Our daughter, Avery, went on her first road trip at 2 months old. She got her first passport a month later. At five months old, she earned her wings on a domestic flight from Oklahoma to Minnesota. Two days after she turned 6 months old, she went on her first international vacation to Costa Rica. And by the time she turns one (where did this year go?), she will have been on six round-trip plane rides, visited two foreign countries and five states. For some families who have made a living out of traveling, Avery’s stats are nothing to brag about, but for the average working family, who has an allotted amount of vacation time to use, I say our little girl is off to a good start.
Many of our friends have told us we’re insane for traveling with an infant. But I tend to think we would be insane not to. For one, infants fly free(ish) for the first two years! Secondly, my husband and I love to travel, and we aren’t willing to give up our shared passion simply because we are now parents.
On a deeper level, we want Avery to grow up global. We want her to be a world citizen, with a broader perspective of culture, history and geography. I don’t just want her to read about waterfalls; I want her to stand beneath one. I don’t want her to simply study the Renaissance period in a book; I want her to gaze on the brilliant works of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci…to stand in front of the Mona Lisa and be completely underwhelmed. (Sorry, da Vinci.) Perhaps most importantly, I don’t want her to fear those who look, sound or dress differently. Instead, I want her to strive to understand and appreciate those differences, to embrace other cultures with an open mind and love indiscriminately. I want her to experience the world, and become enchanted with its captivating beauty.
So while right now, our 10-month-old globe-trotter would just assume tear the pages from her passport and try to eat them, one day, that same passport will tell a story of her life… a life lived all over this amazing planet.