What is TripLearning?
I have always loved to travel. Even though my parents never had a lot of money, traveling and seeing new things was always a priority. Whether it was going to a park, museum, play or to visit friends or family, I loved to go. Just as my parents often lived far from family and had to travel to see them, my adult life has been lived away from family as well. Because of all of the traveling we have done as a family, I have been to 34 states and even our 3 year old twins have been to 24 states.
People often seem amazed that we do so much traveling with young children. I think one of the reasons it works so well for us is because we have done it their whole lives. They don't know anything different and so they have adapted. I am sometimes afraid we have created little travel monsters because they are always eager to jump in the van and go somewhere.
I have several reasons why I believe taking trips is so important:
1. It gives you a bigger worldview. The more I have traveled, the more I realize that though people are different, even in different parts of the United States, we are also similar. Even the geography of places can look similar. Driving to a campground in rural Texas last week it reminded me of Wisconsin. The pine trees may have looked a little different, but it brought back wonderful memories of going to a camp my uncle ran in Rhinelander. It's much easier to understand what is happening in the world when you have been there. Our world is so much bigger than the town we live in and we should care about the people all over. The best way to build a heart for the world is to go to new places and meet people there.
2. It makes learning hands-on and visual. I am a visual learner. I "remember the Alamo" because I have been to the Alamo and to the San Jacinto Battlefield Memorial. Visiting places makes the history and people real to me. Our children know so many animals because we visit them at the zoo a couple times a month.
3. It builds family unity. When you go to new places with your family, you are building memories that your family will always share. So many families are busy going to work, school and various extra-curricular activities. Most of these things don't involve the whole family working together. Taking a family trip, whether it's for a day or a week, forces you to spend time together. Doing activities together, eating together and maybe even sharing closer sleeping quarters builds family bonds that last much longer than careers, sports leagues and material possessions. Plus, traveling is a great way to get away from things or people who may be distracting you or your family from each other.
4. We are never too young or too old to learn. Whether it is visiting a children's museum with your kids or hiking through a national park or touring a historic home, there will be at least one thing that everyone in your family can learn. Make it a game. Don't expect a 5 year old to know everything about George Washington after visiting Mount Vernon. But, find what interests them and take the time to teach them a fact or two and then talk about it again after you leave. We have each family member share about their favorite thing that we did or saw after we leave each place. We also take pictures so we can look back at things later.
5. Taking trips teaches valuable life skills. If you travel you will have to learn patience and flexibility. Things will never go exactly as planned. Our kids have learned to talk to people and ask questions in new situations. They have also learned how to behave in various settings. They know that the way they act at the zoo or the children's museum is different than at a capitol building or an art museum. By varying activities that appeal to children and adults we all get a chance to do something that interests us as well as appreciate what interests other members of our family. I also want to prepare our children to be comfortable in any place and to have confidence there. Many adults don't do things because they never did it when they were young and they are afraid of the unknown. Using mass transit can be very intimidating. Our children have ridden on buses, planes, commuter trains and subways. Evan and I navigated the London Tube system in college and so the D.C. Metro system and the NYC Subway system were easier for us to figure out as adults. Sometimes, the journey is just as valuable as the destination.
I could go on and on, but I am sure you can come up with your own reasons why taking trips is good for you and your family.
This is why I created the term TripLearning. I wanted a word that would be easy to remember and my dream is to someday create a site that people can use as a resource for planning trips for themselves or their family. For a long time I thought it had to be something big right from the beginning, but I have recently come to realize that for now it will start out as this blog. Where it goes from here, only time will tell. My goal is to share about places we have visited as well as travel tips and ideas for any outing you may take. I would also love for people to share their thoughts, opinions or questions. I love to talk about traveling and I love to help people find places to visit. I have done this informally for family and friends for several years and welcome any opportunity to help make someone else's travel experience better. I realize I have not done it all, but I believe we can all share our knowledge even as we continue to learn.
So, please add this website to your favorites and pass it on to friends.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."