If you have children or not, this Abroad Blog of the Week is definitely one you should add to your reader. Even though Hubby and I don’t currently have children, I have been enjoying willtravelwithkids now for several months. The author blogs from her home base in San Diego but she is no stranger to travel with her two little girls. Her posts detail their adventures exploring God’s creation whether they be in Japan or Nova Scotia. My personal favorites so far include her exploration of cemeteries around the world and her reminisces of Anne of Green Gables while visiting Prince Edward Island. When not traveling, willtravelwithkids is a global from home expert and explores San Diego just like she were abroad. I caught up with the author via email and found out more about her family travel the globe with stroller in tow.
This is just after dawn in Istanbul, before the tourist buses arrive and the view is continually obscured.
Why do you think it’s important to include your children in your travels?
I want my kids to grow up experiencing the unfamiliar and understanding that just because something is new to them or different, it doesn’t need to be uncomfortable, scary or considered inferior to what they know. Experiencing new things should be a normal, desired part of life experience.
From your experiences, what are some of the easier places to travel with kids?
We don’t usually pick our travel locations based on ease. I could push my stroller down the aisle of the train in Germany, which made traveling in Germany with small children ‘easier.’ We had wonderful kid-friendly travel experiences in Germany utilizing public transport. However, when we visited family in Africa, we took the baby carrier/backpack, knowing the stroller would not be practical. Transport with a baby was not ‘easy’ and required significant pre-planning. But, the people we came across in Africa were so glad to meet our baby and were thrilled when we let them hold and hug her. They were more touched by our willingness to share our precious child with them and come all that way than anyone I came across in Europe. They did not take our effort for granted. In the same way that raising kids isn’t “easy,” traveling with them is also not easy. But we know that raising children and also traveling with them are both extremely rewarding. The positive outcomes outweigh any negative experiences along the way.
How does your faith play into how you see the world?
My faith is the primary component that impacts how I view the world. People, cultures and geography were created by God to show us some aspect of his nature. The more experiences we have outside of our cultural comfort zone, the more opportunities we have to learn something new about God or have God show us something new about himself. Of course, most people can step out of their cultural comfort zone without spending a lot of money and globetrotting. That why I like your blog, Elise! It’s a good reminder that we can stretch ourselves and seek new experiences without owning a passport. It’s a mindset.
Considering all the places you’ve lived and traveled, where do you feel the most at home?
Home is wherever we can be together as a family or, as I often say, home is where my toothbrush is. Last summer we spent three months away from our house so we could be together while my husband worked on the east coast of the U.S. I felt more at home in that hotel than if I had stayed at our house on the west coast with the babies (3 months and nearly 2 years old at the time). No matter where we are in the world, when we are together as a family, it’s home.
What advice would you give other parents who are about to embark on family travels?
- Focus on what is important – time together as a family sharing an experience. If you show up to a museum and it’s closed or a visit to the zoo is cut short because of an ‘accident’ or your hike gets rained out, all is not lost.
- Try new, local foods together. You can even do this from home! If it turns out you don’t like what you ordered, you will laugh later about the experience.
- Germs are everywhere and are normal – get over it.
- Don’t focus on the places, but focus on the people. People matter.