My son, sister, two nephews and I recently returned from a road trip to the Bordeaux region of France. On the way there, my sister suggested that we should break up the 9-hour drive back by stopping for the night somewhere. Her suggestion for that stop? Disneyland Paris, a.k.a. Euro Disney.
When I balked at the idea, she said, “I just thought it would be nice for Chet. I mean, after all this traveling, wouldn’t it be nice to do something for him?”
I wholeheartedly protest that notion.
I suppose there are plenty of reasons for us to stay home. As you’ve no doubt read in many of my posts and reviews, my son is a puker. Possessor of a hair-trigger gag reflex, the kid hurls from laughing too loud, crying too hard, eating too much or just sensing that my outfit lacks the proper amount of color.
When on the road, he tends to stick to two food groups – french fry and apple juice. And a born critic, he’s been known to let the world know how he feels about certain museums with ear-splitting shrieks or echoing monkey sounds.
We certainly don’t have to travel. And there are times (usually when I’m trying to figure out how to carry both the stroller and the car seat myself) when I think it may be more trouble than its worth. But – and perhaps it sounds self-serving – I know he enjoys our trips. The look of excitement on his face as the airplane takes off. His enthusiastic “Oh, wow, Mama! Horses!” when checking out the ceiling of a Louvre gallery. The way he manages to find children to play with, despite where we are and what language they may speak. His careful assessment of all that passes in front of his eyes. And most importantly, the fact that my son, at three years old, has indubitably become at home anywhere in the world.
As adults, we talk a lot about why travel is worthwhile. How we can see strange and unique sites, relive history, reassess our assumptions of the world and remind ourselves that, deep down, people are more the same than not. For some reason, many fail to see why those same lessons may be worthwhile for our children. I happen to think they may be even more important for the toddler set. As Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.” And as parents, what better lessons could we help impart to our kids?
So how about you? Why do you travel with your young’uns? What have both you and they learned in the process?