Someone asked me the other day what motivates a parent to take their children somewhere far away and exotic?
I think there are a number of reasons at play.
1) Family bonding – there is not much bonding that goes on at an all inclusive resort where the parents are in one place and the kids in another. But everyone together in a jeep on safari? Now that is a bonding experience.
2) Unforgettable memories – the best memories are shared memories, and exotic locations are just so different from everyday life that those memories stick around for a long time. Just today, my five year old reminded me of how we saw elephants in India being fed. He was watching Sesame Street and they were discussing elephants, and he had his own close up memories of time spent at an elephant refuge in India when he was only four years old!
3) Education – by far the best way to understand people is to see where they come from. Whether it be Asia, Africa , Latin America or elsewhere, seeing the culture in its home environment, eating the food, playing with other kids, seeing how others live – there is simply no comparison with TV or books.
4) Instilling a sense in one’s own kids of being able to do what they want – kids that have traveled from a young age find it comes to them easily – they don’t have the same sense of trepidation of the unknown, nor the sense of unease at meeting other cultures. Rather, they have great self confidence – they know that they can really go anywhere they like, and this is likely to help them grow into confident adults.
5) For teens, travel must appeal th their likes and dislikes – after all, they probably don’t really want to traipse around with the family much anymore, so take a nature lover on safari, or a history buff to Unesco World Heritage Sites, or a budding scientist to an archaeological dig, an astronomical observatory, or a search for unknown species in a jungle adventure.
In a nutshell, for those of us with a wanderlust for travel, and who want to take our kids along, there are many great reasons to do so, no matter what their age.
PS These days I am planning great family trips to destinations of five continents. For more info on how I can help your family, visit here.