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Maps as Lessons

I love when like minded souls share their travel experiences. This next story is about teaching kids to embrace the unexpected and not fear the world. Please welcome Allison from The Family Trip Online sharing one simple adventure about teaching kids to trust themselves.


"It was an exotic vacation we had splurged on, and one we desperately needed. My husband and I looked at each other across a large picnic table as the sun set, toes in the sandy beach underneath us, the gentle Grand Cayman breeze rustling our hair. We smiled that smile meant just for your soulmate. And then a straw wrapper went whizzing between us as our 10-year-old howled with laughter and our 8-year-old revived his mantra that “there wasn’t a single thing to eat on the menu” (that he wanted, that is). Traveling with kids is likely to destroy an idyllic moment of romance. So why do we do it?

We do it because we know that traveling with kids forms them in critical ways that can’t be replicated anywhere else. Later on the trip, our family was tucked snugly into a car. The only map we had was the rental car company’s map (where the gas station is the largest thing as it paid for the map to be printed). It was useless, but our sons poured over it with glee.

“Turn here, Dad!”

“Next right, Dad!”

“Oops, I meant left, Dad!”

My husband grimaced as he attempted to whip the little car around, following the shouted and contradictory directions of elementary school children. But we made it to our destination. I looked at my kids getting out of the car, noticing they were swollen with pride that they had navigated a foreign road. And it hit me that bringing them along was worth it, despite the whizzing paper straws and the complaints that international travel doesn’t involve enough hot dogs.

Our children may not remember all the details of their week on a gorgeous Caribbean island. But I know they will remember the feeling of confidence that they can successfully navigate through the world. By traveling with us, they have begun to learn, deep in their bones, that people around the world eat different foods but also have maps and need to get places. Our sons are starting, one trip at a time, to understand that humans aren’t that different no matter where they live, and that they, as humans, have the capacity to get where they want to go.

By traveling with our kids, we may forsake romantic dinners, but we are gaining someday adults who have the confidence to tackle the world."


Isn't that the loveliest lesson for children to learn? I think so. Thank you Allison for your contribution! Catch up with Allison's family adventures at The Family Trip Online and follow their Instagram too!


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