Let Them Travel. They Will Remember.
Updated: May 17, 2018
I’ll always remember the reaction I received when I first told my mother that I had booked two plane tickets for my son and I to fly to Puerto Rico. “I don’t understand why you’re even wasting your money doing that. Why not wait until he’s older when he will actually remember?”
I never quite understood this thought process, or why someone would limit their child’s experiences simply because they feel that “they won’t remember.” Instead of focusing on what they will/will not remember in the future, why not think about how they will actually feel during that moment? Or the stories that you will be able to tell them when you look back on all of the photos when they’re older? Or the special moments that they may be able to have during those trips with family or friends who may not be a part of their lives tomorrow? By robbing them of the opportunity to travel as a child “because they won’t remember”, we are also robbing them of precious moments that can be cherished in the years to come.
My son was only two years old when I applied for his passport. I had no specific reason to take him out of the country, nor did I have a destination in mind at the time. All I knew is that I didn’t want to limit his travels to just the one trip we took to Puerto Rico. I wanted him to grow up being comfortable with travel and to instill all of the do’s and don’ts in his brain at an early age. I wanted him to continue experiencing different sights and cultures. I wanted him to learn about tolerance and diversity at an early age, and to see that there is much more to the world than what we have here in our hometown in Alexandria, VA.
Children soak up and remember more than we think-- waaay more than we think. Well over a year later, my son still asks me when we will return to Mexico. He recalls intricate moments of our trip to Costa Rica last summer that I had certainly believed he’d forgotten, as he didn’t seem interested at the time of the trip. He remembers the friends that we met in Puerto Rico as well as how he felt when he took his first fall at the beach.
Life is short, and we should cherish every moment of it, especially the ones spent with our children. They may not remember every single detail, but they will always have a story to tell about the places they’ve visited, even if it’s just to say that “my mom/dad took me there when I was younger.” If we have the ability to, we should let them travel, and let them travel early. They will thank us for it in the future.
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