Embrace your Inner Wild
Updated: Mar 23, 2019
We are all born into this world as blank slates, open and malleable to our external environments. As our bodies get bigger - our lives can seem smaller and smaller and that call for the wild lessens. Maybe we subconsciously mute it because it provokes a sense of fear or maybe our lives become so busy that we forget that we need it. All I will say is this: don’t let your kids miss out on the magic. It’s a magic that also lives within you.
One of the most impactful memories that I have from childhood is going on a Road Trip from New York to Arizona and stopping at National Parks along the way. From Glacier, to Yosemite, to Yellowstone, to Arches, to Zion - if there was a way to objectively find America’s natural beauty, I would tell anyone to make sure they plan a trip to see these majestic protected landscapes.
There is no way to gauge the impact a travel experience will have on your child but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan it. Speaking from my personal life, maybe I didn’t realize what it was doing for me in the moment. Then, going back to that first day of 9th grade knowing I had just seen the most beautiful places in America - I held a gem within that helped me get through some of the harder times. It was like that trip helped me find a part of myself that grounded me. I held a knowledge that stayed with me no matter what.
The Student and Youth Travel Association conducted a survey in January of almost 1,500 U.S. based teachers and discovered that 74 percent of educators believe that travel has a “very positive impact on students’ personal development.” Fifty-six percent of teachers believe that traveling can have an impact on student’s education and career. These teachers believe that travel has effectively altered their students confidence and personality in the classroom and on the playground. Additionally, 76 percent of teachers believe it takes just one trip to ‘really make kids fall in love with travel.’
If one trip can make a child fall in love with travel, it means that in some way their experience is altered and a spark is ignited in them that makes them want to explore the world. As we raise kids in a society that promotes competition and hierarchy - it’s important to give your kids a chance to see their own reflections in children everywhere. There is no reason to teach our kids to strive to be better than anyone else - but to see the value in others from all walks of life. This is something that travel can provide.
A 2018 report by Resonance Consultancy pointed to the increasing importance of millennials to the travel market. 44 percent of millennials take their children on vacations with them. Family trips are one of the fastest growing segments of the tourism industry. In 2017, U.S. travelers were expected to travel 6 percent more while millennial families were expected to travel 35 percent more. These numbers are only growing as the desire to share experiences with loved ones grows among today’s youth. While many people consider this uptick in travel with family to be a result of FOMO (fear of missing out) - I would also liken it to the growing interest in adventure and accumulating worthwhile experiences. With the impact that Instagram is having on culture, 29 percent of millennials refer to family member’s posts to help them figure out where to travel.
Millennials can be labelled as social media obsessives but that cannot be the only reason for such an influx in travel especially with their families. Therein lies a desire to expand out of the monotonous day-to-day living with a hope for something more. Maybe there is a wish to impart a better way of life to their kids. It’s easy to see that the generations to come will be paving a way for the future - and travel is a way to find what unites each and every one of us and create a better world.
Whether you decide to do a family road trip around the states or thousands and thousands of miles away to a completely new destination - never underestimate the importance that travel will have on your kids. Deciding to leave the comfort of your home and experience new cultures, landscapes, and ways of thinking can activate growth in a way that nothing else can. All children deserve the chance to stretch the confines of their lives and see alternate ways of being. In this way, real compassion can be found in our world. It doesn’t have to break the bank or set anyone back financially - but always remember traveling can lead to a change of heart. It can give you and your family a gift that can bring you closer.
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