I get asked this all the time!
Why do you travel so much?
Where are you going this time?
You’re going to Disney AGAIN?
I thought you just got back from vacation?
And it goes on and on and on.
I love to travel!
I love to travel and always have, as far back as I can remember. I traveled as a little kid with my family and then I traveled more and more as I got older!
I was able to go to Mexico at the age of sixteen because of my involvement with Girl Scouts. I traveled to Greece when I was an undergraduate student and was able to earn college credit while doing it! As an adult, I’ve had the opportunity to see London, hike in the Swiss Alps, and stay at all-inclusive resorts in Mexico.
I’ve not been without a passport since I was sixteen, except when I had to send it off to be renewed!
Now, traveling is my coping skill. I enjoy planning, finding deals, sharing my knowledge with others, and actually getting to go on the trip or visit the location. Vacation is what I look forward to. I love spending time away from the day-to-day tasks of life and spending quality time with my family.
I definitely like finding good deals when I travel so I can travel more!
Undercover Tourist is one of the best ways I’ve found to get theme park tickets at a less expensive rate! (And it’s the only place I will buy Disney tickets besides Disney!)
Plus traveling is just as good for my family as it is for me, if not more!
I happily share my love for travel
First, with my children and, now, with my grandchildren!
I enjoy seeing and doing new things and I believe that travel, any travel, can teach so much! I love being able to try new foods, learn new things, and see how other people live. I also love being able to give my children the broadest perceptive on life that I can provide!
When my children were young we traveled to cities two and three hours away to visit museums and zoos and expose them to as much variety and culture as possible for young children! I wanted them to learn and develop a fondness for learning.
Here is one my of favorite zoo signs EVER! (And something I would have never had a chance to see if we didn’t enjoy traveling.)
My children have always loved to travel. It’s all they ever really knew.
They are amazed today to find out that some of their friends (now high school age and older) have never traveled out of the state of Indiana and some have never even seen a zoo or museum or professional sports game!
The sign below shows how I truly feel about travel! Hearing something 100 times is not as good as seeing it once!
Our Growing Family
As my children got older and I met my husband and his children (I had three and he had four), we began traveling as a big blended family!
My children had been traveling since they were born. My husband’s children had no had the same opportunties, so traveling was a new treat for them.
We went to Disney World for the first time in 2009 and six of the seven kids went with us. The oldest one thought he was too cool for Disney World (he was WRONG by the way)!
We had the big twelve-passenger “church bus” that we took wherever we traveled because there was NO WAY we were flying with that many plane tickets to buy!! I have continually been asked how we traveled with so many kids. We were able to do it because it was what we valued and because I’m good with discounts and other travel tricks and tips!
We also had to make sure the children were independent enough to carry their own belongings and pack all their own necessities. (Yes, we taught them and helped them learn those independence skills.) I had to manage the trip and everyone’s needs, they had to manage themselves and their own snacks, drinks, and ponchos from their backpacks as needed! They learned to pack no more than they could carry in one trip from the vehicle and this has stuck with them through the years …..well some of them!
Disney World was just the beginning of our travel adventures!
Since our first trip to Disney World in 2009, we have traveled throughout the United States and outside of the United States. Sometimes we all travel together (me, my husband, and the kids). Other times just some of us travel (me and a kid or two, just me and my husband, etc…). We have not been to every State yet, but that is something I plan to do in my lifetime! However, we have had a good start at hitting all the states so far!
I took the second youngest son with me when I went to visit my best friend after she had baby #2. He had never been out west, ridden in an airplane, or had never seen mountains like this! He got to see and experience things he could never do in Indiana!
When he was in high school he had the opportunity to travel to New Mexico with his Boy Scout Crew to hike the Philmont Scout Ranch for over a week! They backpacked for the entire week in New Mexico, with the opportunity to ride a train across the country and back. That was a life-changing and amazing learning experience that he was able to have! I am so very thankful he got to go (and I did not have to go with him because camping is NOT my thing)!
We have also gone on cruises and seen other countries as a family and with extended family. My children have had the experience of swimming with dolphins and playing on beaches in the Carribean, Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico, They have had dinner on a cruise ship with people from other countries (who…by the way…taught them how to make noise from crystal glasses…something they still do today and talk about the time they learned how to do it.)
My youngest son made friends on the cruise ship in the teen activity rooms from other states and has kept in contact with them since that time. That is something he would never have had the opportunity without traveling.
My kids have learned how to pack well. They know what they need and to make sure they have the necessities (ex. Advil, band-aids, backpack to hold their stuff). They also know what they can do without (because we can always wash socks and undies if needed)!
They have learned the importance of checking to make sure all the necessities are packed and LISTENING TO MOM when she says DON’T FORGET ________, because they have had to live without whatever they forgot. Unfortunately, they have all had times when they didn’t listen to mom and had to do without (such as my Philmont kid above who did not believe he needed a back-up pair of shoes…..and then it rained all week)!
They have learned independence. They can take care of themselves. They know how to pack. They know how to give directions and read maps. Of course, they had to learn to read maps because someone had to learn since this mama is not good at directions! They can navigate airports and find their hotel rooms when we travel. (Hotel rooms can be hard at times when you have one color blind kid….we learned we can’t tell him to go to the red building on the left…he can’t see red the same as we can!)
They have had so many opportunities
Two of our children have even had the opportunity to go to Washington DC for their 8th-grade class trips.
I was able to take my daughter and her Girl Scout Troop to London and Switzerland when they were in high school. That was life-changing to travel to see other countries for a week at a time and see how similar and how different their lives are to ours. The girls got to learn to use “the tube” and eat at restaurants with food we had never even heard of in Indiana.
I was able to take my younger daughter to the Mall of America for her Senior Year Spring Break. This was her second trip–her first was with our Girl Scout troop when she was going into the 7th grade.
I was able to travel with my two youngest sons to Niagara Falls, Canada and Niagara Falls, USA. Plus, this was a great excuse for them to get to use their passports for the first time! We drove about 12 hours each direction to stay for a long weekend, but it was well worth it!
Both of the boys were amazed at the Falls. What was even more amazing is that they got to compare the U.S. side of the Falls to the Canadian side of the Falls. There is nothing that could have described the difference in words. Seeing it for themselves was what it took. They even noticed small differences, such as that Minute Maid Lemonade in Canada is made of water, sugar, and lemons. Minute Maid Lemonade in the U.S. has high fructose syrup and several other things added to it.
We have even had multiple opportunities to take short day-trips with the kids to local cities. We drove to Nashville, Tennessee (about three hours away) for the day to shop for school clothes and eat supper!
The Next Season in our Life
My husband and I have now begun to travel with our adult children and our grandchildren, as well as with the children still living at home.
We have taken short trips to the amusement park near our home (Holiday World) and to bigger cities a few hours away with our grandchildren.
We have also gone a bit further with them, such as one trip to Disney World
and one cruise…so far!
I’m looking forward to sharing the same experiences with my grandchildren that I have shared with my children. I want them to be able to be exposed to different cultures and activities to open their minds to all that is possible. Sadly, I have to accept that we will not be able to do this with all of our grandchildren with the same regularity, but I plan to do the best I can to introduce them to as many new, exciting, and educational things as possible!
Traveling is a life choice. We all only have so much extra money to spend on the extras in life and I believe that traveling with my family is the best way to spend our time and money.
We make life-long memories and have stories to share as they grow older. My children still talk about “where’s your backpack, Kevin” from our first trip to Disney in 2009 and they ALWAYS WILL. They remember the odd free “space museum” I found for us and the fun of looking for fast food restaurants we don’t have at home to eat at while traveling. Those simple memories are the best ones!
As I have gotten older, I am a believer that giving gifts of activities, adventures, and travel are the best presents I can give!
This started with my hard-to-buy-for-child who never really wanted to play with toys besides Nerf guns! I struggled with what to get him, so I decided I would take him and his cousin to a professional baseball game for his birthday. They had an amazing time and it was the start of many trips and active presents to come for him and the other children.
I’ve taken one child to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra
And bought a season pass to our locate theme park for another one
I love the idea of presents creating memories!
Why do I travel? Why do I expose my kids to everything that I possibly can and use every teachable moment possible?
I travel with them and teach them as much as I can because this:
More quickly than I could have ever imagined!
I am thankful for every memory I have with my children. From the crazy silly ones to the ones that seemed to be nothing at the time, such as always making sandwiches in our 12 passenger van and eating lunch in the van while driving. Something that simple has made an amazing memory for all of us!
Here are some take-aways:
- Travel is educational, no matter where you go or what you do
- It allows children and adults to become open to new ideas
- It helps to make well-rounded adults
- Travel teaches practical skills, such as packing, organization, and planning
- And, most importantly, it builds wonderful memories and family bonds!
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