As I lay here in the early morning, five days into fatherhood, my priorities have certainly shifted a bit and my time is being distributed differently, but my passion for travel has never burned hotter. I can’t help but think about sharing this with the infant laying on my chest. I don’t mean right now. For heavens sake, she could wake up. But I mean every year moving forward, so that she gets to benefit from our love for new cultures, food, language and experiences. I am thinking of all of the wonderful places the three of us will visit together. My mind is all over the place. The rolling hills of Italy, the beaches of southern Australia, the unique culture of central and Eastern Europe, the spicy heat of Southeast Asia, Disney...Wait what? How did Mickey Mouse make the list? Well who hasn't thought about taking their children there and re-living fond childhood memories, or maybe even going for the first time themselves? It's only natural that we put "the place where dreams come true" on our travel list, especially with children. Heck, I can't wait to bring our daughter to see Cinderella's castle and watch those big eyes absorb everything around her. Its just that I want her to have other experiences as well. I want her to eat sweet crepes from Parisian street vendors and then ask us why she has to see boring paintings in the Louvre. I want her to meet the elephants in Thailand and learn that they are mistreated and need our protection. I want her to play hide and seek in a vineyard in Tuscany, after a picnic of local bread, cheese and prosciutto (and obviously wine for the adults). The thing is, I want other families to have these experiences as well. Disney is magical, but there is so much of this world to see, and there is tremendous value in experiencing it. And as for adventuring abroad with children, we are going to take our bumps and bruises, but it will be worth it. Children shouldn't handcuff our travel, but enrich it, as we watch them learn. Food for thought, would it make us happier to watch our child smile ear-to-ear at seeing Micky for the first time, or beam with pride after conversing in broken Italian with a Tuscan youth?
I think my thoughts above will begin a series of future posts as we continue to navigate the scary labyrinth known as "travelling with children". How can we include, but also expand our adventures beyond Orlando and teach our children, while making it enjoyable for us as well. Lets address the comparative costs of travelling abroad, while getting outside of our comfort zone. Even with our babies in tow.