Why travel when kids don’t remember?
Here’s my confession, and it’s probably no secret: I travel for me, because I love traveling. If Jacob and I hated traveling and it made our lives miserable, it seems unlikely that we would choose this lifestyle, benefits for the baby or no benefits. The thing is, I was living abroad and loving it long before Ryder was even a thought in my mind.
So as my husband reminded me throughout my rather anxious pregnancy, kids are there to come along for the ride. When they are 18 they can leave and live the life they want, but until that point they’re a nice addition to the family—NOT the stars of the show.
With that in mind, it wouldn’t matter whether or not Ry DID remember, because this is what we want to do with our lives and because he was born into a nomadic family, he is a world citizen by birth.
From what I can tell so far, travel has been wonderful for our baby.
And though he will have no memories of the South Pacific (he has been to New Zealand, Tahiti, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and Australia in addition to the US and Mexico so far) I am confident that he has gained A LOT from travel already.
Well, it comes down to why travel in the first place. If it were simply to memorize facts and see famous buildings, then yes, a child would have no benefit from travel because that intelligence would be lost.
But this isn’t, ultimately, why people travel.
People travel because it changes who they are and the way they see the world.
Jacob and I are happy. We are loving our lifestyle. We are living a low-stress, adventure-filled, and never-boring life. Because of this, we are able to truly enjoy parenting on a day-to-day basis. I believe that this rubs off on our baby.
Ryder has been held by people who speak anything from French, Vietnamese, Spanish, and Chinese, to Tahitian. He is happy with all sorts of people. He is comfortable being held by strangers. He is fearless. He has tasted many different cuisines already. He has experienced many different climates. He has rode in many types of vehicles. He has splashed in the ocean, hiked mountains, and crawled on sidewalks in the largest cities in the world. In the first years of his life, during which the most rapid brain growth occurs, Ryder will have been exposed to many different experiences, altering neural pathways and remapping his brain. I think that’s a fantastic start for cognitive development.
A child’s early life is shaped by so many factors that, day by day, eventually turns them into the person they will grow up to be.
Visiting new countries constantly throughout his young life will expose Ryder to different foods, religions, and ways of life. He will learn how to get around anywhere in the world. He will learn how to bargain, how to say simple phrases in many different languages. He will be exposed to poverty and the great wealth gap that exists in the world. I believe this will shape him, make him compassionate, and bring depth to his young life even if he will not know the name of the language he is picking up or the history of the people he meets, or if he will not remember each little friend he plays with along the way.
However, you never know when some travel experience will be so unique it will sear into your child’s memory forever.
When I was a young girl, maybe eight or ten years old, my family took us to the border of Mexico. There were children selling items at car windows, and limbless beggars lying in the streets. I was so struck by the difference in the standard of living from what I was used to, I never forgot it. I wanted to give away all of my savings in my piggy bank back home to them. I think of that instance as one of the most permanent memories of my childhood. And I do believe that helped to awaken my understanding of the world outside of my little circle, an awareness which, before then, had been nonexistent.
The skills and character development that my child will receive from travel is more important than the fact that he is too young to remember everything we do.
And, what’s more, either way I don’t mind.
Travel is life-changing, and it’s our Hiller nomadic life. Welcome to the world, Ryder. It’s a wonderful place.
Want to read more about this topic? Check out some more family blogs:
Mary from Bohemian travelers
Nancy from Family on Bikes
Catherine Forest from Catherine et les fées
Alisa from Living Outside of the Box
Melissa from Break Out of Bushwick
Bethaney from Flashpacker Family
Kris Herwig from Simon Says – Traveling With Tots: The World is My Playground
Heather Costaras from Living Differently –
Kirsty from Barts go Adventuring
Anne from The Journey is the Reward
Sharon from Where’s Sharon –
Lainie from Raising Miro on the Road of Life (and Aimee from Suitcases and Strollers)
Nichola from We Travel Countries –
Annie from Practical Adventurology
Tracey from The Expat Experiment
CoreyAnn from Adventure Bee