“You are lucky you travelled when you had the chance…….you know……before you had kids.”
In my past life as a respectable employed member of society I worked as a buyer for an international grocery store chain. Being a buyer meant having to meet with many over eager sales people hoping to make that major sale. When someone new had an appointment the meeting would start with introductions and the dreaded ‘small talk’. As a socially inept person I have never been very good at ‘small talk’, unless I could control the topic. To avoid awkward silences after cleverly crafted introductions by the sales person I discovered that with a few props in my office I could steer the topics towards my favoured subjects. In one corner of my desk I displayed some trinkets from my favourite hockey team and the walls of the office proudly displayed some of our travel photographs with the words ‘Pedersen Arts’ underneath, a made up name that would provide the necessary clue that these photographs had some link to me. This worked all the time and I was able to bore many sales people with my travel stories, which would often eat up most of their allotted time. They were always a great audience because no matter how bad my story telling was sales people would have to act as if it was the most interesting story ever told. The travel talk would usually revolve around our 14-month honeymoon, when the photos were taken, and while I could impress most by the length of the trip, I would almost always get a comment that made me cringe – “You are lucky you travelled when you had the chance…….you know……before you had kids.”
I guess looking back, this is an understandable comment as that is the normal flow of things; you have fun in your youth and then ‘settle down’ into family life. During these sales meetings, if I felt a bit feisty or I really did not want to talk about their product, I would challenge this notion, which would really catch the sales people off guard (this is not how small talk is supposed to go). Why can’t we travel with kids? Why can’t we even do trips extended with kids? Most of the people that had to endure my challenge of convention probably thought that I was just in denial and when I got to be a more experienced parent I would realize that responsible parents stay at home. Oh no sales people, I will not stay at home, and neither will my family!
We are determined to travel with our family and we really would like to do at least one extended overseas experience with our kids. I could go on and on with why we would travel with kids, and I definitely will at some point as there are so many benefits, but an often ignored question in regards to family travel is ‘How?’ ‘How do we plan a trip that is affordable with kids?’ ‘How can you design a trip with kids that are not too stressful?’ ‘How do we make a trip that is fun for everyone?’ Regarding extended travel other questions may be, ‘How can we take time away from a career?’ ‘How can we finance such a trip?’ How are we going to handle the kids schooling?’
There are an endless number of ‘How’ questions that can be asked and at FamilyNavigation.com we will discuss many of these questions to try and get some answers. One of our regular features will be ‘Travel Dreams’ and in this section we will look at some trip itineraries and we will break down the associated costs. There are so many benefits to family travel, there has to be ways to make it as enjoyable, if not more so, than when we traveled before we had kids, and be able to fit these eye opening experiences into a reasonable budget. I think there are and no sales person can convince me otherwise.