Pack Your Bags, Boys

April 13, 2017

I love to travel. I’ve been all over the world. A couple of trips to New Zealand and Australia. Time in Thailand. Handfuls of visits to Europe and I have proudly been to all but four states in the US. In fact, one time I was getting into a taxi in Paris and out popped the man I was strapped to while skydiving in Kauai several years prior.

But in the past four years, my travel has slowed down considerably. Why? I had two sons. Yes, pregnancy and newborns can put a bit of a damper on the whole “let’s explore the world” mentality.

But now that my youngest just turned one, my husband and I sat down to map out travel plans for the rest of the year. We now have three trips booked to begin showing the boys the world.

Travel is so important because it pushes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to see different landscapes, smell different smells and sleep on different beds. It exposes you to different cultures, different religions and different foods.

And the more you see the different, the more you realize how at the end of the day, it really is all the same. We are all just people with families and friends that laugh when things are funny and cry when things are sad.

One of the best experiences of my life was trekking to a family’s home in Sapa, Vietnam, where we cooked dinner together and spent the night sleeping on the floor of their house. They were filled with love and warmth and compassion. We didn’t speak the same language, yet we were easily able to communicate.

And in today’s world, the realization that we are more alike than we are not alike has never been more important. People are often scared of others that are not like them. I find it so very important to teach my boys to fight ignorance, not immigrants.

Just the other day, I said to a friend that I would consider myself to be a successful parent if my boys asked to take a gap year between high school and college to travel the world. To me that is brave. And being brave is one of the traits I most wish to instill in my little men.

Every night when we sit down for dinner together, I ask my three-year-old:

“How were you brave today?”

“How were you kind today?”

I want him to grow up being brave, being kind and traveling the world — discovering for himself that we are all simply human.