Kid Memories at the Temple of Heaven, Beijing

 In Asia

There are little things in my life that I look back on that make me think, “wow!” Sometimes that “wow” ends with “what were we thinking,” while other times it goes something like “how cool was that!” and “can we do it again?”

Our trip to China in late 2010 would fall under the latter category.

It was an incredible first foray into international travel with a kid. Plus Dek pretty much learned how to walk in Beijing.

Last spring I wrapped up my posts covering this first trip to China at the same time that I was headed back for our second visit. Somehow in all of the travel insanity I forgot to share my photos and experiences from our last day in Beijing, the day we visited the Temple of Heaven.

Built around the same time as the Forbidden City, the complex was used each year to offer prayers to heaven for a good harvest. We were able to peak into each structure on the grounds and catch a glimpse of the grandeur that past emperors would walk through as they offered up their yearly prayers.

And yet this is not what I took away from our visit.

Instead, I still look at our images and the memories in my mind and marvel at how well my little guy was walking. It wasn’t just the walking though; he was taking his first baby steps (and quite a few stumbles) around some of the world’s most fascinating and impressive architectural history.

Dek doesn’t remember these moments, but I do. They still make me say “wow” as I gaze at the framed photos from our trip in our hallway. It’s memories like those that I’ve clung to from the Temple of Heaven that make us hop on a plane with our passports and take on a new adventure every few months.

Whether I’m asking myself “what were we thinking” or “can we do that again,” you can bet we will keep on traveling.

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written by Keryn Means

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Showing 18 comments
  • Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista

    Love the pictures of your son! Toddlers are awesome, aren’t they?

  • jade

    How cute is the picture of him learning to walk and falling?! Adorable! HOpe you made it home safely after TBEX- great seeing you there!

    • © Keryn Means/ walkingon travels

      Home safe and sound after a sprint to make my flight on time. That traffic out of Keystone was reminiscent of the Jersey shore in summer. So great to see you again!

  • Lisa

    What an amazing place to learn how to walk! I love these photos of Dek – he has grown so much in the last year! Keep up your traveling – I wish I had been as brave as you when Katie was little – we played it too safe when she was young and now there are so many places that I still want to take her before she goes away to university. At least I still have Emma home to travel with me for quite a few more years!

    • © Keryn Means/ walkingon travels

      I think Katie might need to do a year long study abroad program so you have an excuse to go visit 😉

  • Leigh

    Very cool that you went to China with your son – not many people would undertake that trip. I’m impressed and the photos of him are adorable.

  • Sophie

    The Temple of Heaven is one of my fave temples in China. So beautiful, isn’t it? And how cool for him to be able to say he took his first steps in Beijing!

  • Sabrina

    What a place to learn how to walk 🙂 And what fun memories. Love the pic of the guy with the red band.

  • Allison

    Wow, indeed! Seeing a place through the eyes of a child is to discover it in a whole new way. What wonderful memories you will have.

  • Dick Jordan


  • Reply

    These pictures are too precious! What an amazing place to take his first steps. It is those memories and pictures like these that make us want to keep taking them along for the ride. When Dek is a little older, he’ll enjoy seeing these pictures as much as you. My kids don’t remember a lot of their toddler year trips but love looking through the photo books.

  • Taryn

    Beautiful photos, I’m inspired to visit the Temple of Heaven next time the sky is that blue here (hasn’t been in awhile with all the nasty air pollution).

  • Aleah |

    Dek’s so adorable! When he’s all grown up he’d look back and love these pics! Wish more kids would get the opportunity he has now to travel the world.

  • Cathy Sweeney

    What a great trip and first international travel experience for your little guy. Even though he doesn’t remember it, it was still a learning experience as he became acclimated to travel. That’s a big deal and I wish more parents would get there kids out seeing the world as soon as possible.

  • Nancie

    I am trying in vain here to get this captcha. On the black background it is almost impossible to see.

    This is a lovely set of shots. I missed this when I was in Beijing. I think it has something to do with the 40+ temps and high humidity the entire time I was there.

    • © Keryn Means/ walkingon travels

      Argh! I’ve given up on this captcha. I have to find one that ppl can actually see. So sorry about that!

  • Gayle Labuz

    Wow! I found your blog through McDougall Photography – Faboulous Friday. Great pictures and a great story. We started travelling with our daughter when she was 3. It started with a trip to Mexico. Since then she’s also had her passport stamped in Panama and Costa Rica. Travelling with a kid is a completely different way to go – and it’s something I enjoy immensely. We’re seriously considering Thailand as a destination within the next couple of years.
    I will be following your blog for sure! (By the way – you’ve inspired me to do some blogging about our trips with Emma, even though they are “old news” to me.)

    • © Keryn Means/ walkingon travels

      I’m so glad you found us! Your daughter has certainly gotten around. We are planning on tackling Central and South America in the next few years. We’ve been focused on Asia for a while and headed back to Europe this year. You should definitely write about your trips with Emma. She will love it when she is older and this way you won’t forget as much. I started blogging so I could remember that first trip to China we took with Dek and boy am I glad I did!

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