I always knew I wanted to take my kids around the world. Even before they were here, I had a grand plan for them. At school they were to learn the basics but to learn about life, they were to see the world from day one. We are not tourists, we are travelers. Students of the human race and all that surrounds it. And so it began…
On Oct 17th, 2002, we had a one year old and a three month old and we did the first of what’s been countless unforgettable journeys. Thirty two countries so far in four different continents, hundreds of cities, villages and tiny towns. Sometimes I plan but sometimes I don’t. I don’t make reservations, I don’t have a set itinerary. We just go. It is my belief that, to really see a country, one must go to the small villages and not only the big cities. So not having an itinerary gives you that freedom. Some people think we’re crazy but to me, crazy would be NOT to have done it.
Traveling makes you discover that a lot of what you hear about other countries is wrong or misunderstood. You face your fears you realize your preconceptions are all wrong and you are forced to see everything with a new light. The life lessons you acquire are invaluable pieces of wisdom you’ll learn no other way. After the trip ends, you play it out over and over again in your head. You sear those images in your mind and whenever you access them you are there again. You can smell it, taste it, feel it. The places, the people. Travel is more than sightseeing, it completely changes you. It deeply affects the way you live your life. It changes your mindset, your heart, your ideas and your spirit.
After only a few trips, it dawns on you. We are all the same. Here, there and everywhere, we are all the same. We are ONE.
We’ve had our fun in theme parks around the world (thanks to Dante) as well as quiet moments in churches, mosques, shrines, synagogues and temples of seven different religions. Climbed very high peaks and gone so deep into earth you can barely breathe. Touched history; from 5000 year old history to history in the making. Eaten great things and strange things. Heck, we have even been in hospitals here and there.
When people ask me why we travel or what for, I find myself with no words to describe my reasons and how it has changed us. My children have been changed for good. They have become citizens of the world and are now, at 12 and 14, fully aware of the good and bad our human race is capable of. They embrace any religion, way of life, race, language, costume, cultural differences, and learn from them. They have become professional travelers who can navigate airports, subways, streets, and pretty much any type of transportation. It’s what they know. It’s part of their life.
They have stated: ‘We haven’t seen anything. Thirty countries out of over two hundred is only a fraction of it all.’ I hope we live enough to see it all. This is my gift to them.