By Rhonda Stanley
A teacher once told me, “the greatest education you can give your children is the education of travel.”
That was her response to me asking permission to take my children out of school for a vacation in Puerto Vallarta. At that time, the twins were still in the primary grades.
They are now 18 years old, and we have taken between 1 and 3 family vacations every year. BOY have they been bitten hard by the travel bug.
We have visited many mainstream destinations: Mexico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Cuba. When you plan a trip to one of these places, you always know you’ll have a great time. Nothing beats a relaxing piece of paradise with the perfect blend of sun, sand, and sea.
But the less mainstream adventure travel destinations have been the difference-maker for my kids. That’s where the education of travel really comes into play. Places like Fiji, Australia, Europe, and most recently Southeast Asia.
They’ve stepped out of a bure in Fiji into the most spectacular aquamarine water with snorkelling gear on and being swarmed by dazzlingly colourful fish. They’ve visited a Fijian Chief to ask permission to visit one of the 322 islands that make up that county – this one was happened to be the island where Tom Hanks filmed "Castaway" .
In Europe, they’ve experienced so much history: the Holocaust museum in Berlin, the famous Notre Dame in Paris, the Vatican City in Rome, the ancient ruins of Ephesus, the Acropolis in Athens, and Copenhagen's Tivoli.
Travel has been such an indispensible part of our lives. My children really don't understand how fortunate they are
to have experienced so much of the world.
For me, the life-changing trip was Southeast Asia which we just visited in March.
Perhaps my favourite was Cambodia. What an amazing destination with its rich history and breathtaking temples - the most famous being Angkor Wat! The people of Cambodia are truly beautiful, humble, and probably the most sincere people I have ever met. They own so little and yet they have so much. We’ve all heard it's the little things that mean the most - our gifts of pens,
pencils, toothpaste and toothbrushes, body soap and shampoo were truly appreciated.
Just this past week, during history class, my daughter Natalie was studying the Vietnam war. It was the first time she came home excited about a history class, because she has actually walked in the Cu Chi Tunnels and visited the War Remnants Museum. She had experienced Vietnam, and she could share her knowledge and experience with the class.
While their travel experiences have provided my kids with an education, it has also given them freedom; they have the confidence to go out in the world as they graduate from high school.
Whatever they choose to do or wherever they choose to go, they have an amazing understanding of what the world has to offer. "The world is their oyster".