Well, I’m doing it. I’ve taken the plunge into the world of travel blogging. I have very recently decided that I will start sharing my traveling experiences while my son and I were in Cambodia. We often get a lot of questions when we meet people on our excursions, especially because it is often just the 2 of us. “Why do you do it?”, “don’t you get tired?”, “how can you afford it?”, “don’t you work?”, and of course “how do you do it?”. I figured for my first blog post I would answer the most loaded question which is why I chose to travel the world with my son.
I have been traveling long before I had a “mini me” sidekick. I first started traveling while I was in college, thanks to a Global Studies/Social Science program that allowed me to travel and study at the same time, using grants and scholarships. Pretty much the best degree program ever, right? While I was in college I was able to go abroad for nearly every school break; Russia, Italy, Greece, India, New Zealand, and so many more… During these trips I had the time of my life, but I also learned more about these cultures, people, religions, languages, and customs than I ever would have been able to in a classroom. I will forever be grateful for the opportunities I had while I was in college. After I graduated I had a dead-end job and was stuck in a rut. So, naturally, I decided to move to China. I mean, most people find a new job, buy a motorcycle, volunteer, etc… but I’ve never been one for normalcy.
I had traveled there before and absolutely loved it. So, off I went, by myself, for what was to be a year, to a part of China where I didn’t know anyone. I got a job teaching English and fell in love with the country all over again. I couldn’t get enough of it; the haggling, the karaoke bars, the landscapes, the students, the hospitality, everything. While I was there I met my husband-to-be and of course ended up staying a lot longer than a year. FYI, I’m still here 8 years later. So we got married, and a few years later we had a son named Ashton. He is my everything, the light of my life, my little snickerdoodle. I had never pictured myself as a mother. I had always assumed that life as you had known it would never be the same, and I was terrified of losing my current life. I found out that it was true. Life is not the same… it’s so much better. Corny, I know, but it’s true. So many people had told me that it’s too hard to travel with kids or you won’t be able to travel around the world once the baby is born. Well to them I say, “pshhhhhhh.”
Sure, lugging around pull-ups, sippy cups, various forms of entertainment, and constant supplies of snacks and juice is not easy. It’s not easier by any means, but it’s worth it. If anything having a child brings a whole deeper meaning to traveling. The twinkle in their eyes when they see the ocean. The big grin on their face when they’re exploring ancient ruins. It’s just priceless. Not to mention, as he gets older he can begin to understand so much more about history, language, world religions, and culture than he ever could in a school. But it’s also more than that. The big answer to why I travel with my little one is simple. I want to give him an entire lifetime of wonderful, educational memories. The same kinds of memories that started my love affair with travel. I was able to learn so much about so many people and places, and I want to give him that.
I want him to learn the grand, the good, the bad, and the ugly about this world. I want to open his eyes to the wonders and the struggles that humanity faces on a daily basis. I want him to learn from an early age that people need to help other people. You need to be the change that you want to see in this world. I want him to learn that it does not matter where you are from or what you look like; everyone is equal. I think the best way for him to learn this is if he sees people that are different from him, in character, in appearance, in beliefs, in lifestyle. I want him to see people around the world. I want him to see the similarities that makes us all human and I want him to celebrate our differences of culture. And that, my friends, is why I travel with Ashton. I want to give him the gift of tolerance, generosity, kindness, and humanity.