what he would call a really close friend.
His new friends will be a constant rotation.
Now he understands how to get the best out of a friendship; even though the time they spend together will be shorter.
He will learn how important contact is and that nothing replaces the impact that a new person adds on his life, even for a short time.
They Did ADAPT… (Remember I promised you I would bring this up again?)
What Else Can Happen?
It doesn’t matter if they travel for a short time or a long time.
Their self-esteem will be huge! Big time!
Because now he can speak Latin – or figure it out. He is using his French at school and in the city.
“Seems the local people like my accent Mom!”… cool…
So For All Of Them, There Is This:
They do not get lost in airports because they already know what to look for.
Airports are sensible and logical in their minds. So what happened to their minds?
They learned to think logically.
These kids’ horizons were broadened. Everything around them was new; just as it was for the parents.
But, they are getting this information much earlier.
In today’s world, that’s a plus.
What Happens When They Are Employed?
I cannot stress enough how this independence and passive education helps them in business.
They already have experience at airports, train stations, and ferry crossings, and where to go when they get there.
They have confidence and establish themselves as leaders from the start. “Just follow him; he knows the way”.
They have already been taken out of their comfort zones, and they have the assurance to know they will see everything through to the other side.
They have developed cultural sensitivity and they will adapt to globalization; they will have to.
They are aware of how to protect their passports and their money… No flashing going on here.
They Seek Meaningful Conversations!
I overheard the 12-year-olds discussing the United Nations!
Their cousins in the US don’t know what the UN is!
It’s not their fault; they did not learn this in their curriculum in school.
They did not have the luxury of visiting a foreign country. They have never even seen foreign money.
What Else Does Our Traveler Like?
Life is more interesting; they climbed the steps of a monument, and they met a friend who lives in a lighthouse… They visited restaurants nearby.
They went to the historic places in the area and understood the timing of the events.
“WWll? It happened near here? What does it look like now? Let’s go there”.
Reserved independence: they are polite to people around them on the trains.
But they don’t befriend strangers.
They know where to go for help and where to buy food.
What Conclusions Have We Come To?
My niece asked me my age, cheeky little thing that she is, and when I told her, (no, not telling you) she was surprised, amazed!
Anyway, I said it is not about being and looking younger, though that would be a plus.
It’s about not having enough time.
Time to live to learn all the things I want to learn.
Time to go everywhere I haven’t been.
Take every tour out there. Go on a gastronomic weekend in the Ardennes.
(Read “I Want To GoThere” for wanderlust explained!)
See the two oceans coming together at Cape Agulus, South Africa;
the Atlantic and Indian Oceans collide into a perfect line!
Start now – travel anywhere life takes you. Learn the customs and sensitivities of a country.
Meet the people and become friends with them.
Remember that they want to meet you, too.
WHAT Do They Call It?
Wanderlust: a strong desire to travel. A pull you are unable to resist.
An impulse to travel; unable to plant your feet down; not caring where you go or where the next shore will take you.
BUT, you DON’T want This!.. “HOMOPHOBIA” is a fear of travel.
That’s not YOU!
Just Do It!.. Travel!
The experiences you will have; the exposure! Mmmuuwahh!
Start as soon as you can; doesn’t matter what age. There are advantages to starting at an early age to travel.
And I’m sure there are diss… diss… well, let’s just say it’s not for everybody.
You will become street-smart and worldly-wise.
There is no downside to this.
(learn how “There Is No Downside To Travel” here; hurry, hurry.)