The first time I traveled overseas was in high school on an optional school trip to Italy. I went because I wanted to experience the culture of a new place, and especially because part of my family is Italian. It was the most amazing experience (made even better because my best friends also went on the trip!).
Our travel carrier – we used it almost every day on our CA trip!
Now, traveling doesn’t just mean experiencing a new place for ourselves. It’s a great way to expand Eleanor’s horizons and introduce her to new foods, new people, new sights and smells and sounds. And it’s incredible to see travels through her eyes. For example, I have always loved animals, and as a child I actually wanted to be a marine biologist when I grew up. The first time I went to San Francisco, I was enamored with the sea lions off of Pier 39. I could have sat there all day and watched them! So when I brought E to see them on a recent trip to San Francisco, I was so happy to see that she also thought the sea lions were hilarious. I had never heard her laugh at a creature (aside from Sprout) until that day. It was so fun for me to watch her watching them!
Besides letting my baby see other places and have new experiences, travel also has another meaning for me: I want my children to grow up unafraid of new experiences. I am a notoriously nervous traveler. I’m probably the last person you’d ever want to fly with. I absolutely don’t want to pass this less-than-desirable trait on to my children, so I’m glad that we can expose E to travel now – when she is unafraid of most things – so that she can see it’s nothing to be afraid of. (It also helps that T is one of those people who actually enjoys turbulence, so during flights if it gets bad he will hold her and play with her while I silently white knuckle the seat behind her back.)
I have traveled so much now that it might seem silly to say that I’m terrified of plane travel, but I am. It’s something I haven’t gotten over yet, and I’m not sure I ever will. But I plan to keep on going places (even if it means popping a pill so I can). And when it comes to E, I want her to grow up knowing that she can do what she wants – hopefully without having any fear.
Do you travel with your children? (Or did you?)