When we started telling friends and family we were planning on taking our 2 young children travelling (aged 3 and 1), the reactions were mixed. While some thought and openly told us it was a bad idea, others were proud of us and found it quite admirable. However, something we have heard time and time again:
“Why don’t you wait until they are older?”
Apparently, if we go now they won’t remember it and if we wait until they’re older they will enjoy it more. Well, we disagree.
I’m not going to lie; when we first started discussing the possibility of taking the children travelling we had doubts. I believe this is all down to social norms, an intrinsic pressure to conform and to do what is expected of you and to strive to achieve what is presented to us as ‘success’. In my opinion, what I believe is success, you believe to be success and anybody else deems as success CAN and SHOULD be different. Everybody has a different background, a different story, different goals, aims and dreams.
Our ‘successes’ so far
As soon as we were old enough to start work we did. My first job as a teenager was in our local fish and chip shop, my husband’s was in a shop warehouse helping customers load purchases into their car. We met at College, and then went onto University. Like many students, before we started our new careers and entered the ‘dreaded’ world of full time work, we decided to go on a once in a lifetime trip.
‘Once in a lifetime’ trip
On the first day of our epic adventure, we bungee jumped in Zambia! With the Victoria Falls as our backdrop and the Zambezi River rushing beneath us, it was definitely one of the most beautiful and terrifying experiences we have ever had.
In Australia, we were lucky enough to have the spectacular Cape Tribulation Beach to ourselves, except for the array of flora and fauna! For hours we were the only ones wandering the incredible place where two world heritage sites meet (Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef).
We experienced sunsets more spectacular than we could have ever imagined. This one was taken on Nanuya Island in the Yasawas, Fiji:
Our trip ended with an overnight camping trip on Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi Island in Thailand. Not only did we see the sunset, we slept on the sand beneath the stars. The next morning, we swam in the crystal clear water as the sun was rising. Except for one other couple, the park ranger and our tour guide, we were the only people on the island. Camping on the island has since ceased, reminding us just how lucky we were to have that experience and get photos like this:
‘Grown up’ life
Upon returning from our once in a life time trip, we entered the world of work and quickly settled into ‘grown up’ life. This started with us buying our first house and then getting married! After some difficult years, enduring failed fertility treatments we were blessed with 2 beautiful children. We worked hard, bought a new family home and continued to raise our beautiful babies into amazing miniature humans! I am proud of us. I am proud of what we have achieved and worked hard for. However, it would seem we had caught the ‘travelling bug’.
We started questioning why we had thought our trip had to be a ‘once in a lifetime thing’. Exploring the world isn’t (and shouldn’t) just be something that young students do. There are many, many people out there exploring the world and making their dreams a reality. There are many families out there already taking their children travelling and we could do it too!
Why ‘throw it all away’?
A lot of people can’t comprehend why we are now deciding ‘to throw it all away’. We have a nice home; we have nice cars and nice THINGS. But that is all they are, they are all things and what we don’t have is enough TIME.
The weekends just aren’t long enough. We fill them and we cram them as best we can but it’s not enough! I am lucky that I work part time so get to spend more time with the children but when you factor in Pre School, Ballet lessons and Rugby lessons it doesn’t leave much. More importantly, that’s not family time. The four of us exploring together, growing together and making memories together.
So we made the decision to sell EVERYTHING and take the children travelling! Where? We haven’t fully decided yet. How long for? As long as we can! This was a big decision for us to make and once we made it, I felt immense pride. I am proud of us for deciding to do this and, to us, this is going to be one of our greatest successes.
Reasons why you SHOULD take your young children travelling
So, everybody who tells us we should wait until our children are older to explore the world, they’re wrong! There are many reasons WHY you SHOULD take your young children travelling. Wanting more time together as a family is just one of the reasons why we have made this decision.
Just because they’re younger doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy it. They will! They will have the time of their lives and so will we! My son has admired weird and wonderful sea creatures on YouTube and in books his whole life; I cannot wait to see his face when he gets to see them in real life!
The social, cultural and educational experiences our children are going to be experiencing will be unquestionably invaluable. They will be seeing, hearing and feeling these things for themselves. They will meet people from all different parts of the world and learn about their culture and customs.
Importantly, they will hopefully learn the world is bigger than them, that we all have a part of it and we all have a role to play. They will learn respect. Respect for others and respect and admiration for the world we live in. They will build confidence, self esteem and self worth. They will form and develop relationships. Whether this be playing with local children, chatting to a local or ordering from a menu. This is all great for improving their social and communication skills and of course confidence.
They will develop their relationship with each other; being in those moments with each other will strengthen their bond as brother and sister and our bond as a family.
I will argue this until I am blue in the face – they WILL remember it. They may not remember all of it intrinsically but they will extrinsically. We will see it on them, in them, it will shape them. We will see it in who they are and who they become. Just as importantly, WE will remember and we will cherish every moment for the rest of our lives.
It’s decided – we are taking the children travelling!
So that’s it settled! We will be selling our home, our cars and all our possessions. We’re going on an epic adventure and taking our 2 young children travelling! By sharing our experiences we hope we can provide other families with information and inspiration to do the same.
To find out more, visit out homepage.