Would I do it again?
This is the question people keep asking.
Would I travel across the world with my three young children again?
I’m not a big traveler. I have neck and back issues that make flying and driving uncomfortable, plus I’m really a big homebody and a scaredy-cat. So there’s that. And traveling with kids is never easy.
But I will do it again.
- Traveling is temporary. As long as flights and delays may be, you eventually get somewhere. It’s a necessary evil. Sometimes it’s disastrous with vomit and poop and no change of clothes, while other times it smooth. Either way, travel is not the destination.
- Opening their eyes. I’ve lived a sheltered life and have been narrow-minded at times. Exposing myself and now my family to the vastness of the world can only improve and expand their world view. I think it’s healthy to remove ourselves from comfort at times.
- Kids are resilient. The things that I thought would be the hardest for them–seeing extreme poverty, going without (showering) water for three days, adjusting to a foreign culture, etc. were actually taken in stride. I learned a lot from my kids: they accept things for the way they are and are naturally compassionate.
- Living is a risk. Many people questioned our decision to put our children at risk in a third world country. But if I trust God with my kids going to public school, riding in cars, living in America, isn’t He the same God I trust while we visit another country? I don’t hold their little lives in my hands, God does.
- Flexibility is key. When you travel 26 hours straight, sleeping and eating on an airplane, your body and mind are pushed to limits you didn’t know existed. My hubby and I constantly reminded each other that we needed super-sized patience and flexibility with our kids.
- A careful plan. I think it’s extremely important to have a calculated plan with contacts and people on the ground to guide your journey into another country. I don’t think we should take our kids into knowingly dangerous places. It’s vital to use wisdom when we’re considering traveling overseas.
- Kids will be kids. At one point on our trip, our youngest was having a full-blown meltdown. We were tucked away in our room, but the entire house could hear her. We were a little embarrassed and there was some tension between my hubby and I. But then he put it in perspective, “She would be doing the same thing at home if she didn’t get her way.” He was right. We disciplined her and moved on.
- It’s only money. It is very expensive to travel overseas as a family. There are travel vaccinations, costly flights, rentals, etc. I’ve always been very tight-fisted with money…even a hoarder, trying to save as much as I can. But then God showed me the way the rest of the world lives. It just seemed wrong that I was piling it up for me and mine, when my brothers and sisters in Christ didn’t have enough for one day. When we were leaving Kenya, one of the sweet girls in the maternity home said, “Will you all come back?” I told her how expensive it was and she said, “But you have enough faith for God to provide all of this for us, won’t he also provide for you to come again?” Yes, I believe He will.
Updated to today: We are heading back to Kenya in a week!
What do you think? Will you ever (or have you) travel overseas with your kids?
Edited repost from 2011