One night after reading a book to my kids, I had an intimate conversation about our recent travels with them. My daughter is five and my son is seven years old. I asked a few random questions that brought genuine laughter and smiles not just to them but myself as well. But most importantly the wonderful lesson I learned from them. Here is how the conversation went.
What was your most favorite travel and why?
India: “In india”, but we’ve never been to India. “Oh, I mean in manila because we traveled in an airplane; and Yona (a dachshund puppy),I really like the dog. I was scared at first but she really likes me”.
Joel: “The Philippines because of family and friends; and I really like the swimming lesson, and we get to sleep late. We got to choose anything in the grocery store, which was really fun!”
Do you like to travel in an airplane?
India: “Yes, because you can see everything, but after that my ears starts to hurt”.
Joel: “Yes, I like to go on a plane because I can go to the bathroom on my own and I can watch my sonic 2, and we get tasty food like cafeteria food in school; and after we get to sleep late, and free internet in Jetblue; and also (repeating his sentiments about sleeping) we can stay up all night!”
Where do you like to travel next?
India: “I like to travel in an airplane”… no, I mean what place do you want to travel next? “In the Philippines because I like Yona the dog. I had fun there. And I had so much fun with the chicks and chasing them around and feeding them.”
Joel: “Ofcourse the Philippines, because we can see family and friends again, we can see our animal friends and we can get more yummy dutch milk in the grocery.”
What are the things you don’t like about traveling?
India: “The sun hitting my eyes”.
Joel: “When we finally leave”, what do mean? You mean going home? “Yeah, I miss family, friends and animal friends. We just call them on messenger now.”
What place in America do you like the most when we travel?
India: India thinking hard.. Do you remember any place? “Sedona!” Why do you like Sedona? “We got to play with our friends and we get to play with a snake (in a safari zoo), and talk about silly things like popcorn and weird scary halloween stories.”
Joel: “Amusement parks”. Where else? “When we saw tita (auntie) in Wisconsin; and the beautiful snow. I like the cheese puffs in tita’s house”. Cheese puffs? You mean pumpkin pie? “Oh yea! That too!” Where else? “In las Vegas because we went to Chuckee cheese and got cotton candy with auntie and uncle.”
What’s you favorite food when we travel?
India: “The Philippines food because I like the yummy yellow Philippine hotcakes (Joel inserts, “oh yeah thats so good!”)
Joel: “The Texas food; the meat and fries because the fries taste like cheddar and the cheese is yummy crunchy. Jollibee in the Philippines because I like the crunchy chicken. I like the LA pizza too.”
The Damnoen Saduak market | Phuket, Thailand
What’s your favorite song when we travel?
India: “I like hello Seatle.” Then she went on to sing.
Joel: Joel humming the song, Song for all time by Joy Electric, I also like all of owl city songs (India, I like owl city too!).”
Why do you like to travel?
India: “Cause you can play with your animal friends (talking about Yona again) and the baby chicks, I just catch them and hold them and feed them.”
Joel: “because I get to see family and friends.”
Toys or travel?
India: giggles, “Travel, because I like my Yona dogs to be my toy, swimming lesson, the baby chicks keeps running so I have to hold them close to my chest.”
Joel: “Travel”, why? “Because toys you just play with, but you don’t go anywhere and meet friends, and you get so bored and then when you get board you think about hotels.”
How much do you think travel cost?
India; “uhm hundred million”. why? “Because its so much dollars in the Philippines.”
Joel: “I think it cost $15,000 i mean 5,000 or something because..” Why that amount? “I don’t know, mama never told me.”
How far is Vietnam?
India: “One hundred miles, I mean 3 miles away.”
Joel: “I think 5 kilometers, or I think 50 miles away; maybe the same as the Philippines like 11 hours or something, papa?”
The conversation went on throughout the night. We each expressed our thoughts and the desire to travel more; and as the night grew deeper, so they too fell into a deep sleep.
What I learned most valuable about this conversation with the kids
Travel expand a child’s world beyond anything we can teach them. They imagine things and create abstract and wonderful memories in fragments. Innocent and tangible. They may not retain the details on the travel, but for sure make them well versed about the world. They are a wonderful opportunity to converse with when they are excited about the things that’s happened, and the imagination that plays along with the conversation.
Children love an intimate connection. They prefer to connect and play. They can forget about the long 22 hour flight and find a little boy or girl of the same age and share their toys. There is no language barrier. They are the most fluent in connecting with other kids and they are the most vibrant in their conversation.
Children usually don’t remember the place, they remember friends and acquaintace. They hold on to the memory, will forget their names, but randomly remember and talk about it on a normal Wednesday morning going to school– which also lifts me up on my mid week grind, when I need it the most.
Children show you how independent and resilient they are when you let them show you what they are capable of. They are little tiny humans with incredibly big hearts that teaches us alot about humanity and how we ought to treat one another.
Travel is a way of breaking through the boarder of limited skills learned in school or even at home. It brings them closer each time to becoming the very unique and diverse individual that they are. Continue to encourage and inspire them to look forward to the next travel, be it far or near. Your children grow up fast. They are your world, so bring it to them in return.
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