Traveling with family is one of those special rituals that a person can take with him/her as an important childhood memory; travel days stand out against a backdrop of time spent at home. I agree with Jeff Bogle, creator of the Out with the Kids parenting blog and contributor to many high-profile parenting resources as well, when he says that it’s all the little things that happen on trips that add up to a total childhood experience and influence a life. He adds that a child is not too young to start soaking in these experiences even if that child may not entirely recall the trip later in life from such a young age.
I’d like to add something to that; because at this stage in life, as a dad, I’ve found a new way to engage my passion as a musician – by sharing it so intensely with my own daughter and with kids and families everywhere – and am enjoying music career success like I’ve never known before. This has opened up the opportunity to travel occasionally to perform. What this brings to mind is what happens when traveling with a young child with two purposes in mind: sharing with your child the local culture and travel experience is what families usually have on a trip; and In our case, offering our very own creativity to these different places. I get to demonstrate for my daughter the interchange of culture — soaking up the local flavor while also sharing our flavor and leaving something of ourselves behind on the trip.
Today the band and I will perform at World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington, DE for the Peanut Butter and Jams concert series (Doors open at 11:00). This will be my southernmost public performance of music in my life, and, if this pattern continues, this is the beginning of a geographic expansion of our family and musical travels. At this show my high school friend Mara Gorman, creator of the Mother of All Trips blog will offer her perspectives on traveling with the family as well; she’s authored a book on the subject.
Next time you travel with your family, what cultural elements might you and your child soak up together? In what ways can you exchange bits of culture with the people you’re visiting? How can you involve your child in this exchange of creative energy? Please discuss in the comments below.