This summer, we’re going to Europe with our 3- and 5-year-old. I get lots of different reactions when I tell people this:
“Wow, that sounds amazing!”
“Yikes, that’s a long flight with young children!”
“That sounds expensive!”
I totally understand all of these reactions. This will actually be our older child’s second trip overseas in his 5 years of living. The first time we took him, he was 18 months old and I was pregnant (no wine or yummy French cheese for me … that was a bummer!). And did we have some difficult moments? Sure we did! There was whining, there was crying, there was even an unfortunately huge and disgusting blowout on the way to Giverny (my family is forever traumatized by that one).
But we also had some amazing moments. My dad is a big World War II buff and we spent most of the trip staying with them in a beautiful country house in Normandy. He tasted delicious food and saw amazing sights. He breathed the air of the French countryside and looked across the gorgeous wheat fields behind the house we were staying in. He heard people speaking a language other than the one he heard all the time.
Does he remember it? Nope. But I really do believe these experiences nest in the deep recesses of our little ones’ minds and shape who they are as people. And now that we’re going back, we can show him pictures of his one-year-old self in this beautiful place and he’s so excited to be returning there.
And yes, it costs money. And no, we’re not rich. We save our money and set aside big portions of work bonuses in order to take these trips. Travel will always be a big priority for us, and we want our kids to look back on their childhoods and see adventure. It definitely takes sacrifice though, and this year we had to buy four plane tickets instead of the two we bought last time (gulp!).
I’m so excited to show my children the world. We are also going to London and Paris before we go to meet my parents in Normandy and I can’t wait to show my boys where the Queen of England lives, and ride a double decker bus with them and see Big Ben. I hope they always remember their early lives as a time of travel and adventure!