Overcoming the obstacles to traveling the world begin with shedding your past, dealing with the present, and then preparing for the future. Hopefully by now you see yourself traveling the world in this future. Leaving your day job, saving up enough money, and planning out a trip can be quite liberating and open up your mind to new possibilities as well as give you a lot of time to worry about may come – like children.
This new future you see yourself in will be unfamiliar and unpredictable. Whether or not you have young children, want them, or don’t – the fear that you may be jeopardizing your future can set in. Children often represent what’s to come but share a lot in common with the traveler psyche that can ultimately inspire your desire to travel on new levels.
There Is No Blueprint
There is no magic time to travel the world or deadline set in cosmic stone that you are racing against. The future is unpredictable regardless if you never travel the world or not. Thoughts of future children or “waiting” until your young kids grow up is a way to externalize your fear. All travelers are not 20-somethings backpacking on their own.
There are plenty of family travel blogs out that will prove this point – below are just a few. (Feel free to add to this list in the comments below.)
- Away Together
- Delicious Baby
- Double the Adventure
- Family On Bikes
- Family Travel Guide
- The Q Family Adventures
There are also plenty of helpful moms and dads out there to help answer your questions, like tips for a first time flight with an infant.
Children Are Natural Travelers
Almost everything is an adventure for a child. Their sense of wonder and curiosity motivate them to explore the world around them – much like adults who want to travel around the globe.
When we think of traveling with children we often see images of babies crying on airplanes and toddlers pouting. It’s true that children get bored easily during the actual act of traveling, but so do we; except that we can occupy ourselves with iPods, movies, books, alcohol, etc. to keep occupied. Put that image aside and realize that traveling the world doesn’t mean constant motion.
Having children with you doesn’t make traveling impossible, it just presents a few additional challenges at times. There is far more time for everything else.
Is It Them Or You?
We worry about children because we ascribe adult characteristics and our own fears on them (or our future visions of children to come). Adults often think children will have a hard time coping with change, learning new languages, and making friends without the benefit of staying in the same place for years.
In general children are much more adaptable than adults and have an easier time acquiring multiple languages (in fact one of the best ways to learn a new language is to think like a child). Also, making friends will be easier for both you and any kids than you think.
Children can add an entirely new perspective to anywhere in the world you visit. One of the most creative ways I’ve seen this demonstrated is when Jen from My Folie a Deux handed her camera to her daughter to show us how we see Marrakesh. Traveling with children can open your eyes to many things you may not have noticed before or add an extra dimension to your travels somewhere along the way.
Keep It Real
Worrying about intangible things, like the kids you will have, or saying you can’t do something because of the kids you do have can rehash all of the fears you have already over come – like leaving your routines, money, and uncertainty. Don’t turn a dream into a nightmare. Break down your life (if you have kids already) or the anxieties you have about the future so you can tackle them like any other issue you have faced.
Ask yourself, what do you want to tell your children you accomplished and regretted in life and what are the reasons you want to travel the world?
If the answers to those questions are good enough for you, why not your children?
Since I don’t have children myself I’ll let all of the traveling parents speak for themselves and invite you to share your experiences.
You’re now getting close – there are two final obstacles to overcome. Next week you’ll be dealing with the present, putting some things in the past, and jumping into the future.