5 Reasons You should start Traveling with Kids Early

I guess you could say, I was born to travel. I mean, it is sort of in my DNA. My Father grew up as an original Third Culture Kid. Born into an Air Force family, he moved from England, France, Morocco and Syracuse. When he joined Foreign Affairs, he and my Mother instantaneously began to move and travel. At one point, I tried counting the amount of planes I have been on, and I lost track at 350… that is a lot of flying!

I don’t actually recommend moving as much as I have, it has been difficult to say the least, but I love traveling with my son, and showing him what the world has to offer. We began traveling with him at the ripe age of 2 months. He went on his first plane trip at 4 months, and he hasn’t stopped. Now, he is more independent, being able to read, pack and heck navigate any airport himself at the age of 8. He is an absolute blast to travel with, and comes up with the best observations.

  1. Since we are Canadian, I feel we live in a ridiculously clean, safe little bubble. I don’t want my son to know just his safe bubble, I want him to see the struggles and poverty that exists outside of our regular lives. In Canada, poverty is easily masked, it isn’t in your face as it is in other countries. I grew up facing dire poverty outside of our diplomatic bubble, it is pretty hard to ignore in countries such as the Philippines and Venezuela. It made me more compassionate, and I want my son to grow up with the same compassion for the plight of others. He now stops to give food to the homeless in Toronto and Vancouver, he doesn’t ignore.

2. With Travel, comes a wisdom, and a feeling that so much is possible in life. The more we travel, the more we are sharing history, knowledge and             possibilities with our son. Instead of making our life smaller, we are expanding it.

3. Having lived the life that I did, I had a lot of fears, it comes with the territory, but one of the best things that travel gave me, was a sense of                       fearlessness when it came to experiencing something new. I wanted to pass that to my son. I watch so many people who are terrified of moving,             whether it be for school or a job, so they stay in the same spot, getting angrier and more depressed. Their fear of moving, even if it is for                           something better, paralyses them, so they don’t do it. From day 1, I wanted to make sure my son didn’t have fear of the unknown, the unknown               can bring the most fantastic adventures, friends, and experiences. Travel, has already created that. He is not afraid to hop on a plane, nor is he               afraid of us moving again, even though, I am pretty sure, we are already creating roots here.

4. Bring on a more open-minded kid. I grew up with 2 conservative looking parents, I mean, my mother wore pearls and sweater sets, and                            well, my  Father was rarely out of a suit and tie. Yet, they were the most open-minded people you could meet, at least, my Father was,                                sometimes I think my Mother has digressed, but that is a whole other blog post. My Father was pretty clear in one thing, skin colour, religion,                sexual identity and gender, were all off the table in assumptions, no question was dumb or off-limits, but answers, well those could be dumb,                  and quick judgments on anyone were quickly scolded. Our son, is exposed to different cultures, religions, and in the case of Thailand, gender as             well as sexual identity. I don’t shy away from any subject, no matter how awkward I feel about it.

5. Confidence. Being able to travel and get out of your comfort zone, takes a certain amount of confidence. By starting to travel early, you are                       essentially feeding your child a kind of confidence that only comes with travel. Seeing and doing new things in a different culture and language,             helps build a confidence that can’t ever be taken away from a child!

Happy traveling everyone.

Dip Kid


Culture Shock – Fitting In

This is a rather delicate subject matter as I have a lot of opinions surrounding this. Having been a Diplomatic Kid, there were and still are very few moments I feel I fit in, chidhood is hard enough when you stay put, but when you mix in moving constantly, it brings on a whole other level of crazy. Actually, I don’t really like the idea of fitting in, I like the idea of finding a tribe, people who are like you, but can also lift you up when you are down.

Let me paint a little picture. When we first moved to this suburb, I did what I always do, dive in and become social. I had people over, hosted parties, and organized a Mums Night Out. Last year, something began to shift in me. I realized, I was tired of living in a suburb, and living this life. It seems to happen like clock work, after year 3, I am done. Obviously, I have a 7 year old to think of, and have promised myself that I wouldn’t keep moving, I wanted my son to have the roots I never had, even though I have no idea how to create roots. Last year, I became depressed, and my PTSD came back to haunt me. I began to gain weight, and I wasn’t sure what I needed or wanted.

So, I retreated, began to meditate and reflect on what it was that a) I wanted b) where I was going wrong. Over the last 6 months, I began going to museums on my own, going to the gym regularly, and started to take Spanish and Dutch for fun. My whole demeanor changed, I am calm, happy, and intellectually fulfilled.

Last week, I had been invited to a charity luncheon with the group of ladies that I had made when I first moved here. I hadn’t really heard from them, I occasionally see them at school pickup, but I haven’t attempted to reach out to them. They certainly have made no effort to contact me, in fact, i think they only invited me to fill the table.  I arrived, I was happy and delighted to experience the lunch, and art around me, but I was more interested in learning about the charity than talking about decorating, building or shopping for various pieces in the house. I was bored. When it was time to leave, I gathered my things, and all of them, and I mean every single woman who had driven, turned to the other mother who had walked and asked if she needed a ride. No one even looked at me, or acknowledged my existence.  For the first time in my life, I laughed in my head. That insecure Diplomatic Kid inside of me, was no longer insecure, but completely happy and secure. It was a weird moment of letting go.

I had agreed months ago, to go to a ladies Christmas party at a friend’s house last night. I showed up, no one greeted me, no one batted an eyelash when I walked in. They were too busy hugging each other. They were all talking about the shopping trip they had made together, and how much their husbands don’t listen or buy them, what they want. I quietly went into the kitchen to get water, I was accosted by one Mother who claimed loudly “are you still doing that no drinking thing?”, I nodded, and just said “yes”. Apparently, not drinking and working out, makes people feel really uncomfortable. I smiled and started to deflect and ask questions. I stayed for over an hour, and then decided it was time to exit as everyone began to drink more heavily, and rant about their daft husbands. It was the first time I noticed, they were all truly unhappy, and had negative energy. I realized in that moment, I have always tried to fit in, but trying to fit in doesn’t make you happy, it just makes you depressed. I have spent my whole life being 2 different people, as I hated sharing the Diplomatic side to those who weren’t part of that life. In reality, that is the only side of me, I am and will forever be, a Third Culture Kid. I was so happy last night, even as I had been excluded completely, I knew deep inside of me, who I was, and where I was going.

The fact it has taken me this long to really work on my own happiness, which frankly, happens with Mothers, we think of everyone else before ourselves. I noticed a few things, I don’t want to be friends with unhappy people, nor do I want to surround myself with people who don’t want to explore the world or spend energy lifting people up. Where I feel most comfortable, is talking about the world, the next adventure, how to do all this with a child, and exercise, I love exercising and eating clean 99% of the time. As I was thinking all of this, I got a text from a fellow Diplomatic Kid, it was like the universe was giving me a big sign! I told her where I was, and she laughed. She basically expressed the exact same sentiment, that the only time she felt she fit in, was letting go, and being herself.

As a kid, the concept of fitting in, is pretty intense, especially when you move so often. With every move, comes an intense insecurity. That insecurity seems to follow you into adulthood. I was not insecure going into adulthood, as I began working at Foreign Affairs, which was comforting on so many levels. When I became a Mother, and had made a switch to leave Foreign Affairs, I began to feel vulnerable and insecurities began to fill me. Breaking the cycle, took a lot of work, but it is all possible no matter what stage in life you are in. You have to embrace who you truly are, flaws and all.