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Travel talk

Fat Mum Slim /

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I remember this moment vividly. We were sitting in the shade, trying to find some relief from the heat of Singapore. A little boy played beside us and Lacey, who was just 4 at the time, had stopped dancing around and became intrigued by him. He didn’t speak a word of English, yet slowly the two of them connected and started to play their own way. It was kinda magic, to see the friendship blossom and two different cultures collide.

It happened again in America where Lulu played with a little Mexican girl and Lacey tried to act as translator. It was a little bit cute, and also a little bit funny.

As a kid we didn’t travel. I took my first flight at age 18, and that was to the Gold Coast for Schoolies. My family didn’t have the means or desire to travel, not within Australia and not around the world either. I grew up with no desire either. It’s just not something that wasn’t on my radar.

And then I got the bug, being blessed with being a blogger and having opportunities come up. I now want to see it all. I’m constantly dreaming about where and when and how.

Earlier this year, when Lacey started in her new class for the new year with her new teacher, I knew I had to talk to the teacher about the year ahead. I knew it would involve Lacey missing school, and I was anxious about how the information would be received. It’s not that Lacey’s teacher is scary, she’s the opposite; super lovely and an a-grade teacher who cares about education. Lacey’s principal is the same. I had the conversation, and it went better than expected. In fact, her teacher encouraged it. She suggested that Lacey was learning things that couldn’t be taught.

She’s absolutely right. Over the year I’ve seen Lacey learn and experience things that she might not have known from being in a classroom. Because we’re going on famils {travel opportunities like we do are called famils, which is a familiarisation with a country/area/region} rather than holidays. We’re not sitting on deck chairs, having people wait on us for days on end. It’s not like that. In Dubai we visited Mosques and learned about the history of the country, the laws, ventured through the souk, learned about the foods {and sampled them} and stopped outside the Sheikh’s {the Prime Minister of the UAE} palace to learn more about what goes one behind his gates.

After learning about sea horses in class, we visited the only sea horse farm in Australia whilst in Tasmania and Lacey got to see it in person. She got to see the breeding cycle, learn about how the male’s carry the babies, and also hold her own sea horse too. I watched as she asked the leader questions, arming herself with information to take back to her class when she returned back home.

There are moments, when it’s all about play and joy though. I can’t pretend that it’s all about education. There is also a lot of weighing up whether it’s worth taking her out of school, or whether it’s time to stay home for a while {which I did for a lot of this year because my gut said it was the right thing to do}.

I know we’re lucky, and I’m grateful for the experiences that we have. I’m grateful that I get to share this with my family, and my mum as well {I’m taking her on her first overseas trip today, and she’s so excited}. To be honest, my biggest challenge is trying to teach Lacey while this is our normal right now, it’s not the real normal {and it might all stop tomorrow, who knows}. I am able to teach her about the world through our travels, but my challenge over the coming months and years is teaching her about privilege and perspective, and keeping her grateful for the experiences we’ve been given.

 


 

I’ve written this post probably eight times over this year, and I never share it because it comes across as obnoxious and privileged {exactly what I’m not trying to portray}. But I wanted to share it because it’s on my mind a lot. I work hard at what I do {too hard sometimes} and these trips are work for me, but also a super joy. I love doing them, and love that I get to take my family to work with me. I hope you take this for how it is intended, a sharing of the inner-workings of my mind, and thoughts about kids and travel.

Do you think travel and experiencing the world is important for you and your kids? Also, how do you teach your kids to be grateful?

  • Jade Symonds

    Travel is a wonderful gift for your girls – it’s good for the soul and expansive in a way that school can never be !! And you not only work hard, you GIVE so much of yourself – so don’t apologise for the opportunities that have arisen through your hard work and dedication !! 🙂 happy travels ! X

  • Marianne

    Go for it! 🙂 I think everyone has to decide what’s right for themselves – we’re all different! But speaking from my own experience (living overseas and travelling a lot as a child – and adult!), it has given me SO MUCH. In addition to learning about the world, it teaches empathy, humility, openness, gratefulness, and perhaps even a greater sense of love for home and family – as well as connectedness with the world. I remember my childhood travels as grand family adventures – and I hope I can give my son the same kind of experiences! 🙂

    • I love hearing this Marianne. I hope that I’m giving my girls this. I do think I could add another layer, and show her ‘real’ parts of the world on our travels. I met a family that do that, to show their kids the difference, and also get them to volunteeer. I think Lacey is too young right now, but it’s definitely on my mind.

      I hope your son has wonderful travels and memories. 🙂

  • Katie

    I think its awesome experience. Like you I never hopped onto a plane until I was 18. Travel is more accesible nowdays.
    We are on the verge of a OS move and I am nervous about it for the kids but the positives outway the negatives. With kids getting exposure to the world.

  • Rachel Ryan

    We always travelled when I was younger but only in the family car. We would go camping regularly to new places. I first got on a plane a couple of years ago (I’m now 28) and it was only to go to Central Queensland to visit my children’s grandparents. Next year I’ll be taking my first overseas trip to Bali for my 2 of my friends 30th’s. My kids love to travel and I love watching them learn new things in each place we visit. I like to make sure if they miss school, that they learn something important while away. Whether that’s something educational or a new skill depends on where you go. We were extremely lucky enough to win a week a the snow this year and the terms of the prize included no travel in peak times (ie school holidays) so I had no choice but to pull the kids out for a week. I discussed it with both their teachers and the school and everyone was really supportive and assured me they would learn a lot from the trip, which they did. Of course it was also a lot of fun but I believe it was worth missing school for a week. I think any kind of travel benefits children, it gives them a new experience and places to explore which most children thrive on.

  • Karen

    When I was younger we travelled mostly to family overseas. I live in Holland and family was in Hong Kong and NYC, so those where quite exciting travels. When I grew up I kept the traveling with cousins, with friends and later with my husband. Every year we will go somewhere we never have been en revisit places we had good memories. When we got kids we promised ourselves one thing: we will keep traveling. And we did. I still have family overseas which makes traveling easier. We both work hard and we can afford to travel 2 or 3 times a year to beautiful destinations. Each travel makes us a little bit more smarter I think, because we learned another culture. We heard another language. We ate something different. We met new people. So I think travel are good for children and grown ups ; )

    If the situation you are in right now feels good for you and your family, go on and live your life! It’s like you said, it could be over tomorrow. Education makes children smarter, the real world also makes children smarter.

  • I really struggle with being limited to school holidays from an affordability point of view. Going outside of hols can mean a destination becomes affordable. But I recently moved the kids to a school where academic achievement is highly valued and I want them to benefit from that environment as much as possible. When we took the kids out for 3 weeks this year I worried that it was disruptive to their teachers and classmates. And it was hard to fit the school work into an already very busy trip. The school was completely supportive but I feel if I’m expecting their teachers to raise them up to achieve the best they can, then taking them out of class seems a bit counter-productive. I would definitely take them out of school again and am a passionate believer in the lessons that travel teaches, it’s just how often is appropriate as they get older.

    But for your famils Chantelle I think it’s different again. It’s one thing me saving a bit of money by going outside of school hols, but it’s another doing things that you would never get to do otherwise.

  • murphy scanlon

    My mum was a big believer in life education & took me on a few amazing trips overseas and within Aus. They are incredible memories I can still recount 15 years later & I learned more about poverty and wealth from a week in Mexico than I ever did in school, I learned more from saving for a holiday than I did in Year 10 maths. Education cannot be limited to the classroom when the world has so much to teach us <3

  • Cat Bensein

    Damon and I have discussed doing the same thing if the opportunity comes our way. I definitely believe in traditional education for my children, but I would be more than willing to take small breaks for them to learn from the school of life.

    We go to Tasmania every year so the girls can visit their grandparents, I’d love to take them to the sea horse farm!

    I’m glad you’ve finally shared this post Telle, it’s amazing that you have these opportunities available for your children, you shouldn’t ever fear that might come across as obnoxious, we all know that your down to Earth. It’s part of your charm!

    We’re all happy for our friends when good things happen for them, and our friends are happy for us! ?

  • Charlotte Gray

    My parents took me out of school (year 9) for a month to travel to central Australia. My teachers carried in like the world had ended (late 90s, maybe it’s changed now), one even had the audacity to say to my dad it could effect my chances for university. Please! Dad just laughed. It was the best trip, I still remember it. Oh and I went on to do a double degree and masters ?

  • Kathy

    Absolutely agree. Travel is a lesson in itself and young children especially can learn more from travelling than in a classroom. My only pet hate was that teachers always used to say, just get them to do a diary each day of their trip for homework. Sounded easy enough. But trying to get four kids to write their experiences of the day when we would get back to the caravan park or cabin we were staying at meant other kids to play with, pools to swim in etc, they would come home to fall into bed after showering. This meant the day before heading back to school a harried time of “what did we do this day, no after that” trying to remember what we did day by day.

  • Leesa Massey

    We have taken our kids out from school to travel. We see it not only as an amazing opportunity for them to see and experience new things but a time to spend as family and create wonderful memories.

  • Val Ruzicka

    Absolutely agree.As a retired teacher I used to encourage the kids to keep a journal with lots of bits and pieces stuck in….the older ones could write about the day.
    Add photos,drawings,even leaves etc…….and wonderful memories and experiences .

  • My friend, you reap what you sew. You are one of the hardest working women that I know and all of your opportunities are well deserved. You could not come across as obnoxious if you tried. Enjoy xx

  • I. Love. This! It’s not just about luck, you work hard for these opportunities – and your girls will see that. Yes, they’re lucky but they’re also clearly intelligent, open, caring girls who are making the most of these trips and giving back to others, whether it be making friends or sharing knowledge at show and tell. x

  • Jennifer

    We took our kids to Japan for 7 weeks when they were 10 and 13. Keeping a diary was sort of OK as we travelled by train a lot and each of the train stations had a stamp which they would put in their “passports” just for starters. I’d also collect brochures, photos etc each place we went to so they had something to write about if they wanted-a few times they just stuck things in! From time to time, they still get the books out (they are now 30 and 33). In the intervening years, they’ve both done a fair bit of travel and lived OS as well and have friends from various parts of the world. I don’t regret any of their time out of school as I know their travel experiences have been important in the way they view the world.

  • I’ve also been lucky enough to travel a fair amount with work. Famils are definitely no holiday but they are a privilege and I’ve been lucky enough to take my husband with me on a couple of occasions. Travel is so crucial – at any age – in reminding us that it’s a big world out there and that are always so many new things to see, learn and experience. Enjoy it while it lasts!

  • kirsty pfeifer

    I live in Germany and sadly you cannot take your kids out of school for holidays 🙁 If it is something really important you can discuss it with the Principal but apparently the request is quite often rejected. I have 2 more years before my little one starts school so we are making the most of long and frequent trips. I have even heard that if you take your kids out of school without permission the police will be called. There have been instances where families have been escorted back to the school from the airport!!

  • Barb N

    … have a wonderful time Chantelle.
    I think it’s great that you are able to give your children first hand knowledge of different countries and cultures….. and your Mum.. xxx Hugs… Barb xxxx

  • I’m so glad you shared this Chantelle and you need not worry about sounding privileged and abnoxious!
    There are some things that simply cannot be taught in a classroom, only experienced and you are giving your girls a very special gift via travelling and experiencing the world. As a result I have no doubt they will grow up to be grateful, respectful and with some street smarts too! Super important in this day and age! Xx

  • This is such a beautiful photo to have. And a great reminder that kids have no judgement. Your children are incredibly blessed to have parents who have worked hard for these opportunities… and I bet they will be very grateful as they get older. xx

  • Tash Jay

    Travel is an amazing educator!
    And no, not obnoxious at all!

  • Meryem Celik

    Exposure to different cultures, foods, religions and most importantly to be critical thinkers is also very important. We are so lucky to be living in such a resourceful country like Australia. As a family we jump at every holiday opportunity to go overseas. It is during these travels when we go overseas that we are able to show them how to be grateful. They see people, things they are not prone to and question it. Through these little experiences they learn. I also show them on the map where exactly we are travelling so they have a better understanding on our location to the rest of the world. I would love for them to plan a holiday around the world when they are a bit older.

  • Ms Betsy xo

    You are not coming across obnoxious, you are working, some may think its a perk other may think its a nuisance, you my friend are making the best of the opportunity. I totally agree re the travel and taking kids out of school, if I had the opportunity I’d do travel over classroom any day – the experiences are priceless, learning about the world cannot be taught only experienced. Once you have travelled, your world is your home.

  • Love everything about this post. Children learn so many things from travel that they cannot learn sitting behind a desk in a classroom, which is exactly why I try to travel with my daughter as much as we can afford to. We have a little goal at the moment to try and visit every zoo in Australia.

@Fatmumslim