I Dare You to Travel

Take a walk on the wild side with me and let your kids explore the world

I’m not really one to give into a challenge on regular old stuff. I just don’t really care or get caught up in it. You can’t dare me to jump out of a plane. It’s not really on my top 10 list. You can’t call me a chicken cause I won’t walk across hot coals (my feet have enough issues thank you very much!)

You can get me in one way though. Tell me I can’t do something just because I had a kid. If you want to get more specific, tell me I won’t be able to travel as much or in the same way now that I have a kid or even when I have two. Oh boy. Now you’re asking for it. That’s a challenge I will happily rise up to. I may even drag you along with me.

Not only have we traveled since Dek was born, we have been farther and traveled more as a family in the past year than Mike and I did in the years before a baby showed up. Instead of one trip to Europe as a couple, we made two trips to Asia as a family. I even headed out on one trip to China on my own with Dek while we waited for Mike to join us in Japan. Talk about taking on a dare and running with it as if a pack of hyenas was after me.

Do I have regrets? No. Not one.

Sure I could have planned a few things a little better, but that’s part of the learning process. I was never that great at planning our trips once we hit the ground before Dek came along anyway. Sometimes spontaneity is the best part of the trip. Of course now that Dek has come along we do have a list with one thing per day we would like to do or see. If we hit more, great! If not, no worries.

Was I scared? Of course!

Every time I get on a plane I have a pang of butterflies that grips my stomach. I brought a baby half way around the world for crying out loud. I’m not an idiot. The unknown is always scary. Anything could happen.

The way I look at it though is anything could happen when I hop in my car and go to the market. The world is unpredictable, you just need to choose where you are going to embrace that unpredictability and enjoy it. I choose to enjoy this spontaneous and chaotic world exploring as much of it as possible. Others choose to make the best strudel, run a marathon, read every book in the library or redecorate their room on a monthly basis. To each their own.

What about you? Why aren’t you embracing this crazy thing called life and getting your family out to see the world?

Even if your family just includes you and maybe a dog in the back of the car, pack it up and go explore. Get out of the house! There is a lot of world beyond those four walls you live in. If you take your kid, maybe they will find their own challenge in life and conquer it too.

Go ahead. I dare you. 

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102 comments

  1. I couldn’t agree more…
    :)

    My goal is to take my kids on as many trips as possible — we’ve already explored destinations on both coasts and points in all compass directions.

    What we haven’t done yet: International travel. And I CAN’T WAIT!

    • I always figure, even if we aren’t leaving the country, as long as we are getting out the door we are doing OK. Somedays a trip to the park is harder than a trip to China for sure, but each is worth it (of course the Great Wall of China photos are a little more memorable ;-)

  2. Good for you. I don’t have kids. But my partner and I have relocated to both Vietnam and then Haiti, with two dogs. And it was worth it, for sure.
    Kathy

    • Heck moving two dogs seems way harder than a kid. I’ve read about all the quarantines you have to go through when moving countries with pets. So glad you didn’t let it stop you OR leave your puppies at home without you. Travel no matter what obstacles are in your way is ALWAYS worth it.

  3. beans8604

    This was always one of my fears. People keep telling me to travel as much as I can now, because once I get a family that life is over. While I will still do as much traveling as a can now (because who knows what tomorrow brings) it is nice to hear that its not impossible later.

    • Travel as much as you can whenever you can. Kids don’t stop you, it just changes how you travel. I’ll admit it. I miss the night time exploration, late night eating and seeing what is happening on the streets after dark. BUT I now get to see sunrises around the world, eat breakfasts I never thought possible and move at a pace that really lets me see the places we visit. Travel only has to stop if you let it. The great thing about kids is that they are generally happy as long as they are with you, no matter where in the world that happens to be.

    • Since I will be about 8 months pregnant by then and probably grounded, please, PLEASE go to the Turks Islands in March for me. I will travel vicariously through you as I wait for baby #2 to show up.

  4. Very inspirational! I’m sure your child/children will treasure the memories you are making with them!

  5. What is the meaning of life?
    Adventure of course, even
    Missadventure can not be
    spelled without it. When I
    was young we traveled
    everywhere – even when
    things didden’t go as
    planned it was exciteing.

    I reccomend a book -
    Red Sails to Capri – a boy
    and his father set out to
    explore a haunted cave
    on their island. “I am not
    a rich man.” He tells his
    wife. “I can not give my
    son all the things that he
    deserves – but I can give
    him an Adventure!”

    Three articles on my
    site are devoted to truly
    amazing things in amazing
    places – learn where the
    really cool ghosts hang
    out, why the cows are on
    parade, and listen to the
    amazing musical monoliths.

  6. love this, I have the travel bug myself and at the moment counting down the days to start my biggest adventure yet! This just proves to me that when i do want to have a family i dont need to give up on seeing the world!

  7. Taking the kids out to foreign lands is a tremendous benefit to them in later years. It helps a lot with perspective as they transition to adulthood.

  8. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to travel a fair amount, by myself or with family/friends. I’m very conflicted about having kids (want to) and not being able to take off and go where or when I want. So thanks for pointing out that it is doable and all about attitude and some planning!

    • I was worried about the “get up and go” that came with travel before kids. Then my office told me they needed me to go to China with 1 weeks notice. Not enough time to find a sitter or anything, so I just packed up the little guy and took him with me. If that doesn’t prove that you really can travel with kids at a moments notice, I’m not sure what will ;-) Kids don’t stop your life, they just make you experience life in a new and exciting way.

  9. I totally agree. Luckily, I’m in one country with my family in another, so of course I will travel with my daughter so that she can meet my half of her family. And that has made it clear that traveling with a child is fun – a different, but enjoyable way to see the world.

  10. I actually internally poo-pooed the notion that ‘travelling round the world’s no different with a pram in front of you’ when an ex of mine put it forward, (obviously prams still probably aren’t the best idea) but you’ve actually instilled a bit of hope in me that I might fit in my career, family and personal missions in one lifetime. :) Thank you for sharing, I might never have known…

  11. Ever since my son was born, all Ive wanted to do is take him with me to see the world. Unfortunately, our finances have never allowed it, but I always have wanderlust and I will never let go of the dream. Loved reading this post, so much passion!

    • I got lucky. My job paid for a lot of our early adventures. My family also lives on the other side of the country so I don’t have much choice but to travel to see them at least once a year. But even when we aren’t hopping on a plane there is still so much to see and do in our own back yard. Wanderlust can be satisfied in so many ways. You should definitely find some local stuff explore. Having a kid gives you the perfect excuse to check out the things you thought you knew all about in a whole new way.

  12. Eva McCane

    challenge accepted! i LOVE traveling. i love new people and places and experiences. and i hope to expose my son to as much as possible before he’s an adult…i can only imagine how well-rounded and cultured he might be. thanks for sharing!

  13. F.

    I’m not married and I don’t have kids… but I do think you’re brave!

    And your son is ADORABLE.

  14. I have travelled all my life and yes, I think it is a fabulous idea to take your children- they will grow up to be that much more open-mided and well, international. I consider myself one of the luckiest people as I got to travel so much as a child.

  15. Sweet photo of Dek!

    My parents put my crib in the backseat of their car when I was a tiny baby and drove from my birth city of Vancouver, Canada to Mexico, a place I’ve since visited many times. I don’t have kids, but I live to travel, and amazed by people who consider it intimidating or weird.

    Travel overseas is the greatest thing I’ve ever done….memories, photos, worldwide friendships and a better understanding of how it all fits together (or doesn’t.) No downside there!

    Here’s a fun blog by a Toronto friend, and mother of two young boys, now doing a year long worldwide tour with them…(hope you don’t mind!)

    http://globetrottingmama.com/

    • I’m already following Globe Trotting mama, but thank you so much for sending the link along! I always love reading about other families wandering the globe and making their travel dreams a reality. Nothing is more inspirational.

  16. Great post. My daughter’s first trip was at five days old, home from San Diego where she was adopted. Needless to say, all the trips after that seemed much less stressful than they might have otherwise. Thanks for spreading the word…

  17. First time visitor here. Excellent post and recommendations. I couldn’t agree more because the world is a big place that is getting smaller by the minute. The more one is exposed to different places and culture, the better they should be able to adapt to the world … and starting the exposure during one’s youth is paramount.

  18. I totally agree! We used to think places were “too far” or “too much of a hassle” to get to, but 3 months ago we took a deep breath and moved from America to Tokyo to begin life as Expats with our two daughters and all we want to do now is TRAVEL. Kids are actually pretty flexible; it’s us adults who get cranky about all the traveling issues ;-)

    P.S. Your little man is adorable.

    • I am SO jealous that you moved to Tokyo. Me and the little guy met up with my husband in Osaka and Kyoto on our way home from my business trip in China and wandered around for a week. It’s gorgeous. We can’t wait to go back. It’s so east to do from the West Coast too.

  19. I love travel and have never been a nervous flyer. I used to fly often. I love leaving, and arriving, and I am not bothered by delays and I even like airline food. The experience make travel worthwhile.

  20. Lovely, lovely post! I say, I’ll take the challenge SOON! Wish me luck!!! ;)

  21. As we begin to plan our family, discuss all of the ways both of our lives will change, but all of the ways our core persons do not have to, I find validation here. and elsewhere. not that I needed any, but thank you none the less.

  22. Love it! I don’t have kids yet, but I plan on having them one day. I’m a huge traveler, and I have never liked the idea of putting my adventures or world sight-seeing on hold because of the kiddos. Love your approach here, and I plan on using it! Besides, how much cooler could it be to see the world through the eyes of a child?

  23. I absolutely love to travel, and i’ve found a company that makes it very easy to do so! Can’t wait to not only see the rest of the U.S., but see so much more of the world that I already have!!!

  24. Great post! Inspires me to think that I will be able to continue to travel even when (if?) I have kids someday! I’m currently living and traveling around Australia for 1 year – so I definitely don’t want to give up traveling!!

    • Ha ha! Yes, I have a friend who loves to travel but her hubby is perfectly happy to stay in the same neighborhood he grew up in for the rest of her life. She does have parents that love to travel and take her and the grandkids with them at least. If the hubby won’t go, well, sometimes a mommy/kid trip is in order.

  25. I love to travel as well! I love to challenge others to get out of their comfort zone and try something new, and see the world through new eyes! Great Blog! Enjoyed it!

  26. Travelling is something I will always want to do – finding about new places is just something that I find amazing.

  27. Dinar

    I hope someday your kids can get a great aventure travel to Raja Ampat, Bunaken or Komodo Island in Indonesia…

  28. A great, inspiring post. My husband and I also didn’t let kids prevent us from traveling. Quite the opposite. We love exploring the world with them and sharing as many magical moments as we can before they head off on their own. You’re helping to create wonderful memories for your sweet, little Dek!

  29. Great time with the family to around the world, how can you do it easy.
    I love this .
    If I have a kid I will follow like your step, making sure.
    The pict of your kid very nice.

    Thank for share your idea for me.

  30. So far we’ve taken DD (8) to 29 countries around the world and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m so glad to see so many parents who are enthusiastic about traveling with their kids!

  31. Wow, it has always been my dream to travel around the world. I agree that there’s more to the world than the four-walled room we live in. Now I have the reason to go out and explore because you have a family and still you were able to conquer fears, anxiety, doubts of family life when travelling, and I don’t have a family yet. So it isn’t an excuse for me to postpone reaching my dreams. Thanks for sharing! I was inspired… :)

  32. Great post! You don’t need to go very far from home to start seeing the world :)

  33. thanks for this – i tend to err on the side of caution, too afraid of having regrets in case anything untoward happens to my two girls. Congrats on being FP’d.

  34. Dingo250

    Travel or not to travel, but higher consciousness is at TheGreaterReality.com :)

  35. Even better than travelling is living overseas. My family and I must be descended from nomads. I’ve lived in six cities in Canada, lived in New Zealand (14 months), lived in Australia (7 years), travelled to every state and territory in Australia, and visited U.S., Caribbean, Italy, UK, Fiji, and Switzerland. Through all that time, I’ve never owned a house because I never wanted to be tied down. I’ve been amazed to meet people who’ve never travelled outside their native country. I remember one woman I met just south of Auckland (New Zealand) who had never left New Zealand and had never been south of Hamilton (less than two hours drive from Auckland). I still don’t feel very well travelled because I’ve never seen Asia, Africa or South America. Go travelling!!

  36. amandakathryn

    Wow, glad this was freshly pressed, I feel like I found a kindred spirit :) My husband and I were crazy international nomads since we were married 7 years ago. We were both always adamant having kids wouldn’t change that and felt we owed it to them to make the world accessible to them, but I admit now that I have a baby girl I feel nervous about our first plan trip, even if it is just to Ohio to see my fam! Good to remind myself of my original intentions and plans :) thanks!

    • Our first trip was to Philly for Christmas to see the family when the little guy was 3 months old. I swear that was harder than going to a foreign country on our own. It was still great, but family + holidays is a whole lot more stress than touring around a new country. If you can handle Ohio, you can go anywhere :-)

  37. What a wonderful, inspirational site! We moved to Central America when our sons were 2 and 4 years old, and they spent much of their lives there, as well as in France, Croatia and Chile. Now we’re living in southern India with our younger son, and his brother is in university in the U.S. They both write about conservation, travel, nature, plus on our site with us.(http://raxacollective.wordpress.com/)

    I can’t imagine NOT traveling with children! I hope that your writing “dares” others out of thinking that they have to wait until their children are “old enough”, etc.

    Congrats and happy trails!

  38. Great post! I think a lot of people use the opposite as an excuse not to travel – “I don’t want to go by myself”. Like you said, the world is unpredictable. Bad things can happen wherever you are, you just need to be smart and aware of your surroundings. Traveling alone can often be just as fun as traveling with friends and family. Just go do it, and stop waiting for life to happen to you!

  39. I big Chee huuuu for you (from hawai’i). I’m proud of you for stepping up and going for it. You are setting an amazing example for your son, he to one day will be an adventurer! I’ve traveled to 8 countries this year and 2 last year, I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon =]

  40. Super post! Travelling is great for so many reasons. I think it is mainly because we seek areas that are less affected by civilisation, taking us back to our true essence as creatures of our planet. I personally take my wife and my 14 month old son camping in the desert as much as possible. Deserts are the most unaffected and natural places in the world. No electricity, no pollution…super healthy and fun. One is usually aprehensive about adventurous travel, but in the end you wonder why you worried in the first place!

  41. Wonderful article and the photo is divine! My hubby and I toured Europe via bus and truck(the company) and a minivan(ours) in the musical HAIR in the early 90′s with our 2 1/2 year old daughter. My hubby, with our daugher under one arm and my costume under the other, was the lighting designer and I was the first black Sheila, the female lead, the chic in love with Berger. Wow, what a challenging time! Would do it again tomorrow!!The results? Our daughter hops on a plane like a bunny rabbit. Thank you for your article.

  42. I agree – having a child doesn’t mean less travelling. Ever since I had my little one, I have been travelling even more than usual. And I have to say, aside from watching her have fun during our trips, it’s amazing seeing the new things she’s picked up or learned from her travels.

    Congrats on being FP’ed!

  43. Your post has really inspired me! Ive just got married and were nervous about having kids because we feel like we want to see the world, live a little! No one ever says “just take your kid with you” but actually why couldn’t you!? Thank you so much for posting this. You’ve really opened my eyes to the possibilities and maybe not being so afraid to just do both! x x

  44. I think it’s amazing that you take your children travelling think how enriched they must be already the amount of cultures music and sights, I do ski season and I am preparing to travel next year (before I settle down) my boyfriend tries tying me down but I just cant!!!! reading this has made me realise well children no children…. what’s it matter your sharing great experiences with the people who matter most to you, and I think it’s incredible!!! I shall do the same when the time comes :) keep on exploring only the sky is the limit! x

  45. I whole-heartedly agree! Nothing like getting out there…love the photo! What a gorgeous smile…

  46. Dan

    Just love these lines – “I choose to enjoy this spontaneous and chaotic world exploring as much of it as possible. Others choose to make the best strudel, run a marathon, read every book in the library or redecorate their room on a monthly basis. To each their own.” Sooo true.

    Way to go…. Happy Exploring… :-)

  47. Speaking as someone who has and continues to do more than his share of travel, I could not agree with you more! Great work on this one!

  48. joahnadiyosa

    Sounds like you really are having great (super great) times going around. Same here. :) Exploring around is definitely as exciting as having your first baby—Scary at times but definitely rewarding most of the time.

    Great post!

    P.S. Your baby is sooooo cute I wanna hug him! :)

  49. Great post – never underestimate the ability of a properly-prepared kid to travel well.

    Our kids have been mobile – with the benefits and problems that come with that – since they were born. One daughter was 1 week old when we moved nearly 3,000 miles cross-continent, and we moved overseas when our youngest was 9 weeks. Whenever we are able to travel as a family, we do, whether it is a weekend trip cross-state, a week in Egypt, or a 2-month adventure in Italy.

    As we’ve settled into farm life, traveling comes with more challenges (including of course finding folks to take care of the animals), but travel will always be part of our lives.

    Congrats on Fresh Pressed!

  50. I love this post, what a great sense of adventure. I’m also a keen traveler and when I have kids, I want to continue that! It’s good to see blogs like yours which shows that it is possible :)

  51. My husband and I set a goal of taking our children to all 50 states. After many endless roadtrips, hundreds of campgrounds and numerous National Park Junior Ranger programs, we have have met our goal. Madeline, now ten and Julia, now seven, have spent time in every state.

    This accomplished, we packed our family up and moved to China. We have been living here in China for the last several months and love it.

    The benefits of our travels have been immense. Our children see the world slightly different and have amassed background information that helps them make connections to what they are learning in and out of school every day.

    Travel, whether local or abroad, is always worth it.

  52. I think you are living life to the fullest! My boyfriend and I always try to experience new things and we make it a point to take mini adventures on he weekend. We may not be rich but there is plenty to see and and explore locally. We bought kayaks this summer and have explored all kinds of places. We are always looking for new places to kayak and bike. We always set goals together about what we want to accomplish and hen we make a plan about how to work towards them. We a very type A. =)

  53. I completely agree! I think travelling with kids is incredibly rewarding for us and for them. We packed up with three kids and moved across the globe from Australia to London. Whether we are exploring the sights here in London, all over the U.K (snowy Scotland at Christmas was truly amazing, even if my fingers and toes felt like they were about to fall off ;)) or in Europe now that we are just a short trip across the channel it opens our childrens minds to sights, sounds and cultures they never would have experienced cooped up in our sleepy Aussie city.

    Thanks for sharing :) It irks me when anyone says something is impossible especially when it comes to kids tying you down. Kids enrich your experiences they don’t have to hinder them!

    • “Stop buying things and start traveling!”

      That is exactly my philosophy too! Those experiences give you something that anything over-the-counter never will.

  54. I read this and I here spontaneity!! I am the kind that thrives in spontaneous trips and activities. sometimes what is unplanned makes life worthwhile. I truly adore this.
    Still single and enjoying it, looking forward to more of it with family.

  55. I absolutely could not agree with you more! You wrote about the topic well, it was as though you creeped inside my head and said what I was thinking.

  56. Thanks for the amazing info. I find these posts have a lot of material. I can’t wait to get a chance to impliment all these great posts. Thank you very much.

  57. love love love this!

    my boyfriend-turned husband and I moved to Norway, got married there, traveled together for a year, moved to Scotland, traveled together for a year, moved to Texas, same thing, and now are settled back home. Can’t wait to plan the next vacay!!

    Northern California or Brazil?!?! Your thoughts?!?

    Thanks so much for your blog, I’m enjoying it

    @graylinsample
    yepindeed.wordpress.com

    • Personally I would head to Brazil. We are actually considering going down for the next World Cup. We are huge football (soccer) fans. It would be insane and thrilling all in one. Either way, you can’t go wrong. Just keep moving and checking out any place that interests you!

  58. great post! I , too, believe travel and exploring other cultures is the best investment and education we can give our kids.

  59. My parents did the same with me when I was a child. We moved all around the world, lived in places we liked, left places we didn’t. It was nice to read it from sort of ‘their’ point of view. I cannot thank them enough for that. It really is so important just leaving the house, trying to see something new. Even if you cant go far, go somewhere!

  60. You have NO idea how comforting it is to hear that it’s possible to keep up with the travelling bug even once you have a family. The two things I aim for with more drive than anything else are a strong, close family and a lot of travelling and new experiences. I mean, I’ve been here in Costa Rica for five months and I’ll only be back home in Scotland for a few weeks before I head off to study in France next semester.

    Sometimes I feel like the whole family-and-travel priorities are a really bad combination, and sometimes my (long-distance) boyfriend and I talk about how, once we finally end up in the same continent, we’ll have to spend a few years just travelling before we get tied down by the commitment of family life. Thanks for reminding me that it’s not all over once that bump appears!

    • It’s ironic but I feel like we are more a family when we travel than when we are at home. There is nothing to distract us, like work, housework, etc., when we travel. We are just together. It was the same even when my son wasn’t around, it’s just more fun now cause we have a little person to guide the way. He also opens more doors into the local culture than we could have ever opened. After all, what 2 year old wouldn’t love to walk up to a local kid and check out their toys ;-)

  61. This is very inspirational. I agree that kids should not stop you from exploring. Isn’t adventure something that we want to give to our children. I have however, been making many procrastination excuses for so long. I am trying to find the inspiration to get out of a long time rut and start doing all the things I know I want to be doing. Kids and all. Your kids are so lucky for the experiences you are giving them.

  62. Katrina

    i couldn’t agree more! the world is just so lovely for us not to see. i remember before when i decided i want to travel and decided to do it by myself (because no one would join me) and my friends just said: are you crazy? like: no?! *nervous and excited* all is well after that and it was awesome! sharing wonderful experiences to the people you love would be great too. there are just some things–traveling, that i can’t pass up :)

  63. It is always interesting to hear people make excuses why they can not do what we have done, to travel the world that is. Others always look in amazement how we could have done so with a 4 year old kid. Well, it is all possible as you say, one step at a time. If you just see the long journey, you may not make it. If you just focus on the 100km you will conquer today, it will be much easier. All the best in your travels.

  64. Here, here–couldn’t agree with you more. However having traveled somewhat extensively before we had kids, our trip last year which saw my husband and I take our 2 pre schoolers on a 12 month long trip to 9 countries in SEA and India demonstrated that our priorities while traveling had to be changed! Now it’s all about eating healthy and regularly and to have a good balance of activities to satisfy everyone in the family!

  65. Oh we do, we so do, we love it. I’m so glad to have stumbled upon your blog, I’m looking forward to exploring it. I’m very new to this blog thing, like, 2 weeks new, but travel has been my life for 20 years or so. We’re off on a RTW with our kids next year, our second, their first. It’s magic to see the world again through the eyes of your little people. Best wishes. Alyson

  66. Don’t stop what you love to do. Yes, it is more difficult when the kids are younger. As they get older, it is harder to “extract” them from the lives you have created for them… sports, school, friends, etc. But it is SO worth it! In 2010-11 we took our 4 children, ages 16, 14, 12 and 6 out of school for five months on a RTW journey to places that each of them chose. It was BY FAR the best thing we could have done with them as parents. We totally agree with the other comments, yes, see the world through the eyes of your children, and prepare them for the changing world! It costs less to live in many other countries than “home”, and you’d be amazed at the shift in priorities from “need” to “want” when you have to carry everything you have on your back (kids too!) Thank you for sharing and encouraging other families to hit the road… life is short – LIVE IT! Lisa

  67. I have to say kudos to your! I don’t have kids, so do not fully understand the challenges of travel with kids, especially babies, but I love your spirit! I think it is so sad when people stop traveling because they have kids. The parents that take their kids to exotic locations or even camping – I think those kids are so lucky. They will have a great, well rounded view of the world. Love that you and your family are embracing this! Happy travels.

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