29 June 2015

Amsterdam: why we travel

I have had a love for travel since I was in college. My first trip abroad was to France when I was just 19 years old. Later that school-year I spent a J-term (the month of January) in New Zealand learning about sustainability while traveling on a coach bus across both islands. The Fall semester of my junior year found me in Salzburg, Austria, thanks to my undergraduate college's exceptional study aboard program.

My older sister lived abroad while I was still in grade school, introducing us to families that lived over an ocean. My younger sister spent two years living in Albania in the Peace Corps. Travel and foreign counties has been a part of the majority of our family's life.

Everyone travels for a different reason. I have always loved how travel throws you into the unknown. Whether it's the language barrier or new customs, travel forces you to look at how life can be lived in a way that is different from how you know it. Traveling has always invigorated me.

I knew that I never wanted to give up exploring the world when we started a family. Dan and I had enjoyed many trips together, some abroad and plenty stateside, before we had Kiki. These adventures were important to us and we had so many more places to go! 

Having a family shouldn't stop you from traveling if it's something you love to do. Children are excellent travel companions. It's more expensive and different when you travel with your children, but it isn't less rewarding. In fact, I think it has only enhanced our travels.

Traveling with a child definitely has it's fair share of challenges (long plane rides is top on my list). But it would never keep me from encouraging others to take that adventure. To see the world through your children's eyes is extraordinary! You are forced to slow down and experience a new place as a local might. You may take more strolls along avenues than down museum halls, but you will appreciate the smaller things a new country or city has to offer. Locals may be more likely to strike up a conversation with you. You may spend time observing family life at a local park instead of waiting in a long line with tourists at a museum. 

Meeting new moms and children in Aqaba last summer.

I guess what I am saying is, don't think your last trip abroad has to be squeezed in before you have kids. Children appreciate the new surroundings just as much as adults and force us to slow down and adjust our expectations that may offer a more enjoyable experience. Children are adaptable and never fail to amaze me at their acclimation.

Our Amsterdam vacation was another validation that traveling as a family is good for all of us. I hope we are instilling the love for travel deep in Kiki's bones. I just need to prepare myself for the day when she tells me she's flying overseas without us.

More details on our trip to come! 

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