A lot of people ask me why I traveled so much with Maya when she was so young. She’ll never remember the trip and to them it seems like a waste. So why did I take my kid so many places she won’t remember?
Well, really, the reason was that we just enjoyed traveling as a family. Even if she doesn’t remember it *I’ll* remember going there with her. I will always remember her taking her first steps in a small Quaker meeting house in England and then practicing walking in Prague. I will always remember how over the moon excited she was to take a buggy ride in Lancaster, PA. I will remember buying her sleeves of corn to feed to the pigeons in Buenos Aires, Argentina. And I, of course, will remember her catching tiny crawfish in the river in rural Missouri. We documented these trips well and look back at the pictures often. Sometimes, Maya has a glimmer of a memory but most of the time she’s just interested in finding out more. But, see, that’s the worth for me. The fact that she’s interested in these other places. She knows she’s been there and she often asks me what we did, who we met, and if she did anything funny. Even though she can’t remember it, it’s still an adventure for her.
I know she’ll end up living vicariously through her younger self, but, in the end, I think that’s good. It makes her curious. It makes her realize that we didn’t let anything stop us from going to see different places. Now at almost 9 she doesn’t think twice about suggesting places to go. If she sees something she think would be cool to do she asks me about it. If it’s someplace we can’t go to any time soon, I do what I can to help her learn about it. We rent movies and go to museums. We look online. We print out pictures. That curiosity and interest are far more important to me than vague memories of a trip. You know why? Because that curiosity is a trait in her. It makes her who she is. It makes her personality what it is. She’s grown up with it and even though she can’t remember all of our trips, she has a hunger for knowledge because she knows it exists and that you can visit it.
As always, I know our level of traveling isn’t possible for most people. But the idea is the same no matter what. The point is to get out there with your kids. Take them places beyond what you know and recognize. The object is to experience something new and different as a family. It doesn’t matter if you have to get there by plane, train, or automobile. And, in the end does it really matter that your kids won’t remember it? If it’s someplace close, you can go back. If it’s not close perhaps you and your child can go back again someday when they are older. Let’s be honest, most kids, even if they remember a trip, might not appreciate it’s worth until they’ve left home and started their own family. Therefore, why stop yourself from having memories because you are afraid your child won’t remember it? The earlier you start traveling, the earlier they get a taste for adventure. The sooner they will want to experience their world and not just watch it on TV. Traveling is a gateway to so many things. Memories is just one of them.