Raising Global Children: Distractions in the way of travel

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Have you ever thought maybe traveling with children to expand their horizons is not as difficult as it seems? Have you ever thought about disregarding the distractions hindering you and simply taking the plunge?

If this sounds like you or someone you know, then welcome to the final week of Raising Global Children. We would like to thank our amazing contributors for taking part in the discussion. Beginning with week 1, we discussed Ways to Promote Interest in other Cultures One of the comments that caught my attention was from Kathryn Bennett, who has a BA in Cultural Anthropology:

I have a BA in Cultural Anthropology as a result of a love of history and learning about other cultures. I am always interested in people’s heritage and customs. Another way for children to learn might be through heritage and genealogy. If we start with our family knowledge and learn about where we came from the world gets a little smaller. If there isn’t much info, start with surnames and naming practices tracing to other countries. I think it will help children (and adults) to connect personally to others and create more accord.

To catch more of the discussion on this topic, search for #raisingglobalchildren on twitter or visit the post. Then we move onto week 2 to discuss When should children learn a second language?This topic is quite obviously very dear to many people. The discussion is still continuing on this topic with 31 comments and counting. Several comments speak of personal experiences learning a language. Some expressed angst at school systems for not offering foreign language programs to our youth. As Athena wrote:

Learning a second language is so important in today’s societies yet schools keep being forced to cut them from their budgets because of inadequate funding and their lack of being a required program. Very sad.

#raisingglobalchildren
Eric of Travel Babbo. Photo Credit: Eric Stoen

And now week 3’s contributor is Eric Stoen of Travel Babbo. Our topic of discussion:

What do you believe are the biggest distractions preventing American families from going global? What are some remedies to remove those distractions?

Eric is a a former telehealth CEO, who has traveled around the world with his three young children, from Northern Europe to Antarctica, and truly believes that people should take their kids everywhere. Visit his website at http://www.travelbabbo.com and follow him on twitter: @travelbabbo. Given Eric’s experience traveling with his own children, we wanted you to read what he had to say:

Families tend to get hung up on planning this week and this month (soccer practice, birthday parties, work functions, babysitting) and not think six or twelve months into the future to be able to save up vacation time and money and plan everything as perfectly as possible. I see it all the time – families waiting until the last minute to try to put together a trip and by that point all of the good flight/hotel options are gone. It’s so much less expensive to plan in advance. Travel writers and bloggers say that they want to inspire others to travel, and I don’t think that’s just a cliche – I truly think that’s where the solution is. I love trying to motivate people not only to take their kids to crazy places, but just to travel at all – get passports, pick a destination without Disney characters and go. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. People need to see amazing photos and hear about people like them traveling and what it brings to a family and adds to a child’s education and hopefully more of them will take the leap into world travel and never look back.

We could not have said it better.

Pick a destination without Disney characters and go.

The above quote has to be the most penetrating of Eric’s statement. Experience life void all of the over-stimulation. Leave enough quiet for your child’s mind to absorb, learn and grow. Instead of saving up for a character, save up to build character through travel. Let’s deliberately raise global children.

Thank you for joining the discussion. Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments, on twitter #RaisingGlobalChildren and in your families.

what distractions are keeping you from traveling with kids? Click To Tweet

What distractions are preventing you from going more global with your family? Are there ways you can save for a travel experience?

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39 Comments
  1. The business of life is definitely one factor. Right now we are trying to find our adventure for the summer and it will be mom and the kids alone since dad is not able to take leave right now. With 4 under the age of 11, I worry that I am not enough to handle their needs, emotions and level of activity alone for days and even weeks at a time in a foreign area.

    1. wow, Teri, you are amazing. Planning is probably a top skill of yours and I am sure the older kids will be a big help. Sounds like a road trip via camper might be a great choice for your family. I remember those days traveling around in our “house on wheels”. it was one of my first purchases as an adult. Love a good motor coach.

    1. Disney is a fun place to go for sure. We’ve been to the one in Anaheim for the National American Miss Pageant and Orlando for a National Cheer competition. Traveling the east coast, there is so much to see. Would love to know some of those waterfalls you’ve been to. Sounds like your family has a lot of fun.

  2. We traveled a lot as kids, and I think that has shaped us greatly into the adults that we are today. Would I have changed it? Definitely – I don’t think we would’ve traveled & moved as much as we did… Knowing that we don’t really have one place to call home, and all the relationships that come with that.
    Nikki recently posted…Happy Birthday Sis!My Profile

    1. since I traveled my entire life I did not know any different. So I can relate to your experience from that standpoint. However, we did have home bases that were (are) still in our family for over 100 years now. So we felt rooted in our family, not any single place. I learned a few years ago, one of my younger relatives now in her late 30s, always thought I lived near her because we were “always around”. My dad made sure we did not miss any major events: weddings, reunions, etc. It’s difficult when the base is not there. The foundation. My wedding was a display of all the places I lived by my guest. I felt so blessed to have friends and associates from all over the world and I credit my parents for knowing how to forge relationships even when we moved on. It transcended to my own family. We don’t have to live in the same house for decades to forge solid, lifelong relationships. I can certainly see how it would be difficult if relationships fizzled just because you moved on.

  3. “Pick a destination without Disney characters….”
    What a great idea. When I was driving to WV last summer with my husband, we wound up on parts of Route 66. We stayed at this adorable little inn called the Blue Swallow. I bought a shirt, a mug and a blanket from their gift shop and whenever I use them or they go through the wash I think about how much I’d love to go explore route 66 some more! Maybe it’s something I could do with my family.
    Kat recently posted…4 Things My Toddler Does That I Wish I Could DoMy Profile

    1. I am chapter leader for the Ayden Rae Foundation. Each year, the Foundation does a trip along Route 66 to raise awareness about HG – fatal condition in pregnant women. The route never gets old and it is great trying the little inns and diners along the way. Great fun for little cost.

  4. Our kid’s school actually builds in two weeks to the school calendar (one in the fall and one in the spring) where there is no school, but they encourage parents to take their kids on a new journey. The kids have to do a project about what they did outside of school that week – its such a great bonus for us and our ability to travel. We aren’t limited to the normal school holidays.

    1. Maggie, that sounds like an awesome school district. We get a lot a long weekends. In actuality, kids are only in school 6 months out of the year. I maximize that time and plan our extended hauls in the summer and over Christmas.

  5. We are the family that plans a lot in advance any vacation. And it’s on the TO DO list every year. If you make it a priority, just like other important things in life, it gets done for sure.
    Sometimes just one per year if it’s overseas, but most of the time we break it down into smaller ones so we enjoy time off more often. It’s a wonderful way to spend time together as a family and stay unplugged :)
    Delia @ Happy Blogger Plaza recently posted…How to start a WordPress blog, step by stepMy Profile

    1. Planning and preparation are key. Taking personal inventory to see where you are spending time and funds on things that truly do not matter to you are easy tasks to accomplish that will allow families to re-allocate time and money to travel, whether domestic or internationally.

  6. Great idea, if you can afford to travel the world. On the other hand, why not travel in your own country with your children, as I did in the 70s with three children around Australia in a caravan for one year. The children took correspondence lessons and learned so much from the people they met. No other languages though, which would have been a real bonus.

    1. Traveling in any country. It’s just a matter of getting outside of the local boundaries in which we live. Explore. Engage. Your children probably remember those experiences more than any material thing you purchased for them.

  7. My situation was different because my late father was a career diplomat for the Indian government and we travelled a lot with 2-3 year postings in different countries. At the time it used to upset me to be uprooted every time because it meant starting at a new school and making new friends but it also had some good in it. I actually had pen friends and being exposed to different cultures, I believe I am more open to new experiences as an adult and able to adjust to changing situations in quick time. I wouldn’t suggest such an extreme for character building of children, but I would recommend giving them experiences to broaden their horizons.
    Vatsala Shukla recently posted…Success Journal for Self-ConfidenceMy Profile

    1. Vatsala, I too moved around extensively growing up. Since I did not know any differently, it never bothered me. And as an adult, I realize I have comrades literally all over the world. It is amazing. It definitely had a lot to do with building my character and cultural awareness. There isn’t one tool for accomplishing such goals, but traveling for purpose versus milling around is definitely an excellent tool.

  8. “Pick a destination without Disney characters and go.”

    My husband’s children are from a very small town (where he is also from) and the idea of Disney or any place not in small-town Arkansas was wonderful to him.

    We did the Disney thing. As a native Floridian living in California, hey…it’s a rite of passage ;). But once it’s been done, I couldn’t agree with that statement more. Don’t make it a habit. We’ve also taken them on Epic road trips up the California Coast, to Maui and we have plans to take them far and abroad. I have loved this series for pointing out the true gift of travel. It was given to me as a child and I am happy to pass it on.
    Heather recently posted…My Brother. The Retard.My Profile

    1. Disney is definitely a rite of passage. It’s something, like visiting the Eiffel Tower, to check off your bucket list. Then you move onto other new experiences. Thank you for joining us in this discussion and we are glad you found value in it.

  9. My former husband and I always took our one daughter with us when we traveled. At a young age she got to visit St. Kitts and then Curaco along with places in the southern U.S., both coasts. Here in Canada, children do have the opportunity to learn another language, French, as that is part of our cultural heritage. Not sure it helped her much on any of our trips though. My daughter also had a TV series she co-starred in as a young girl, so we got to travel to London and to New York and to L.A., which aren’t very exotic, however, they do offer a worldly experience for a young child as well. It is also interesting that my daughter, even though we travelled a lot when she was young, has never had the desire to travel the way that some young adults to overseas. She is quite happy on her home terrain with the occasional trips to Arizona and California. Enjoyed the perspectives and ideas offered in this post! Thanks…
    Beverley Golden recently posted…You’ve Come a Long Way Baby: Or Have You?My Profile

    1. I will be in Toronto this June, Beverley. Not sure where you are located, but I imagine it is Eastern Canada since you mentioned French. Your daughter is filled with memories, she is just gaining experiences in new ways now. :-)

  10. When we first had our kids and limited funds we travelled by camping. Not everyone likes tents, elements, bugs but our love of connecting to nature was stronger than these annoyances. And even when we went to the Caribbean and stayed in a hotel, we trampled over the island & flew out to explore a dead volcano. When I look at how my adult children live their lives, I know we gave them great experiences. My partner in jewelry making, my daughter, went to India several times. My son has to be dragged inside. We planned trips and we created spontaneous experiences and vacations. So, I get your point.

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