Can I have 3 minutes of your life?
3 minutes – that’s it.
I’m going to convince you to travel with your kids. That it’s worth it. That it’s special. That you can do this. I’m going to try anyways.
It’s not going to be the trip you had before you had kids. It’s going to demand a lot of you. You’ve got to be ON all the time. You’ve got to plan. You’ve got to Go when you want to Stop and Stop when you want to Go. You’ve got to have stores of patience to rival a monk.
But there’s the payoff. It’s great. Like parenthood itself, it’s something you can’t quite explain until you’re in it. You can’t get there by some other route. There’s something unique about traveling with kids. You can’t sleepwalk through it. Or fake it. You can’t sum it up in a postcard.
I loved traveling when I was single. I loved traveling with my wife just after we were married. But I love it more now that I have kids. It takes it to another level. A different level. It’s almost a whole different experience. You can drink a glass of water. You can dive into the ocean. They both involve water but are almost totally different.
There’s something else added that changes it. Alters it. You see another side of local life. You’re accepted in. You share something with the locals that other travelers don’t. Even the most jaded and shady taxi driver or tout will let his guard down when he sees your kids. He’ll talk about his own children and where he lives and how last year his whole family took the train up North, into the mountains, to a little village where his mom still lives.
Believe me. I’ve done it both ways. There’s nothing those young backpackers can do to experience what you’re experiencing. What your kids are experiencing.
Don’t believe the hype. You can do this. I know you can.
Don’t be one of those people that gets to the end of their life and wishes they had done this or done that or hiked this trail or spent a month on that island just down by the tip of Italy. Don’t get to the end of your life and wished you’d done something special and unique with your kids when you could have.
You’ve got a window … and it’s closing … from the moment they’re born it’s closing.
You’ve got a choice. There’s a lot in life you want to do. You dream about. But this isn’t like reading Shakespeare or learning Greek or taking a pottery course. Those things you can do when you’re 22 or 82 and it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference.
But traveling with your kids is something you have to do now. You have to start now. Start planning. Start thinking. Start thumbing through guide books, running your fingers over maps, staring at pictures of beaches and mountains and rope bridges and great teeming Asian markets and see yourself, with your kids, slowly weaving your way through the magic.
This can be the start right here! The day you read this piece.
And 2 years from now or 20. One night while you’re sitting around the dinner table, someone will ask where was that photo of your daughter taken? And you’ll begin a tale about your kids buying a strange piece of fruit at the market. And they didn’t know how to open it. So they handed it back to the fruit seller. This lady who didn’t speak a word of english, who sat on this mat with fruit from God knows what tree ringed round her like gold around a king — and she took the fruit with her hand and banged it once. And then twice. And poof it split open. And she held it all in both hands and offered it back to us like she was paying a debt her grandfather had owed. Only she had this smile, I don’t know, this smile like — you gotta taste this. And my daughter slowly slides her hands out to grab it and the look on her face! Well, that’s when I took that picture. And those are the lady’s hands right there, you can just make them out.
“And what made you decide to go?”, they’ll ask.
Well, uhmm, this sounds sort of corny, but one day I was bouncing between different websites and I stumbled upon this one travel blog about this guy who traveled with his kids and he was saying how magical it was and how special and you’ve just got one chance and you’ve got to take it now or it’s going to slip away and it won’t come back. It’s not coming out on DVD. There are no night classes for the missed credits. And, I don’t know, I just said to myself we’re doing it. We’re going on a trip.
All You Need to Know is That it’s Possible!
“One of the under-reported stories of the internet is this: it constantly reports on what’s possible. Somewhere in the world, someone is doing something that you decided couldn’t be done.”
– Seth Godin
You can do this!