4 Reasons Why Parents Should Travel
By Akilah S. Richards
People tend to look at adventure travel from a pretty narrow scope. Backpacking through Europe, couch-surfing across the U.S., and hostel-dwelling in the Caribbean—that pretty much covers the major ones, right?
For the slightly less risky experiences, you’ve got resort vacations, wellness retreats, or Caribbean cruises—those are the big ones, right?
Noticed that most of those activities are either for carefree twenty-somethings, adventurous retirees, and fun-seeking couples.
But what about families with children? Is Disney the only adventure we’re left to consider? Is it probably too late to travel and explore if you’re a 30-something mom or dad? Absolutely not—I’m proof of that!
If you’re a travel-lover who didn’t get to check off the best stuff of your wanderlust bucket list, read on for four good reasons you should still totally go!
Reason 1: You’ve Got More Dough To Go
I don’t know about you, but when I was a 20-something college student, and even shortly after I graduated, money was scarce. Saving enough money to book a flight to anywhere outside the U.S. sounded like the stuff of dreams.
Today though, it’s far more feasible for me to research, plan, and save for your trip to Senegal to enjoy the beach, or to experience your first African Safari.
Reason 2: You’ve Got a Powerful Incentive
Kris and I have been unschooling with our daughters for the past three years. We’re full-time entrepreneurs and we consider ourselves digital nomads with a particular affinity for island living.
Having children inspired us to unmute ourselves and break free from the mundane aspects of rigid schedules, road rage, and some of the other caveats of suburban American life. We want our girls to experience the world, instead of just reading about it in books. Travel, whether for short trips or long stays, offers us that option, and we love it! Perhaps your family could use an infusion of world-traipsing! You’d be surprised how much quality traveling a family of four our five could do with enough lead time to plan it out.
Want to learn a little more about unschooling as a solution to your fears about taking your children out of school for travel experiences? Check out the informational videos about unschooling and travel on my YouTube Channel.
Reason 3: Education Becomes a Global Option
While we’re talking about long stay travel, did you know that many schools across the world allow short-term enrollment? You could go to Italy of Jamaica for a month, and your children can enroll in school. This is a great way to see the world while giving your children time to socialize, learn a new culture, and learn in a school environment, if that’s your preference.
What a different perspective your children will have on history, language, and culture with the benefits of a worldschooling opportunity!
Wondering what must-have tools you’d need to bring along to facilitate learning? The Art of Simple Travel have a great list! Be forewarned—it’s a minimalist’s list, so it’s designed with light n’ easy packing in mind.
Reason 4:Your Life is More Than the Sum of Your Roles
I saved this one for last because it’s the one thing I want you to remember, if nothing else. Your role as a parent may be your most important obligation, and your biggest blessing, but it isn’t your only one. You also have an obligation to make time for yourself and to nurture your You-ness.
Your You-ness, comprised of your most consistent desires and the unique perspectives that make you who you are, existed long before you became a parent. The child you once were, the situations you survived, the struggles you overcame, all of those things qualify you to live well and feel good. You deserve rich experiences that speak to your unique interests and desires, even (and perhaps especially) when you’re raising children.
Whats more, one of the best things you can do for your children is to continue nurturing your relationship with yourself.
The best resource for understanding what you need is your own voice. Try this simple self-expression exercise to start listening inward: Every time you’re in your bathroom, face your mirror and ask “how do you want to feel?”
Do it for at least three days. Don’t think how to answer, just ask the question every time you’re in your bathroom, and give yourself a minute or two to see if an answer emerges. It’s a simple practice in being present in your emotions, and in recognizing your own inner voice.
So, what do you think? Between better finances, immeasurable learning opportunities, and a brilliant opportunity to do something to feed your own desires, you’ve got plenty of reasons to stop regretting and start getting ready to explore the planet as a party of three, four, five, or however deep your family rolls.
Akilah S. Richards
Akilah S. Richards is an author, freelance writer, and the founder of the women's self-expression community, Radical Selfie. She produces live events, writes books, teaches classes, and does private coaching around self-expression for women and girls. In addition to Travel Noire, the unschooling, location independent, digital nomad's writings can be found at EverydayFeminism.com, MyBrownBaby.com, and TinyBuddha.com among others. Keep up with Akilah on Instagram: @radicalselfie