By Windy Locke

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” These wise words of Saint Augustine resonate somewhere in my soul. Between soccer practice, packing lunches, meetings and deadlines and all of the routines that keep the wheels of our family turning, I find myself plotting and planning on how to fill the pages of our book with adventure. 

I was a young adult when I stepped on to a plane for the first time, bound for a cruise ship that would take me to Caribbean waters so clear and blue it didn’t seem like something that could exist in real life. The moment my toes touched that water I realized what a small slice of the world I had known growing up. I also realized how to reach the rest of the world. 

Throughout the years the world did become a smaller place as I shared adventures with friends in places far from home. I have felt the breeze of a Parisian night from atop the Eiffel Tower, indulged in Belgian chocolate in the storybook city of Brugge and stood in the majesty of Westminster Abbey, to name a few of the moments that left an impression on my heart.  

When I embarked on the great journey of motherhood, I was filled with hopes and dreams for my sweet baby as most parents are. I knew that one of the gifts I most wanted to give him would be a sense of adventure but I couldn’t have imagined the precious memories we would make together as we set out to explore the world around us. 

Something different happens when you leave the comfort of your own nest and go somewhere you’ve never been or do something you’ve never done before, together. You watch your kids develop confidence as they try new things, you realize how capable they are and you all have an opportunity to learn something new about each other. Without the confines of home and your usual responsibilities, your kids can see you in a different light as you embrace your own sense of adventure and explore with them in childlike wonder with an open and curious mind. Traveling together creates deep family bonds that develop when you are relying on each other, investigating, asking questions, solving problems and learning together. 

Numerous studies have shown the benefits of traveling with kids, including social and emotional growth as well as brain development. Visiting another country can give children a broader perspective of the world and an appreciation for different cultures when they experience both the similarities and differences of others. Visiting historical sites makes history come alive for them in a way that they can’t learn in a classroom. Perhaps most important is the time spent together, whether in a tent under the stars or on the white sand beaches of a Caribbean shore. You will never regret taking the time to travel.

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