When my son was little we occasionally took vacations. Often times we made day trips to places like Sesame Place or riding “Thomas the Train” in Essex, Connecticut. Outside of quick day trips we would once in a while head down south to visit family.
It wasn’t until my son entered the third grade that we started to travel on a regular basis. Our travels often times would stem from what he was learning in school. Of course living outside of New York City made many trips reasonable from a time and cost perspective. It was so much fun spending time in Boston when he was learning about the American Revolution or in Gettysburg when he was studying about the Civil War. It was after trips like these that I really began to make an effort to explore any opportunity where we could learn something new.
These opportunities resulted in really unforgettable experiences like when my son briefly drove the Duck Tour Boat in Boston on the Charles River, learning how to blow glass at the Corning Glass museum, meeting a Yeoman Warder at the Tower of London, exploring caverns in Virginia and making a stop action animated film in New York City. I have watched his confidence grow when he would eagerly answer questions about Teddy Roosevelt that the park ranger asked during the tours of Sagamore Hill and when no other adult was brave enough to speak out and answer questions from one of the trainers when we enjoyed the dolphin encounter in the Bahamas.
There were also times when our travels didn’t go as planned, and usually revolved around getting lost. It was these times that we had to work together to get out of a “pickle”. For instance there has been many times my son needed to read the emergency map quest directions when the GPS lost a signal and he was quick to point out when we were going in the wrong direction on the tube of London’s Underground. Not only did we have to work together, but these situations taught us the importance of staying calm and the realization that we could resolve any problem.
As a mother I really do want to show my son the world because there is more to life than routines and chasing society’s expectations. I hope every new opportunity makes him curious to know more and provides him with the realization that the possibilities are endless in whatever path he chooses. I am excited that our travels that started out as fun adventures have led to unexpected gifts of courage, knowledge, new skills and an increased awareness and perspective of other cultures not just for my son, but for me too. As wonderful as these gifts have been, the best gift has been the precious bond between my son and I.
As a single parent my life is really busy. Juggling a career, keeping up the home and navigating everything that accompanies school and extracurricular activities can sometimes be demanding. There are days that sometimes blend together. Traveling allows me to focus on my son without all the distractions of everyday life. When traveling I feel an inner calmness which allows me to share genuine happiness with my son. With today being Mother’s day I can’t help but think how wonderful it is that travel has provided such happiness that has been intertwined into the fabric of everlasting memories for me and my favorite travel companion, my son. Traveling has truly been a gift and has provided another link in the bond of our relationship.
What unexpected gifts have you discovered while traveling with your children?
I follow many other traveling families via the blogosphere. One of my favorite sites to visit is Mother of All Trips! Today Mara is promoting a linkup for all travel moms, so click and read on to see how travel is the gift that doesn’t stop giving for many other families.