Tell me I don't have the experience, ask me how I know, roll your eyes at my naivety. Because you’re right- I’m not a parent,I have no idea what it’s like to make decisions for anyone else other than myself. But what I do know is that YOUR kids are emailing me, commenting on my blog, sending me messages, and via every other form of communication possible to ask how the hell they can convince their parents to let them travel.
So this is for them, and for you: 10 Reasons why you should let your kids travel. Now.
1. It doesn’t have to be a case of Travel OR Study/Work
It can be Travel THEN… (insert life decision here).. There is a misconception that to travel means to pack up your life and leave forever, but that doesn’t have to be the case. It can be for 4 weeks or 4 months, (it might even be for 4 years) but it can be before you study or after, before you start your career or while you are taking a career break. It doesn’t have to be the deciding factor on what you are doing with your life.
2. It improves your C.V
Employers are now favouring a year of travel over a summer job in your local town. FACT. And come on even you know that seeing the world sounds better than flipping burgers.
3. You can go and visit
Take your backpack; see what all the fuss is about. Leave your sensibility at the airport (and your husband) pick up your sense of adventure and show your kids you know how to have fun while creating lifelong memories along the way.
4. 'Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer’
Are your kids bad with money? Send them travelling; they will have no choice but to wise up and realise how much it REALLY costs to live without their parents.
5. It really isn’t as dangerous as you think
You’ll just have to trust me on that one. The media portrays countries unfairly and without first hand knowledge(I have been to Colombia alone, I never felt safer cough cough DAILY MAIL).
I know your children are the most important things in your life, but it is more dangerous to prevent them exploring and let them settle for a life of limitations than it is to let them leave with a lump in your throat and a newly made Skype account.
6. Travel doesn’t have to be
Binge drinking on the beach, getting dodgy tattoos and sleeping in hammocks. It can be working in a summer camp in the USA, working as an English teacher in China or volunteering in Argentina.
7. It helps them grow the hell up and truly appreciate how special life is
There aren’t many other times when you will hear of your child speechless by the beauty that they only thought existed in magazines, or with a tear in their eye coming to the realisation that poverty is not just what you see on comic relief.
8. Travel is one of the best forms of education
Different languages, cultures, foods, and people. New environments, climates and oceans. Histories, mysteries and secrets. All seen first hand. Not even a lifetime in school could teach you the power of those experiences.
9. Times have changed
Okay may not seem like a reason, but to them it is! Let’s not forget (or patronise)- times HAVE changed. We live in an age where it takes a matter of hours to reach new countries and where it can cost less than a weeks wage to get there. Yes we are lucky, but we don’t realise that (yet). Why would we not want to explore the world when it is right at our finger tips?
10. There friends are doing it. I am doing it
Here’s where I sound like a kid… EVERYONE is doing it. It may be a passing trend, something that will be old news tomorrow,maybe it will even go out of fashion? But right now, RIGHT NOW, there has never been a better time to do it. Flights are cheap, the internet works (no dial up now Grandad) tips and advice (thats where I come in) are plentiful and Lonely Planet have made a multi million pound industry in making sure your kids know how to stay safe and where to go. Jeeezz you can even check Facebook in the ocean…
I know (okay no I don’t I’m not a parent, but I imagine) It is hard to let your kids go into the ‘unknown’ but let me tell you a little secret that you probably already know: The world isn't even half as scary as you are told. It’s actually spine-tingingly, jaw droppingly, eye wateringly INCREDIBLE. And the biggest gift you can give your kids? To let them find that out themselves.
Oh and that half reason: they MAY hate it, come running back into your arms, tell you you were right, the world is a scary place, and never leave the comfort of home ever again.
Note the MAY part.
This one goes out to the most beautiful person I ever had the pleasure of knowing, my constant inspiration, the one who always reminds me how short life is and keeps me moving forward everyday despite her no longer physically being here. My incredible mother who passed away 3 and a half years ago leaving behind for my brothers and I the true gift of life.
I travel for many reasons but one of the main ones is to see what she never got the chance to see and to keep her adventurous spirit alive throughout my every foot step. My promise to her is to never take life for granted and to continue down the path of happiness and freedom while never forgetting the life she gave to me.
Oh and what did she say when I first mentioned I wanted to travel?: ‘Can I come?’