What (I Hope) My Kids Learn From Traveling

If you could trace the origins of the expression “LOL”, surely you’d find mention somewhere in there of  Steve, from More Kids Than Suitcases.  He’s hilarious, always entertaining, and his travel blog is one of my absolute favorite sites.

So to kick off Travel Week Extravaganza with a smile, please welcome Steve as my Guest Travel Blogger today.  Sit back, enjoy, and get ready to laugh-out-loud

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What (I Hope) My Kids Learn From Traveling

Guest Post by Steve, More Kids Than Suitcases

More Kids Than Suitcases

Steve and his adventurous family

To be honest, it’s not my favorite question.  I know that there are plenty of travelers out there who jump at the chance to explain their thoughts on the benefits of travel to people, but I can truthfully say that I really haven’t given the matter a whole lot of thought. When somebody comes up and asks me “Why do you travel so much?” they’re more likely to get the blank stare that I usually reserve for laundry instructions or my kids homework assignments than a well thought out and reasonable response.  “Because it’s fun!” is never going to qualify me as one of the deep thinkers of our generation, but I won’t be losing any marks for not telling the truth either.

When it comes to my kids though, I’ve spent a little more time trying to decide what I want them to get out of traveling. I’m not sure why as I never really seem to have any control over what they remember from our travels. No matter how famous or important a place we visit is, any learning goes out the window if a cute puppy happens to wander by, and all bets are off if our destination happens to have a snack bar in it. I’m fairly sure my kids main recollection from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum is the size of the McDonalds it was attached to, which only seems fair as the first thing I remember is how pricey the Quarter Pounders were.

I know my kids are learning lessons though. It’s pretty hard to have so many travel experiences and not take something away from them. Unfortunately, all three of my children are solidly entrenched in their teenage years now, so simply asking them what they learn when we’re traveling is akin to asking for an enormous quantity of groans and eye rolls. Instead, I’m going to tell you what I hope they’re learning. If anybody should notice any signs of these lessons sinking in, please notify me immediately. I sometimes have a hard time picking up on these things while sorting through the heavy doses of sarcasm that conversations with my children usually include.

A SENSE OF ADVENTURE

I’d really like my kids to grow up with a healthy curiosity of the unknown. I want them to realize that, even when things don’t go as planned, every path has its own challenges and rewards. Most of all though, I want them to know that every time I use the phrase “Where’s your sense of adventure?” it doesn’t mean that we’re lost again. Not every time.

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station

LEARNING TO GET ALONG

Surprisingly, my kids almost never fight when we’re traveling. I don’t know if it’s out of a sense of only having each other to rely on, or if it’s because travel makes us all happier and leaves us in better moods. I suppose if I really wanted to test the theory, I could only bring one laptop with us next time we hit the road. If they can survive having to share a computer between them, I’ll know that traveling must be supplying them with some sort of false-euphoria. Either that or one of them has some really good dirt on the other two.

Red Rock in Vegas

Red Rock in Vegas

ACCEPTANCE OF OTHER…UMM… CULTURES?

This is something that is really important to me, and I certainly want to see my kids become open and accepting of other people’s way of life. The problem is that we haven’t traveled outside of North America as a family, so the most exotic culture my kids have been exposed to was the time we stopped in Cabo San Lucas and a Mexican shopkeeper tried to convince us that leather masks, boots, and whips were the perfect souvenir to take back home. I guess there was also the time that we took the kids to see Lady Gaga in Anaheim. That was definitely a different culture, but again…leather masks, boots, and whips. Pretty much the same thing.

Dolphin Adventures in Cabo San Lucas

Dolphin Adventures in Cabo San Lucas

A SENSE OF PERSPECTIVE

My kids are teenagers. That means that the most important part of their day is usually something along the lines of “Sally told Debbie to ask Megan if Jimmy knows what Mike thinks of her”. I’d like for my kids to think that there are more important things happening in the world each day, and I think they get a better idea of that the more we travel. Of course, if Mike really likes Sally, then everything else will just have to wait. I really think those two crazy kids could make it.

A DIFFERENT VIEW OF THEIR FUTURE

When I graduated from high school, I knew what came next. You either went to work right away, or you went to University, got your degree, and then went to work. Everything was focused on getting you a job, and while I think it’s important to be self-sufficient, I don’t want my kids to finish their school years focused solely on what they’re going to do for the rest of their life. I’d like them to know that there are endless opportunities out there for them, and working a 9 to 5 job and taking vacations once a year is only one of the options.

If my kids happen to discover their passions early and know exactly what they want to do after school, then that’s great, but otherwise I hope that their first thoughts after graduation aren’t “What am I going to do for a job?” but more along the lines of “What adventure am I going to have next?” Of course that needs to be followed closely by “How am I going to support my parents?”

Olympic Flame in Vancouver

Olympic Flame in Vancouver

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About the author:

Steve, Lori and their kids live in the beautiful city of Kelowna, B.C., home to fantastic lakes, amazing ski slopes, and the real Ogopogo (I know he’s real because I follow him on Twitter). They are anxiously awaiting the next school break so they can hit the road again. If you want to follow along with the good times, check out More Kids Than Suitcases. If you prefer it when things go wrong, you’ll want the Facebook page. If you never know what’s going on, then you may be a long lost family member, and you should probably follow along on Twitter.

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This guest post is part of my Travel Week Extravaganza. There will be great travel related articles and travel gear reviews and giveaways all week… so be sure to check out the fun!

 

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About COMtnMom

Hi, I'm Tami! Writer, Influencer, and mom of two who loves enjoying the outdoors, staying active, travel, photography, reading books, and eating desserts. We are pretty much always planning our next trip to Disney World...

Comments

  1. So funny!

    I hope that my kids always remember the trips we’ve taken because I remember every month when I pay VISA.

  2. Your kids always seem so happy in your stories Steve. It’s hard to believe that not fighting was ever a real thing that they had to learn.

    • Oh they’re still learning it Jamie, but it’s a whole lot better now than it used to be. They seemed to have realized now that it’s easier to get their way when they present a united front against their parents.

  3. I’m pretty sure that our kids are learning the lessons that we want them to learn from traveling – we’re just going to have to wait 10 or 15 years for them to acknowledge it!

  4. I laughed out loud when I read the “Sally told Debbie to ask Megan if Jimmy knows what Mike thinks of her” line – that was definitely what my days were about as a teenager.

    These are all great lessons and many are part of the reason why my family travels too (like you we haven’t gone out of North America yet — still saving our pennies!)

    Thanks for the laughs!

    • I was always Jimmy in that scenario. The girls always wanted to know what my friends thought of them, so it was always assigned to me to find out. I hated it then, and I cringe every time I hear my girls playing that game with their friends now.

  5. Some of the things my kids have learned from travel: 1) Places smell different, and some smell better than others; 2) McDonald’s and Subway are all over the world; 3) It’s fun to watch Disney movies in foreign countries in the local language and make up your own dialogue; 4) In other parts of the world, Min Son told Joon Lee to ask Yumin if Siew knows what Lay Kean thinks of her.

    • #1 – Places smell different. Oh yeah, I remember my kids learning that lesson after their first ride on the NY subway.
      #2 – Thank goodness.
      #3 – The Disney Channel on the Disney Cruise Line was in English, but all the commercials were in Spanish. I think my kids had a lot more fun watching the commercials.
      #4 – I have no idea who the boys and girls are in that scenario, but other than that I imagine it’s the exact same conversation held everywhere else in the world.

  6. Another awesome post from Steve! I hope my kids are absorbing all of these lessons while they’re traveling too. At the very least, I think they’re getting along better when we travel since they have no one else to talk to and they have to entertain each other. Thanks for some insight into whazt I have to look forward to in the next few years.

    • You were wise enough not to let the kids outnumber you Mary. It makes a huge difference as they grow older. Your next few years should be much easier than mine were.

  7. Steve, you always crack me up! For the record, my kids can share one laptop, but ask them to share a phone and all you-know-what will break lose! 🙂

    One of the aspects of travel that I love is the people that we’ve met on the road. My kids now have friends of all ages that they keep in touch with all over the US. They learned something from each of those people when they took the time to listen to their stories during stays at a campground or layovers at the airport. They aren’t afraid to talk to people and I think part of that is due to our travels.

    • My kids used to adhere very strictly to the “Don’t Talk to Strangers” rule, but as they’ve gotten older it’s kind of loosened up a little. Now they have friends from all over the place too. I’m just glad they can keep in touch on the internet these days and not have to call each other all the time like we did when we were younger. My parents long distance bill was never cheap.

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