6 Biggest Myths About World Family Travel
Thinking about long term family travel? Or unsure if it’s the right thing to do?
You’re bound to come across at least one, if not all of these 6 doozies. No matter how committed you are to your travel plans, sometimes it can shake your confidence when you hear people spout these unfounded opinions over and over again. But, I promise, reading this will make it allllll better.
1. You Will Ruin Your Children’s Education
Quite the contrary… world travel will immensely enhance it.
Nowhere at school can you go and visit a traditional village in Fiji or Vanuatu and see for yourself how the locals lived 200 years ago — facepaint and all.
You can’t stand (safely) near the edge of a volcano, in awe of the mindblowing display of fire, rocks and lava, as you hear the almighty loud roars of an active volcano. It’s emphatically life changing.
Nowhere in school can you touch, see, feel or experience what you read in textbooks.
When travelling, learning is not about memorising text, only one answer being ‘right’, or recalling the right words to achieve a good mark, so you can be considered a good student
By actively participating in learning, it’s so much easier to remember what you’ve learnt, and as a massive bonus, it gives you memories for life. Do you remember the day you read about volcanos at school? Or do you remember the day you actually stood before one?
Children travelling the world will learn and gain skills that no modern education system could possibly give them. In addition, they will grow to become different people altogether. More worldly, culturally aware, tolerant, understanding and interesting little people.
When you talk to people who have travelled the world, don’t they seem wise, interesting and full of great stories and memories? All of your children’s friends and family will love hearing what your children have to say about what they have seen and done – for many years to come.
“Tell me and I will forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I will understand.” — Confucius, 450BC
2. It’s A Waste, Because Young Children Wont Remember It
A waste of what, money?
The cost isn’t even an issue – infants up to two years of age can fly for free on most airlines and meals tend to be free at hotels and resorts. Even for older children, some airlines offer discounted airfares for those up to 12 years of age, and children’s menus are much cheaper than standard menus.
As for being able to remember the trip, sure, very small children may not remember what they saw. Heck, even as an adult, I forget so many of the finer details and visuals of day to day life. Why should everyone miss out just because one individual may not remember?
It’s not even about being old enough to remember.
Every single experience we have, right from birth, impacts on who we are as a person. Being exposed to people, situations, environments, energies – it all contributes to who we are and who we become.
No matter how young they are, children become accustomed to living, interacting, and relating in a certain way — their experience becomes a part of who they are.
If a child is unaccustomed to travelling, they may develop a fear of flying in planes (I personally know a number of examples of this happening, some quite close to home!). What if that fear carries on into adulthood and they make a decision to never explore the world?
Children are never too young to travel the world. Nor are adults ever too old.
3. Your Children Will Get Lonely And Miss Their Friends
Perhaps your children may miss some of their friends. However, they would still miss them if their friends they changed schools, moved house, the country — or shock, horror — even went travelling themselves.
Technology has the magnificent ability to keep us connected, therefore kids can easily keep in touch with their friends.
It’s been months since my children left school at the end of 2014, and while there were the sad end-of-year goodbyes (one of my daughter’s best friends left for the United States to live), they haven’t been pining for their friends at all. They’ve been too busy exploring and having fun… then sending their favourite travel snaps to their very jealous friends!
Not only that, there’s a big community of worldschooling and travelling families that connect and meet around the world. Yes, there are that many families travelling long term, that gatherings occur in various places around the globe!
Some travelling children connect through the blogs they write and the social media groups they belong to. It’s really not that isolating when there’s a great network of kids who have one big thing in common — travelling the world with their families.
Just like when you have your first baby, it can be terribly isolating if none of your friends have babies. So what do you do? Join mothers groups. Join online forums and social media groups. Get networking! You’ll teach your kids the immeasurable value of doing it too.
4. It’s Too Expensive To Take A Holiday With Kids, Let Alone Travel The World
Actually, it’s not. Some families choose to keep travelling after their first journey because they found it cheaper than going home. No joke!
It’s simply a matter of learning how. It’s not rocket science, it’s wanting it enough and committing time to learning all you need to know to get started. But one big simple key is this: you don’t live like a tourist, you live like a local.
If you travelled the world like a tourist, you would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. But ask yourself this, do locals of say, Portugal, live in hotels and eat all of their meals in restaurants?
No. Of course they don’t.
Living like a local can save you a swag of money on your two biggest travelling expenses. More about that in another article.
Nothing is impossible, it’s that you just don’t know how to do it right now. Big difference.
5. Something Bad Could Happen, Then What?
You. Can. Always. Go. Home.
Not enjoying it as much as you thought? Go home.
Kids are constantly miserable? Go home.
Disaster happens back home? Go home.
It’s not the end of the world if you don’t like long term travel. No-one will be forcing you to keep travelling but yourself.
If it’s costing too much money (it shouldn’t) or if you have family issues back home and feel the need to be there, you can just go. Don’t feel bad if you need to leave early — you gave it a shot, good on you!
6. You’ll Miss The Family Too Much
Some people may feel a huge pull on the heartstrings when they think about leaving their beloved family behind.
But, what is worse, not physically seeing your family for a year (or however long you decide) or deciding not to live out your ultimate dream?
I’ll let you in on a little secret. One of two things will happen if you go travel:
1. Your family will suddenly get motivated to go travelling themselves, even if it seems impossible for them to get excited about it right now.
Family members may cite issues relating to money, health, disinterest or fears stopping them from travelling — but it’s amazing what happens when someone shakes up the status quo by doing something that others never imagined possible.
If they decide to travel — go you! You’ve inspired your family to live their life a great deal more by showing them what’s possible. You’d be surprised at how many travellers meet up with family along the way somewhere.
2. You’ll get back home and everything is the exactly, boringly the same.
Sure, your brother may have a new, spiky haircut that looks super cool, and your teenage niece may be sporting a One Direction tattoo on her back which mum and dad aren’t too happy about.
But everyone will still be slugging away in the same jobs, same life and same relationships.
Everything will be carrying on as normal, as if you didn’t leave… and after a couple of weeks when the excitement of seeing everyone again fades away, you’ll feel flat and miss the excitement and change of world travel.
This is what happens to the majority of long term travellers.
Don’t forget that these days, video calling via Skype or Facetime is free on a wifi connection, and there are plenty of other ways to help you keep in contact with your family.
You have nothing to lose. Go live! That’s what you were born to do.
Kelly Winder is the creator of BellyBelly.com.au, a doula, writer and mother to three awesome children. Currently she's travelling the world for 12 months with her partner and three children, and hopes to inspire more families to do the same.