We have been travelling the world with our two teenagers for almost eight months. To us, it was a dream that we had been nurturing since the children were babies. We were not only were we desperate to travel, but we were also adamant that we would share that experience as a family. And so we made it happen. But what is this travel longing? Why do people travel? And why are some families more addicted to travel than others?
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Alongside our decision to emigrate to New Zealand almost ten years ago, backpacking the world for a year has been the best thing we have ever done in our lives. It hasn’t always been easy, but we have loved working things through as a family, realising that you don’t have to spend a fortune to be happy and this trip has put lots of things into perspective.
Everyone is different and of course, my reason for travelling won’t necessarily be the same as yours, you may be twenty years younger than me (please say you aren’t) but there seems to be a common link that connects people who travel. Qualities that you acquire through travel.
I didn’t know what travelling with my kids would bring to the table, and to be honest there were lots of what-ifs that sometimes threatened this trip happening at all. In the end, though, we all agreed that backpacking the world as a family would be an adventure. Something to talk about when we were in our nursing homes, (us, not the kids) but other than that we just jumped in and hoped for the best.
And we got it. The best I mean.
Travelling has changed our perspective on many things; we have all grown as people and speaking from personal experience, we have gained some very powerful qualities.
Why People Travel. 5 Qualities You Will Learn
- Trust in yourself.
- I used to hate it when people said this to me. I thought they were trying to impress me with their weirdo, voodoo, yoga ways; I always felt like a bit of a let down when try as I may, I would wake up every morning, only to find that it was still the same old me on the pillow.
- And then I set off to travel the world with my husband and two teenagers and I have had to learn to trust in them, to remember that I’m not always right – as much as it kills me to admit it sometimes. Trust that your kids will be fine and also:
- Trust in yourself.
- Trust in yourself is merely another way of saying ‘if it feels right deep in your stomach, then go for it’.
- Trusting in your gut instinct is something travel will teach you.
- If it feels right, it is. Go for it.
- I won’t lie, I’m still working on this one, but I have improved. Massively. Well ok then – quite a lot.
- Patience indeed comes about when you are travelling with two teenagers. You, like me, may find yourself stuffing clothes and half-empty bottles of contact lens solution into your backpack at 6.30 am so that you can catch the only train out of a particularly strange village in Vietnam.
- You will turn around to see your son, unwashed, teeth not cleaned, wearing the same socks as yesterday, laughing away, without a care in the world. Cracked up at the latest YouTube meme – instead of packing his stuff or helping his poor middle-aged mother find the black kindle lead.
- But, rather than screaming like a banshee about how you are going to wring his neck ( if you could reach), as you used to in your pre-travel days; you say: “I think we should have a few rules in place around you and your phone on travel days. Now, hurry along please lovely boy.”
- Or something along those lines.
- You will find that you have a good deal more patience than you thought you had.
Learning to share.
- in almost every country that we have visited, and every single time it ceases to amaze me that even those with very little are willing to share what they have with you.
- Even if it’s only a space on the floor of an open door train in Sri Lanka, they will share. And this generosity is contagious.
- Before the start of this trip, I hid my ‘almost new underwear’ away in a wicker basket, on my neat little shelf, in my large wardrobe, within my private bedroom.
- Now, I give my daughter full access to my ‘no longer elasticated, baggy, washed out knickers’ which I keep in the tiny mesh compartment of my shabby grey rucksack, beside the uncomfortable bed of our shared budget hotel room.
- I have learned how to share.
- It’s nice to share.
- I like to tell my daughter: what’s mine is yours.
Can I recommend a couple of things to you? If you have the desire to travel the world with your family read this book and this book. Both are beautifully honest and written in a way that will make you smile. A word of warning though…both books will have you packing for your next family adventure!
- So here’s the thing, I have always been optimistic, but this quality has grown since I started travelling. It’s inevitable.
- Know that no matter how many bags you have or how loud your son moans and complains about how his legs are far too long and that his feet are dangling out of the door onto the road – you WILL all fit into that one tuk-tuk or that tiny Chevrolet Spark Uber. You will.
- Your increased optimism will make you oblivious to the look of horror that adorns the drivers face as he pulls up onto the side of the street, watching as you all proceed to pile into his pride and joy. Ignore his protests. Get into the vehicle, remain optimistic and smile; it works wonders.
- If you are reading this post and are considering traveling with your kids then I’m assuming that you are a close family, but here’s the thing; you will become a million times closer once you travel together. It’s true. Travel creates a very special bond between families who travel, a bond that will remain a constant thread throughout your lives together. Think of it as a golden twine that can’t be broken.
- If you are travelling solo you will learn how to connect with others, be it in your hostel or at the beach; unless you are a complete weirdo freak you are going to make connections that will last you a lifetime.
- And although you read about things that are happening around the world, it isn’t until you actually visit these counties and speak to the people who are living there that you get to feel a real connection. An appreciation for how they live.
- Connection to this gorgeous world and people in it.
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As I said, there are many reasons as to why people travel and I have only skimmed the surface of what qualities our family travelling has brought about. If you are considering a vacation or an ambitious world trip with your kids – do it. You will never, ever regret it. Drop me a comment or sign up for the newsletter and weekly inspirational emails – let me know what you think travelling will bring to your life!