I’m like Caitlin’s mom here in that I didn’t travel much as a child. It wasn’t until college and beyond when volunteer work and my job took me on international adventures. I did, however, move. A lot. (Seventeen times to be exact.) And during those childhood moves, I learned how to quickly adapt to new people, cultures, and routines. I learned to be flexible (relatively speaking) and that getting a change of scenery (even if it accompanies a broken heart from leaving all your school pals) is restorative.
My girls have lived in the same place their entire short lives. I doubt we’ll move around like my family did, but I do plan to give them as many opportunities to travel as humanly possible. I’m with you Caitlin. I want them to read the entire book.
By Caitlin Adams
My mother didn’t have many opportunities to travel when she was growing up. Between school, work, and life in rural Missouri, the opportunity just didn’t present itself.
But that mom of mine has always been a dreamer. As a teen, she flipped through the pages of Seventeen and Glamour magazines, eyeing exotic places to escape to, as she spent her summers on the waters of Kentucky Lake. She even took a job right out of high school to be able to support her goal of becoming a flight attendant. But love came out of nowhere, and she soon found herself part of a duo that complicated the fantasy of a jet-setting lifestyle.
Although travel for her was sparse, my mom constantly encouraged me to dream big and to follow those dreams, no matter what continent they took me to. She raised me with wanderlust in my bones, and I imagined living in far off lands surrounded by French pastries and mesmerizing languages.
As I grew older and travel became more attainable, my mom shipped me off to explore the world any chance we got. In fact, she put me on a plane to Europe, even before she made the trip herself. Between school trips, a study abroad program, and summer internships, I have racked up frequent travel miles like it’s my job, and my passport has more stamps than I can count on my fingers and toes.
I have studied in England looking out on the North Sea, spent a summer dodging taxis in the Big Apple, and even got stranded on the side of a mountain in Norway in arctic temperatures during the night. (Note: I don’t recommend this). It was always hard for me to leave my family, but knowing I had my mom’s unconditional support kept me searching for the next great adventure.
There really is no reason nowadays to skip traveling. No matter the destination, it is worth it for the little ones to open their eyes to other cultures, foods, and customs. Whether it’s a road trip to the desert for the weekend or an extended stay across seas, travel can be easily done. I know from experience that even the travel horror stories (getting pickpocketed, spending a sleepless night in a sketchy hostel, or missing your boat — all things I’ve done!) will teach a lesson to even the most seasoned travel bug.
St. Augustine once said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Well, I don’t know about you, but I love to read, and I’m not about to stop at the prologue.
So thanks mom, for encouraging me to spread my wings and see the world. I have had my fair share of cultural experiences, and I am so grateful that you pushed me out of my comfortable bubble to see what the world has to offer.