I’m sure this title confuses people. You mean you don’t expect to find an article on avoiding travel with kids on a site that deals primarily with family travel? Well, I’ve seen the light.
I had an epiphany today while dragging my 11-year-old through temple ruins in the former capital of Siam. It was hot and miserably so. Even in the shade, we still sweat profusely. Sometimes it takes radical challenges to help us be more aware.
Since we’ve been traveling full time for 2 years, my son has this crazy notion that we can truly do anything if we want it bad enough. This isn’t healthy.
What the world really needs is people who will firmly conform to society’s expectations. Innovation is the last thing we need. No new experiences = no change in the current way of thinking.
Change is bad, scary, and dangerous.
Along with this, he thinks that making a living doing YouTube videos and surfing instruction is completely doable. He is growing up with an entrepreneurial spirit, and we all know how damaging that can be!
A lack of fear
Speaking of bad, scary, and dangerous! The world is a horrible place! The news is filled EVERY DAY with stories of psychos, murders, kidnappings, and nasty pervs.
Because of our travels, Tigger has this crazy notion that “nothing will happen” if you travel with kids. “Well, good things will happen.”
I have failed as a parent.
Whether it be the horribly rude people in France or the American-hating Muslims of Morocco, somehow he has missed the most important rule of travel: Trust no one. Speak to no one. The world is a horrible, awful place.
And child ‘o mine, please understand that all those seemingly kind people offering you food, something to drink, toys, or who are hugging you and laughing with you are really out to get you. The sooner you learn this, the happier you’ll be.
How will he possibly manage as an adult without the proper instillation of fear?
No true sense of home
I’m sure there are third-culture kids out there who will back me up here. Having a sense of home is the most important thing there is. Okay, one of the most important things.
He has forgotten that home isn’t just a building or a structure. He has this crazy notion that home is wherever we are together, be that in a beachfront bungalow on Koh Samui or on an oasis in rural Morocco.
How will this possibly benefit him?
Rather than just learning about physics and marine ecology from a book, he learned it as a scuba diver. Instead of learning about the Mayans from lectures, he has stood in front of the temple at Chichen Itza and others. He learned about Communism by going to Cuba. He values sharks because he has dove with them.
Learning about ancient civilizations, math, science, etc., by actually participating in activities that expose our kids to real-life experiences is a useless way of teaching them!
Increased independence and self reliance
This might be the worst thing I’ve done to him. Because of our lifestyle, he has gained increased independence, problem-solving skills, can look at things from different angles, and has learned to communicate with pretty much anyone regardless of the language barrier. He is not shy about making his needs known.
“These people don’t have a lot of things, but they’re so happy!” Oh, my son, what have I done to you! Silly boy, things make you happy. Not experiences. Not time with your family. You only have 4 shirts, and there are 7 days in the week. Um, you are woefully under prepared.
And he’s learning about money, budgeting, and making better financial choices. How will he keep up with everyone else if he isn’t thousands of dollars in debt?
A skewed view of society
Tigger is growing up with the belief that when it comes down to it we’re all pretty much the same. “People are pretty much nice everywhere we go.” Yes, he also thinks most people are kind and friendly. In addition, he has this completely weird view of equality and acceptance. He is not only learning to not just “tolerate” people but to accept their differences and value them for who they are and how they treat others instead of making that determination based upon their race, gender, age, religion, etc.
I think we all know just what an incredible waste of time that is!
That’s it! I’m buying our tickets and heading back to the States so he can have a normal life before this gets much worse!
Have I managed to convince you not to travel with kids?