Growing up, my parents loved to take us all on a road trip. I remember trips all over the place, usually with our camper trailer hitched on the back of car. When I was in Year 6 they packed all four kids up (my youngest sibling was 9 months old at the time) and took us to Europe for three months. They hired a camper trailer and drove us around England, Western Europe, with a few days in Hong Kong, and in the process they showed us that there was much more to the world than the little corner that we lived in.
In many ways the trips we took with my parents set us up for a life time of wanting to travel and see new things. Seeing the battlefields of WWI made studying it later in High School so much more meaningful. Knowing that there were people out there who were different to us helped us to value these differences, and show tolerance and consideration for people who may look or act differently to what we were used to.
Soon after Country Boy and I were married, we decided to go to England and Europe for 12 months. We saved our money furiously, and got working holiday visas which allowed me to teach, and CB to pick up contract work. Every weekend, and school holiday were spent exploring. We then spent three months backpacking our way around Europe, blowing our hard earned cash. We still see that trip as one of the defining moments of our lives.
Since having children we have shortened our trips some what. We visited my sister and brother in law in China when the girls were 20 months and 4 years old, and had a stop over in Malaysia on the way. Meg of course, doesn’t remember anything, but Hannah has distinct memories our time there. Having two small blonde children made us stand out in the part of China where my sister lives, as Westerners are not so common there.
From the time our kids were small, it has always been a dream to take them to overseas. To revisit the places we lived and loved when we were in Europe, and to explore a few new places as well. We have been waiting for them to be the right age; old enough to enjoy and remember it, but not so old that we are travelling with teens who don’t want to be with us. We’ve just returned from a week of touring around the Victorian Goldfields with the kids. We learnt about the history of the towns, tried new foods, and experienced new things. The kids soaked up the experience. It has convinced me that the kids are ready to try a bigger trip, so I’m putting it on the agenda for the next two years. (Nothing like announcing your intentions to kick you into action!)
One of the things I notice about living in a small country town, is that it is very easy to be “town centric” – to believe that the small town we live in is how the world is, or should be. Some people never really leave the town, or go further than the nearest big town. As much as technology has given us the ability to see parts of the world through our screen, it is not a substitute for actually experiencing different places and people. The thing is, it’s a big old world out there. Full of interesting things to see and do, and people to understand. I’m super grateful that my parents took the opportunity to travel with us, and show us a big world. I’m determined to give my kids a big world too.
Have you done a big trip with kids? Got any advice or good ideas? How do you make sure your kids see a big world?