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Why We Travel: Curious Kids in the Making

Why-we-Travel Stories travel inspiration. One way that family travel is valuable is that it instills a healthy dose of curiosity in children.

From Trekaroo’s CEO LiLing Pang’s original post on Why We Travel, written in January 2009:

The Value of Family Travel Discovered Amidst Road Trip Mayhem

On our recent road trip with the kids from San Francisco to Seattle, I had a particularly bad travel moment. Sick to my stomach with a stomach bug, I pleaded to stop to use the restroom. We pulled up at a tiny town called Wolf Creek, OR. It was 2pm, the kids were tired of driving, and the large breakfast had totally worn off. Everyone was cranky (myself included for obvious reasons) and there was no food available except for a pretty sad corner grocery and a nondescript taco truck. Brennan, my husband, who can’t ever get enough Mexican food, voted for the taco stand. I was too sick to eat; besides, it was frigidly cold.

Why-we-Travel Stories travel inspiration. One way that family travel is valuable is that it instills a healthy dose of curiosity in children.

Photo by: flickr/Bruce Fingerhood

Hungry and chilled, the kids were cranky and whiny. Instead of being a kind, compassionate mommy, I felt immensely sorry for myself so I decided to seek refuge in the car. Meanwhile, Brennan fended for himself trying to feed the kids on the picnic bench with a stray dog coming alongside begging for food. It wasn’t long before they packed up and brought the food into the car. I was really grumpy at this point because I was imagining rice and beans in every crevice of our already very dirty car. With a 3-year old climbing on me and food spilling all around, I declared in frustration, that this was the worst moment of our trip.

Why-we-Travel Stories travel inspiration. One way that family travel is valuable is that it instills a healthy dose of curiosity in children.

Photo by: Trekaroo/Brennan Pang

Although traveling with kids can sometimes be miserable, those moments are fortunately often juxtaposed with redeeming ones that make it all worth it. A few hours later, with tummies full (except mine), we got into a conversation about our upcoming birthdays. We threw out ideas for our 5-year-old’s birthday and after thinking through a few themes (Star Wars, Transformers), he suddenly stopped us short and said,

“I can’t decide. Do I want a party at home with lots of presents, or do I want to go on a trip for my birthday? Traveling is such fun. You get to see so many things.”

At that instant, I realized why we travel. When you and your kids travel together, the meaningful moments override the torture.

Curiosity Awakened

We travel because we want our kids to realize that the world is much bigger than our home, our town, or just getting neat toys. We want them to appreciate creation, be inquisitive about how things work, and meet people from all walks of life.

Why-we-Travel Stories travel inspiration. One way that family travel is valuable is that it instills a healthy dose of curiosity in children.

Photo by: Trekaroo/Brennan Pang

Our next stop was Lake Shasta Caverns. It was the first time that our kids had seen a limestone cave with stalagmites and stalactites. The wonder and awe we experienced through the eyes of our 5 and 3-year-old was worth the long drives, the muddy clothes, and the seven piles of laundry that we returned home with.

Why-we-Travel Stories travel inspiration. One way that family travel is valuable is that it instills a healthy dose of curiosity in children.

Photo by: Trekaroo/Brennan Pang

This was our first trip using tips from Trekaroo families and I’m excited to report that the challenging moments were few, and the fun times were plenty. Old Sacramento was indeed delightful. Learned tips such as arranging sugar packets at a restaurant did provide the perfect amount of distraction, and the McCould Railroad B & B was definitely unique.

As Walt Disney said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we are curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” My hope is that traveling with my children sparks their curiosity, thus opening new paths for them to walk down.

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