In the early years of our relationship, when our older children were young, Jason and I wanted to travel. In those first 7 years we managed to save and do 3 overseas trips. My mother would generously look after the children and we managed a trip to Vanuatu in 2003, Around the World in 2004/2005 and Italy and France in 2007.
We wanted to travel with our children, but everyone told us that they wouldn’t remember much. They just wouldn’t ‘get it’. We always thought that when they were young teens we would take them on a big family trip.
However life changed and by the time they were 13 and 11 we had Xander. Two and a half years later Sienna came along.
For 6 years overseas travel was impossible. We still managed road trips along the east coast of Australia. As our children got older they didn’t want to drop everything and do a 13 hour drive to Sydney with the babies. They didn’t want to spend evenings at playgrounds. They preferred to stay at home. They relished having a few days or a couple of weeks alone in the house or at their grandparents.
Then in 2013 Jason and I decided it was time to travel again. This time we were taking the little children simply because they were too young to leave behind. We didn’t expect them to get much out of it. We didn’t expect Sienna to remember it, she was only 23 months old.
We were so wrong!
Our children, even Sienna who was not even 2 years old, enjoyed the trip. They absorbed the culture, they were fascinated with the history, they were enthusiastic! They made memories that they still have today.
After returning from our 52 hours in Paris followed by 10 days in the UK we were fascinated that Sienna could tell her grandparents all about the Eiffel Tower. She could pick it out in a picture. She would even point to the top level and tell people ‘I have been up there!’ Xander was passionate about all of the museums and historical attractions that he been to. It was something they talked about all the time.
It blew my mind.
Sienna had fallen head over heels in love with Paris and spoke about it every day. Every single day she would ask Jason if he would take her back to Paris. Without fail. For 2 years.
Xander was enthusiastic as well but he was 2 1/2 years older, I expected it of him. Sienna amazed me.
It made the decision to take the children to Hong Kong for a family wedding in 2014. Again the children absorbed so much more than we expected.
As Sienna’s 4th birthday approached in 2015 we were planning another overseas trip. We decided to combine the two and take her to Paris for her birthday. It was a magical trip which I will blog about in another post.
It constantly amazes me the memories that they made such lasting memories and got such value from going overseas. In December when we were in a Las Vegas playground Sienna was building a structure with giant foam blocks. She turned to Jason and I and said proudly ‘I’ve been there!’ She had built a model of Stonehenge which she visited once during that initial trip to the UK in 2013.
I think we can safely say that we travel with our children because we all love experiencing people and cultures that are different to us. Having all these shared experiences and memories of all the places we have been is a part of the fabric of our family now. Our children see travel as a normal part of life. Xander is already planning to have a birthday at the British Museum and it was his idea to go to New Zealand this year. He would also love to do a cruise. These days the cost of flights is becoming more and more affordable. With the internet this world and all its people and cultures have become more accessible then ever before.
I am happy and proud to raise my children as people who can think as global citizens. The world really is their oyster.