By: Courtney Byrne
People often ask me if traveling with kids is worth it: will they remember it? Is it totally exhausting? Does it even slightly feel like a vacation? I asked my girls if I could share the gift they got for Christmas this year because I think it helps explain why I think travel is important and why it’s fun too. They were so excited about the letter below and each of them have it tucked away in their jewelry box as they count down the days…..
Dear Maggie and Alex,
This year a dream I had came true: to travel around Italy for month. I have visited many times since I studied there years ago, but always wanted to go back for a long period of time and most of all, with my children. I thought about waiting until your brothers were older, but in my heart, I knew you two were ready and you were at an age that I felt you would really enjoy all I wanted to show you. So we went.
Many people thought I was crazy and as the trip grew near, there were days I thought maybe they were right. But off we went on our big adventure. Our trip was better than I could have ever imagined. This was because of you two.
You girls were brave: Just one day after school got out you stepped onto the plane, off to a new country. You knew you’d be leaving your house and friends for half the summer. You were nothing but excited. You tried new things throughout the trip with real bravery. I remember watching you walk down that pier to the very end and jump off into the deep sea and thought “wow these girls are brave”. You tried kids clubs, new games, new foods, etc all in a foreign country. You did it without hesitation (well there was a little hesitation with the pesto ha!).
You girls were smart: You tried your best to speak a new language. You put words together to make a friend or order gelato. You tried reading maps, you listened on tours and asked important questions.
You girls were helpful: You both were more helpful than I could have ever expected. You helped as we navigated trains, planes and buses with a months worth of luggage. Speaking of luggage you each carried your own on your back. You were always in charge of one little brother and even pushed their strollers sometimes. You helped make the trip happen so smoothly and of course: helped it to be so fun.
You girls were inspiring: No matter where we went, you made a friend. Some spoke Italian, some Swedish and those that spoke English were still from a very different place in the world (Australia). Your kindness and curiosity was inspiring. One night, while I ate dinner, I watched you two coordinate a game of tag with your little brothers, 2 kids from Finland and 2 from Italy. It wasn’t easy because no one spoke a common language but you were determined to include everyone. I hope you are always this accepting of people from around the world. I could tell that you really appreciated visiting all of the different places we went because you were always excited about where we were off to and didn’t complain. You couldn’t wait to see a new city, new apartment, etc. It was inspiring and wonderful to watch.
Traveling with you is important to me. It’s something I enjoy and something that I want to always do as a family. You know it’s not always easy – you’re there when I lose my cool and get frustrated. You’ve seen us miss trains and get lost. But even the tough and tricky times when we travel are important, because we’re on the adventure as a family and we figure it out together. We get to see new things all together and most important of all: we have a lot of fun.
So where’s our next adventure?
In just 6 weeks, we’ll take off on a flight across the ocean.
We’ll leave our muggle selves behind for a visit to Platform 9 ¾ and an afternoon potions lesson.
When we’re ready for a break from wizardry we’ll move on to royalty and enjoy time visiting palaces and sipping tea.
Have you guessed yet? This February we’re taking a girls’ trip to London!
Merry Christmas to my very best travel pals!