Addicted to Collecting Passport Stamps

Today, I spoke to an old friend who worked for World Vision – a humanitarian aid organization with projects all over the world – until recently. He and his wife have a 4 year old and an 18 month old.  The 4 year old has already been to 20+ countries and his 18 month old has been to 14.  They are a family that has truly embraced travel as a lifestyle.  These children will barely remember the Republic of Congo where they spent a few months ministering among the poorest of the poor, but they will remember it in their bones. It will form who they are, what they care about, and how they view life.

In East Borneo in a stilt village

I confess, as a family, we have an addiction to collecting passport stamps.  But it’s beyond just collecting passport stamps for the sake of parading it around as a status symbol.  Okay, in the interest of full disclosure…there is a tinge of that.  But ulitmately, the reason why we have made travel so central to our family life, is because we want our children to grow up having tasted, seen, smelled and cared for a world and it’s people who are as different as the colors of the rainbow.  We want them to see that there is no one way that people should live, no one way to express joy, sadness or love.  We want to challenge their sense of entitlement and to instill a sense of compassion for those who have experienced grave injustices.

There are lots of ways to travel.  But today, I was re-inspired by our dear friends, to be undaunted by the challenges of traveling with kids.  I was also challenged to not disregard the impact that our children could have caring for other children in an orphanage in Nicaragua.  World, here we come…one passport stamp at a time.  We’re slower, but we are coming.

Get started with International Travel with Kids – 17 Tips for Traveling Internationally with Kids

About the author

LiLing Pang is Co-founder and CEO of Trekaroo . She is a mom to two boys and a girl (13, 11, and 3) currently traveling through Central America. Together with her husband, Brennan Pang, they hatched the idea of Trekaroo one summer day along the California coast while searching for the best kid-friendly tide pool near La Jolla with their curious 2.5 year old.
6 Responses
  1. justaddh2o

    Your post touch my heart..”because we want our children to grow up having tasted, seen, smelled and cared for a world and it’s people who are as different as the colors of the rainbow. We want them to see that there is no one way that people should live, no one way to express joy, sadness or love.” My husband and I haven’t had the means for our children but I’m hoping someday would.

  2. TravelPangs

    Thanks for reading our blog and for resonating with our dream. I totally hear you about not having the means to travel like these friend of ours. They have definitely made some sacrifices, after all they work for a non-profit, so they don’t get paid too much. But what they lack in material possessions, is made up in richness of experience.

    Our hope is that Trekaroo’s families will come together to help each other make these kind of explorations easier for families.

  3. Bridget Smith

    Lovely post. Our church heads to an orphanage in Tiajuana twice a year. I’m trying to get up the guts to take my ten year old. With all that has been happening there, I’m just not sure about the safety of driving down. Need to investigate more.

    One thought for visiting friends and family or family reunions that are not international. This is a project I planned to do on my last trip “home” to Santa Cruz, but didn’t get to. Have a potluck park or beach gathering and have everyone bring one or more cans of food. Then deliver them with the kids to a local food pantry or soup kitchen. We have done this locally and my kids really benefit from it. This project was inspired by a mom blogger who founded “Will Play for Food”.

  4. TravelPangs

    Great idea. Up here in SF, I just heard of a project called Project Night Night. It’s where kids can bring blankets (new), and gently used toys of their own for kids who are homeless. It’s the sweetest thing ever. There is also a wonderful project called Operation Child that allows families to pack shoe boxes to send to kids overseas at Christmas time. It really allows kids to connect with kids in a different country without travelingl. Our family gave our 6 year old a pen-pal in Haiti who’s the same age as him. Together, we’re sponsoring this child through Compassion and our son gets to sell, or earn $5 every month to contribute towards supporting his new friend. He loves it so far.

    You should totally take your 10 year old to Tiajuana with your church. Our friends have been going to Honduras every year with their kids and have had a blast.

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