…AND MY SECRET DESIRE TO LIVE INTERNATIONALLY
Getting our children out of their bubble comes with some major benefits. Traveling abroad with kids does more than just show them the sites or check the so-called ‘worldly’ box. There’s some real intrinsic and developmental value here.
When children have the opportunity to get immersed in different cultures, they learn from a young age that there’s more to life than toys at the checkout line, endless grocery aisles of snack choices and juice options, and clothing spilling out of their drawers. They naturally build an acceptance and appreciation for diversity and experiences that are not typical for their day-to-day life.
When you travel with kids, they get to experience other cultures and learn by doing vs. showing
When you grew up in your home eating the traditional meals of your family unit, you form expectations of how things should be—pizza Fridays, labouyi ble Sundays (traditional Haitian porridge), or enjoying that special cake that grandma made every birthday. We call it our “custom” or tradition, and it feels good.
Traditions build security and comfort in your surroundings. However, if we never step outside the box, our box, we won’t know that what everyone else in the world is doing is normal too.
By traveling abroad, we give children opportunities to participate in traditions of other cultures and get immersed in cultural heritage, architecture, and daily habits.
This exposure helps kids understand that the way they learned something and the views they’ve developed aren’t the only ones that matter. It teaches them that everyone has a place in our world.
When kids travel abroad, they learn how to adapt and feel confident
Naturally, people become more flexible when they travel. Things don’t always go as planned. The spaces we travel in are often smaller than we’d prefer —somebody has to take the middle seat.
There are times when we have to sit still and times when it’s acceptable to move about. When we travel, we learn that we have to try to go with the flow to some extent.
By experiencing airports, transportation, cultural events, etc., kids understand how to get by in large groups, small groups, and in groups of people they don’t know and who look entirely different than they do.
Traveling helps children adapt and build a level of confidence with the unknown. When we shy away from doing things because we can’t predict every outcome, it’s easy to build fear and anxiety around those activities. Traveling helps children learn to navigate uncertainty.
Traveling forces kids to adjust to the many things they can’t control, like timing and availability of immediate resources. It boosts creativity and problem solving when it comes to navigating a city or packing lite for a trip.
Traveling with kids helps them be more grateful
I can’t help but wonder how much more grateful my kids would be if they had less. I’m sure it’s familiar to many, even adults. The more we have, the more we want.
When we travel with our kids, we have fewer things at our fingertips —fewer toys, electronics, TV, and other creature comforts. And that’s where I witness pure joy. Pure appreciation for our surroundings. Amazement and awe of new landscapes and animals, flowers and buildings.
When kids travel to areas where people have less than them, they appreciate the conveniences they’re afforded and experience the beauty in less.
When my family travels, we naturally get out of the rut of doing the same things we’d do at home. There’s magic (and humor sometimes) in being forced to try new foods and cultural trends. Fun conversations pop up and often teachable moments.
Traveling encourages curiosity and delight in the surprises around new corners.
I know there’s more the world has to offer, which is why I have the secret desire to live internationally
I love where I live, and I love America, yet I can’t help but think there’s more out there that I need to see, experience, and absorb. The philosophies of other cultures, the tastes of rich foods, vibrant clothing, unique architecture, and day-to-day life. The possibilities are waiting for us all! I’m grateful for all that I have, and I know that the future holds incredible experiences.
We can take the comfort of home anywhere because home is where the family and friends are.
Do you love to travel too? Have a secret desire to live abroad? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Follow me on social and let me know in the DMs.