Lately I have been purposefully trying to introduce new things into my family’s structure to help stir up a little bit of curiosity for international travel. International travel is something that I have thought about and wanted to do for only a short time, however my drive to experience the world firsthand is quickly growing. Throughout my childhood and young adulthood I have been conditioned to think small. I have been told that the world is dangerous and that I only need to worry about what is going on in my town or my city.
I don’t believe that anymore. After growing up, meeting people from other countries, talking with them about their cultures, and coming into my own, I have decided that I need to experience more of the world than just what I am comfortable with. I need to see the world with my own eyes, taste it with my lips, hear the sounds and feel it with my own hands.
Even though the thought of jumping on a plane and heading around the world with two small kids sometimes scares the crap out of me and I know that I have
some a ton of work to do to prepare before I will be ready to head out on that grand of an adventure, I want to start conditioning my family and learning as much about world travel as I can now. And, if international travel doesn’t happen for me in my lifetime (which I totally hope that it does) I want to instill the yearning and drive for adventure that I have found into my kids now, before they develop their fears, responsibilities and setbacks. I want my kids to understand that there is a HUGE world out there and right now they are only seeing a small dot of it. I want my kids to crave adventure, open themselves up to different cultures, meet new people to see that we are all the same on the inside and beyond all else I want them to see the world as it truly is; majestic.
This summer I had plans to take a trip to see one of my good friends in Australia. However it doesn’t look like that trip is yet in the books for us. We still have some money saving and travel prepping to do. So instead I have come up with a few ways in which I am going to start bringing the worlds culture right here to my kids at home. Yes, I understand that it in no way compares to the real thing, but this way when we do finally set out on our grand adventure they will be ready and knowledgeable about where we are going.
Here are a few of the things that we are doing this summer to bring world travel home:
Create authentic (close to) foods and taste new flavors.
Just the other day the kids and I were in the grocery store and as we walked down the taco shell aisle I began to look around at all of the items that were on the shelves. Many of these items I had never tried and quite frankly never even noticed before. That should change, I thought. So a grabbed a bunch of the items and decided to take them home and try them with my kids. First we tasted some pop that tasted terrible, but we gave it a try! I also took some of the spices and created something for dinner that I definitely could not call authentic, but it did open up a dialect at the table about where these tastes came from, so I am counting that as a win and planning to do it again.
Focus on one county each month.
When I decided to do this project with my kids, I thought that it would be easiest if we chose one country each month and came up with things to do which related to that culture during that month. I knew a little bit about several of the countries we wanted to “visit” but I didn’t know where to start and I definitely didn’t know specifics. Then I came across Little Passports. Little Passports is seriously one of the coolest things I’ve found so far to help inspire a world of travel in my kids hearts.
Little Passports is a monthly subscription service that will send your kids a suitcase, map, stickers, pictures and passport in the first box and then information, games, online interactions and more about a new country every month! It’s fabulous!! So each month when our box arrives we all find out together which country we are going to be “visiting” and then we work on learning what that country is all about, what types of foods they eat and what the people who live there are like. Then my goal is to go out into our own community and online to see what we can do that would correlate to that culture. Little Passports makes it so easy to world travel right in our own backyard!
Click here to learn about a 12-month subscription to Little Passports and start traveling with your kids this summer.
Watch educational documentaries on Hulu.
One of the things we did when we canceled our cable was get Hulu. I don’t like the kids to watch t.v. much, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that Hulu carries several documentaries on different countries and cultures. If they are going to watch a show before bedtime, at least it is going to be something educational.
We have already been able to find several shows that correlate directly with the countries that we have been discovering. Be sure to check out a series called “Travel with Kids”. It’s great and shows the kids that they too can travel the world without fear and see so many wonderful places.
Follow great travel bloggers.
This is something else that I have began to do on a regular basis. Seeing other people traveling not only helps my children and myself see other countries through their eyes, but is also helping to inspire our own adventures. Reading their stories is always a great reminder to live out our own dreams, especially when we see someone else already doing it.
Great travel bloggers you should check out:
Travel with Bender
Visit your library.
This is another great way to learn about different countries. My kids love exploring the library in search of books from or about our monthly adventure location. This is a great way to see pictures and find facts. My daughter LOVES to read facts.
Create a travel journal.
While we are exploring new countries and learning new facts this summer, I thought that it would be fun for each kid to have their own travel journal. In their journal they can write down the cool facts that they found, draw pictures, talk about our real life adventures or whatever else they feel would fit.
To do this I simply purchased two small blank sketchbooks and let the kids decorate the covers. Just make sure they are small enough to fit inside your Little Passports suitcase and you will be able to keep everything safely together. Things in our house have a tendency to get lost, quick.
Be sure to follow along all summer long as I will be posting about our monthly at home adventures, meals and real life travel.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would YOU go?
Jane picked Russia
Dick picked China
I picked Spain.