As a young mother of three, I plan several vacations a year, some with my children, and most without. I do this for several reasons. My experiences with traveling to different countries have enriched me in ways that a text book or a lecture simply could not. I learned that during my first time out of the country as an adult. I studied abroad during my undergrad for a semester in Madrid, Spain for the summer. By then, I already had two children. It was a tough decision to make, and I was made to feel really selfish. I was told that as a mother, I shouldn’t be leaving my children for that long; I shouldn’t be away from them for that long. I struggled with the decision to go for quite some time. However, looking back, it was one of the best decisions I could have made. I was introduced to a much different culture and was really able to immerse myself and gain a new appreciation for life.
Ever since that summer, I have vowed to leave the country at least once a year in order to enhance my understanding of the world and to expand on my worldview as a young woman, mother, partner, and professional. Now that I’ve learned to appreciate other cultures, I have felt that it is very important to share this experience with my children. My solution to this yearning that I have for traveling, and my wanting to share this knowledge and experience with my children is simple: travel abroad at least once a year with my kids, and at least once a year without them.
I do this despite what others think. When I started my adult travels about 7 years ago, I did get a lot of people questioning my parenting and my decisions to travel. As I have matured in many different ways, I have learned to not care what others have to say about my parenting decisions. Now that I have incorporated my children in this learning experience through travel, I get a different type of response. I get a lot of slack from people when I tell them about my travel plans like the sarcastic “Oh, it must be nice!” Dare I say its jealousy? I don’t know how else to explain it. The way I look at it is simple. It’s my money and I can do as I please with it. Some people like to buy material things; some people like to invest, etc. I like to use my money to buy experience, to purchase life lessons, to invest in my children’s open-mindedness.