Friday 25 August 2023

Thoughts on Children Travelling

So I have mixed views about travelling these days. Part of me thinks that we shouldn't travel much, due to the ecological costs of it all. Then I think for how little we do, ours is a drop in a very big ocean. I probably don't even drive 3000 miles a year anymore. 

I do think about travel when I was younger and how it helped form me and made me realise what was important in life. 

I can remember coming back from travelling for 3 months when I was 19 and I overheard my uncle talking to my dad a few weeks later, "He went a boy, but he's come back a man." I smiled as I walked quietly away from that one. I had come back with direction, sure in what I wanted in life. 

The three months were incredible, I went coast-to-coast across America with a friend (via Greyhound bus), then went to New Zealand and Australia on my own for a few months. Suddenly I was very far away from my support network and had to work everything out for myself. Admittedly they were very easy countries to travel, but I was only 19, just into becoming an apprentice. I hitchhiked, didn't always book in advance and realised that being calm and going with the flow sometimes just worked. Something I showed my wife years later when we travelled around Europe in a converted ambulance with nothing booked other than two ferries. 

I went on holiday with my parents only until about 14, I then looked after the farm instead, having someone good with the stock was important to dad. I also think I used to drive dad mad that my head would be in a book every time we'd stop on holiday anyway, its something we sometimes talk about, but I'm not sure how I'd feel about leaving one of my children behind at that age. It was a different time though and I'm fairly sure I was happy to have the house to myself (my cousin would stay at night).  But I can remember travelling to France and Luxemburg and I remember that feeling of being in a different country, walking to get bread, everything that little bit different. 

This holiday to Norway, to me having the children with us was the most exciting part. They'd never been on a plane before or left the shores of Great Britain. I felt that having them travel to other places, experience different things, eat different food, talk to different people, would help make them more rounded individuals. 

No electronic devices besides my daughters phone for her diabetes means these three are as thick as thieves together. I adore their relationship with each other. I hear so many parents moan about how their children get on, but ours are like best friends. 

At the end of the day that's what I want from our parenting with these three. I want to help form humans that are good people, ones that are interesting to be around, good company. Giving them a range of experiences helps do that, I love hearing them tell funny stories or putting their experiences into play. Standing back and listening to them talk to a family friend gives me great pleasure. 

I think travel does help form those things. I know we're in a fortunate position to be able to travel, we both work hard but have certainly experienced some luck in life, meeting and falling in love at a relatively young age being the main one. It makes me wonder where our energies should be focused or pushing towards. 

What's your thoughts on travel? 

Is it something that should be consigned to the past, as we're told the world is slipping away, or are we richer for it?


  1. Much richer for it as long as we got out there with curious mind. I have met holidaymakers who only go for sun, or beach etc ...and don't want to be challenged by different culture or food or language (and I secretly despise their unwillingness to be open to possibilities).

  2. Kev, I am of two minds.

    When we were growing up, my parents made an effort to make sure that we travelled although likely it was a stretch for them - beyond trips in the US (mostly in state), we had the opportunity to go to Japan and Norway. These really did expand my horizons, creating in me a lifelong (to this day) interest in Japan and a long time interest in history (Japan and Norway). And I have been fortunate to go and enjoy other countries as well. Going to Greece this Summer was an eye opener for sure (so much great history)! Travel can expand our horizons and give us an appreciation of other cultures, beliefs, places - and food!

    At the same time, travel is not in and of itself any sort of magical panacea. I believe it was Lao Tzu that said "A good and decent life can be lived in a village" and one of my favorites, the late Gene Logsdon, who placed more value on staying and learning his land than going anywhere else. If all someone does is travel and want to travel, they lose the ability to appreciate the wonders of where they live - this is not an inconsiderable thing; how many times have I heard someone say when I have gone to their location " Oh, you went to X? We have lived here 10 years and never been". We take for granted our local wonders in pursuit of those far away.

    Add to that the fact that we effectively create tourist economies which are 100% reliant on disposable income and no longer product anything except experiences and it is a mixed bag at best.

    At least for myself, I do enjoy travel - in moderation. But I am always happiest at home.

  3. Nothing makes me appreciate home quite as much as traveling. Our kids have been around the globe though to not very many countries yet. But I like them experiencing countries much different than their own because I hope they will gain an appreciation for their own, much like I have. Like you, I hope this will make them interesting to be around in the future when I'm not there.

  4. Travel is a great experience for children of any age. Being exposed to the larger world is broadening. My son started traveling with us as an infant. Yearly jaunts to Europe combining business with pleasure worked well. My son became fascinated with world history as a result of our travel.

  5. We never travelled far, holidaying in the UK with the girls. We always went somewhere that encouraged them to explore and learn from the trip. We had so much fun. We travel more than we ever did now that our youngest has moved to a farm in Northern Ireland, we opt to go by ferry as its supposed to be the more ecologically friendly, we even saw a pod of dolphins on our last trip, it was amazing. Enjoy your trips with your family, before you know it they will be all grown up and telling you what to do!

  6. We took ours to France and Spain each year, we loved them interacting with the locals, they loved to use their knowledge of the French language.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...