Why Having Children Shouldn’t Prevent you from Traveling the World
Are you planning on having children and worried this might prevent future world travels? If you love to travel, you shouldn't let this hold you back. Although it might seem sensible to settle down and enjoy a 'normal' life there are lots of parents currently traveling the world with children. In this article, Jade Griffiths shares her experiences of exploring the world with her daughter, reading this might encourage you to consider doing something similar too...
Thanks for the advice but…
As I’m nearing 30, with a daughter fast approaching high school, I’m too often told to ‘think’ ’like a ‘mother’, ‘put your daughter first’, ‘grow up’ and ultimately to ‘settle down’ or even to ‘live a normal life’.
The reason for such advice? Because I home school my daughter and sporadically travel the World; enjoying experiences as diverse as travelling Central America, to taking a road trip around France for the summer in a convertible. I have tried the 9-5 ‘normal’ life, and it simply did not work for us.
Conventional schooling was not for my daughter, and while I loved my fitness Instructor role and later my mental heal worker position, there was always something tugging away at me. A voice reverberating from all four corners of the map, and all areas in between, urging me to visit their respective towns, villages, hills and valleys. Each time I would see or read anything remotely associated with another country or culture, I would search flights, check guide books, and dream.
During these times of attempted ‘normalcy’ I would seize every opportunity to travel. Bank holidays, or long weekends would be spent visiting nearby European countries, as my annual leave days were carefully calculated and laid out to allow me maximum away time.
But the issues with working were just too much – childcare issues, health problems, work overload, deadlines and the straw that broke the camels back; a financial setback that left me barely able to cover the many/ basic living costs such as rent, childcare, water, power, gas, car maintenance, and food.
So, with great sadness I quit my job, said a difficult farewell to my colleagues and clients and chose freedom over constraint; and comfort!
Now, making little money teaching English while I travel, I have very little financially, but in terms of happiness, freedom, time with my daughter and control over our lives, my cup is overflowing.
As for peoples advice, when told to ‘think like a mother’ I believe I do. I give my daughter the best education I can think of by teaching her myself, exposing her to different languages, people and cultures, and ways of life. She now speaks 3 languages fluently (Welsh, English and Spanish). She knows more about the World than many children her age, has a maturity beyond her years, while enjoying a freedom which most children ‘back home’ do not.
As for putting her first, that is finally happening. For her first two years of life, for me, University was of paramount importance as I struggled to complete my Psychology undergraduate degree with a new baby. Then came the inevitable job hunting and when I finally landed my dream job, that always seemed to take centre stage. I remember with such regret, such statements as ‘not now, I have work’, ‘I’m tired from work, tell me tomorrow’ and even ‘I’m sorry I can’t see your play, I have an important meeting at work that day’. Now she is always able to come first. At last.
When I’m told to ‘grow up’ I have to ask people what they mean. To me, age should certainly be revered as with it should come wisdom, but parallel to this, travelling brings wisdom. A twenty-something avid traveler may easily be wiser than a sixty year old who has been in the same job/ town/ around the same small group of people their whole life. In fact, in my experience, friends from school or University that have travelled always seem to return that bit clearer, wiser, more open minded and level headed. In this way I believe I am encouraging self growth.
The remaining two pieces of advice – ‘settle down’ and ‘live a normal life’ are both extremely subjective. I am very settled, in my sporadic pattern of traveling and to me this is a normal life. I see no other way, for the time being.
I would - and do - advise anyone not to knock it until they have tried it. Furthermore, to anyone with children; this should not be an obstacle preventing you from traveling, but rather a reason to travel – to explore and to teach your children about the world. Some of my best experiences and quality time spent with my daughter have been during random moments ‘ón the road’; and some of the most ‘dangerous’ places or activities have been the most welcoming and educational for the both of us.
Don’t get me wrong; it has not always been easy, and it’s certainly not all fun and games; we have had our fair share of hassles, and ups and downs. You can follow our adventures on our facebook page: Double Trouble Travel, and on our blog: DoubleTroubleTravel.blogspot.com.
By Jade Griffiths