Ah, your twenties, when you’re supposed to embrace your single life and enjoy the freedom of traveling the globe, right? I, too, am in my twenties, and have also traveled across the world. But in my case, most of my travel escapades have included backpacking gear filled with diapers alongside the hiking boots, and plastic legos next to the guide books. And to be honest, I think I have it better.
Why? So many, many reasons. I love traveling with my daughter, and can honestly say that there are so many benefits to traveling the world with a crazy toddler and tired hubby by my side. Those who think that families and traveling, that commitment and freedom can’t both be embraced fully, think that because they haven’t experienced traveling with their own kids.
Here are the "Reasons Why I Love to Travel With My Daughter"
Some of my closest friends are the ones that I’ve traveled extensively with. Some of my two closest friends from college, the ones who are more brother than friend, are the ones that I capsized with on canoeing trips in the middle of the night down unknown rivers, or flew to South America with for the weekend.I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these friends that explored and traveled with me are the closest friends. I think that traveling together and going through unknown circumstances has a bonding effect on human psychology. It’s the same element that helps .So when it comes to family bonding, doesn’t it make sense that traveling together would produce those same bonds? If you want a tight family that loves hanging out together, go do fun things together! Traveling with my daughter has allowed our family to become closer to each other, and bond in a way that families who don’t travel together never get to experience.
As my home boy Dave Ramsey preaches every day on his talk radio show, delayed gratification is the beginning step of maturity. If I want my daughter to grow up to be the mature individual needed to get the most out of life and make the most of her life, I can’t do much better than take her on as many travels and adventures as possible.When we travel together as a family, we don’t cater every trip to age appropriate experiences, like playgrounds and splash pads and Disneyland. Rather, we try to incorporate those into what we want to do, and make what we want to do accessible for her age.
So while my kiddo gets to go swimming and play on the swings, she’ll also have to wait at a fancy restaurant and go for long hikes with us. She doesn’t get to do everything she wants to do, and there’s plenty of times where she has to wait before she gets to do what she wants to do. This give and take, compromising, and waiting are all necessary steps to bringing about maturity that she’ll need later on in life.
Similarly, there’s plenty of times on the road and traveling around the globe that require a lot of waiting. Our daughter is only a toddler, but since she took her first multi-state road trip at 2 days old she’s learned how to wait at an early age. Even now, when we fly she has to wait for the plane, wait for our line to board, wait for the tram to arrive, etc. She spends a lot of time waiting in the car on road trips, and waiting for other people to go first. She’s learned early on how to wait, and how to have patience while keeping the end goal in sight.
We may not have a family picture with Santa some years, but we have family photos of us surfing in together, hiking in Canada, and camping in Florida. We don’t have picture perfect family photos, but we do have plenty of awesome photos of us climbing mountains and river rafting together. Of course, that can’t help the fact that other than our daughter we’re not a very photogenic family, but at least the backgrounds are nice to look at.
As a mom, there’s nothing I want to model more for than my daughter than what a beautiful and wonderful creation she is, how she should use those gifts and how to value herself as person as well as valuing others. I try to take care of myself, act graciously toward others, and be a great wife so that she can see these elements of womanhood and have confidence in herself that she is worth being valued as well.Traveling together has given her more confidence than I ever could have through words. She’s learned how to do without, to make do with what she has, and to appreciate what has been given. She has learned how capable she is in the outside world and without known comforts surrounding her.
Sometimes when I take my kid to the playground or the to children’s museum, I run into kids who make high school cliques look inclusive and welcoming. They are hostile toward newcomers, snotty, and downright arrogant.Thanks to extensive traveling at a very young age, my daughter is none of these things, and if she ever starts she’ll get one coming to her. She knows how to make friends with everyone, and sees everyone, even someone she’s never met before, as a friend. Boy girl, young or old, poor or rich, she sees everyone as a potential playmate and runs to greet them as a friend. You should see how this little girl can light up the face of the homeless guy sitting on a park bench surrounded by everything he owns in this world. While other adults and children have looked past him all day, our daughter runs up ready to show off her new bracelet or dance to the music with him. She makes everyone her friend, and sees the entire world a giant play date ready to happen.
While she is only 2, and far from being allowed out of my sight for too long, traveling a lot has helped my daughter become a very capable human being. She can help set up a tent, order her own food at a restaurant, and find her seat on a plane. Her capability and can do attitude that has culminated through miles and miles outside the home has given her the tenacity to conquer new challenges in life as they arise, from the first day in Kindergarten to her first day on the job. She is, therefore she can do.My hubby and I have built this capability in her by challenging her outside the normalcy of home. Yes, we’re in a campsite thousands of miles from her room, but she can still help me cook up dinner. Yes, we may be on a plane instead of in our car, but she can still entertain herself quietly in her car seat.
Because kids change so much faster than we, every time you revisit an old place, you are discovering it at another level and for the first time all over again. Discovering in San Diego was completely different when my daughter was a baby, and completely different again when she was a toddler. At every age she understands things at a new level, has a different energy level, and explores something new. Traveling with her, I get to rediscover different parts of old places as well, making old stomping grounds a brand new adventure every time. Sometimes it means I don’t get to see places at the pace I’d like to, but who knew that a dirt pile at Glacier National Park could be just as fascinating as the glaciers themselves?
Yes, the expenses of traveling with a family versus solo are a LOT bigger. A simple week long trip back to see family on the other side of the country costs us the equivalent of a 3 week long backpacking trip around South East Asia (trust me, I’ve done the math. Many times). But traveling with my daughter has also taught her that there is much more in this world than rooms upon rooms of brand new toys.Jamison’s small roomful of toys is more than enough for a vivid imagination, and instead of spending hours playing inside, most every day of the week we head outside to play in parks around the area, other people’s toys, and kid’s museums and area festivals. Nearly all of these activities are free, and all that money we save by not buying toys that get played with once before being abandoned go instead toward traveling locally and internationally. Having a daughter who isn’t materialistic for 2 year old standards is pretty easy on the wallet. Even at 2 years old, my daughter understands when I tell her a toy or something shiny in the checkout aisle “isn’t in the budget.” She just smiles and puts it back. Parenting win!
Ok, so we only have a toddler, and haven’t reached the point yet where schooling really kicks in. But how great is it going to be that when our daughter reaches grade school and learns about the , she can read about someplace she’s already been? Or when she learns about geography, she’s already climbed mountains and swam in the ocean? As she continues to grow, I can’t wait to take trips that tailor around stories like Little House on the Prairie, or visit the Civil War Battlefields and learn more about the Civil War. She can learn about the stars she’s camped underneath so many times, and how math was used to construct the great buildings we’ve toured.
Both my hubby and I operate under the mentality of work hard, play hard (and sometimes harder). While this means that at home sometimes we can’t go out and do everything my daughter wants us to when a deadline is approaching, it does mean that she gets to see and enjoy with us the fruits of hard work. Our daughter works hard with us at home, and gets to travel hard with us on the road. She gets to enjoy the benefits of hard work with us, like traveling to new places and taking great family vacations. We make sure to include her with us on as many project here at home, and on all of our travels away from home as well. Our daughter will grow up knowing the benefit of hard work, careful budgeting, and working together as a team for a common goal, which will pay off in her personal life and in her relationships with others as well.
In all honesty, sometimes I do dream about the days when Matt and I could just buy two tickets instead of an entire row in an airplane. Or when we could go to a new city and stay up late into the night without thinking about the human alarm clock that is going to go off at 7:00 am no matter what time you go to bed the night before.But as soon as my daughter comes running up to me and asks me if we can go on a plane today, all of those selfish thoughts are immediately replaced with incredible gratitude that every day of my life I get to travel with this crazy, wild haired kid of mine. She just makes everything a new kind of fun, and her smile next to my hubby’s are the best two reasons to travel I could ever think of.
Want to visit some of the places our family has traveled?Trekeffect has plenty of family friendly destinations, activities, and recommendations for places to stay and itineraries that can help get your family out on the road, too!
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