“One day...we’re going to take the kids to Mexico”, “We really want to travel over to Europe, but we’re waiting until the kids get a bit older” ; “We really want to go out West and see the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, but our summers are just too busy”. Do any of those statements sound familiar to you? The average American family doesn’t think they spend enough time together (guilty). Between school, work, sports, and extracurricular activities it’s no surprise that we are all feeling disconnected and burnt out. The best way to reconnect with your loved ones is to get away. No distractions and no excuses: just you and your kids (maybe grandkids or even Grandparents to add to the mix) reconnecting and enjoying each other’s company and maybe even experiencing an unfamiliar culture together. “Maybe next year" turns into the year after that...and so forth...until you “blink” and are sitting at their high school graduation wondering what the hell happened!
Travel is a wonderful learning tool for children. Seeing how people live in other countries can open their minds and hearts and expand their imagination exponentially. Here are a few things that travel can provide for your family:
1. Traveling together will create lasting memories and stronger relationships with your family. These folks that you run into along the way give you a glimpse of what life is like outside your regular circle of friends and can give you a fresh perspective on how other cultures live. I remember one dinner in Lausanne Switzerland when a spiked-hair, and heavily tattooed Aussie spent some time joking with Kendall and playing with her kids’ meal toy. At home, she would probably have been scared to death of him!
2. You can learn another language...There is something very exciting about being able to throw around a few words of Spanish, knowing how to say hello and thank you in Portuguese, or ordering off of a menu written totally in Italian...and hoping you don’t end up with something inedible!
3. It gives you and your family perspective...Meeting folks from other cultures will teach you that the way you look at the world (maybe through the distorted lens of our mass media) is not the way everybody does – and that you could be dead wrong about some things! We have had many meaningful conversations about why Europe is so far ahead of the U.S. in its transportation infrastructure, why people of Native Hawaiian descent still protest becoming a part of the US, and why so few French and Italian teenagers feel the deep temptation to drink alcohol to excess like ours do here in America. Ivan was fascinated that about 80% of the locals we met in Mexico said...”AAAhhhhh, Denver.. Broncos!?” when he told them he was from Colorado. Who knew? Are you reading this and thinking “Boy...I’ve always wanted to see the Pacific Ocean with my kids”? If you want to do it now, you’ve probably always wanted to. You’ve imagined it, daydreamed about it, envisioned it. Guess what? Now’s the time to DO IT! I have several vacations on my desk right now for folks just like you, who are wanting to finally take their 16 and 21 year olds to Europe before they are “gone”...or who are celebrating a high school graduation with a trip to the Yucatan – the destination chosen by their son. Remember...you only have 18 summers- don't miss out!