Traveling the World with My Son

 

Astronaut Ben on Space Shuttle 1“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” — Marcel Proust

I’ve traveled to some spectacularly beautiful places in my lifetime. I’ve visited over a dozen countries in Europe, 21 US states and four Canadian provinces so far, and there’s still so much I haven’t seen yet.

I’ve camped and kayaked on Lake Huron in Canada and watched stunning sunsets over the lake. I’ve climbed to the roof of the Chartres Cathedral and explored the chateaux in the Loire Valley in France. I drank fresh coconut milk from a street vendor in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and visited the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark. I’ve been to Hollywood, California and Times Square, New York, and I spent a week living in a remote village in northern Alaska.

Of all the places I’ve traveled so far, though, the place that has most inspired me to spend my time wisely with no regrets has been…my son’s daycare center. I know it doesn’t sound like much of a vacation destination, and if you don’t have kids, I’m sure you wouldn’t choose to go there instead of to some more exotic locale, but I must say that I didn’t regret a single minute of the time I spent there, watching my son sleeping, seeing him roll over for the first time, taking his first steps and saying his first babbling words. I loved — and love — watching him explore his own small corner of the universe.

Seeing everything through his eyes changed the way I experience the world, and I wouldn’t trade a minute of that time for any of my other travel adventures.

If anything, watching him grow makes me want to bring him with me on my adventures and show him what an amazing planet he lives on. I want him to expand his sense of adventure beyond just camping near home, to see that the world is so much bigger than himself.

My son has been traveling from Los Angeles to Canada with me to visit his grandparents since he was a baby. He’s great on long flights, much to the relief of our fellow passengers.

When he was two years old, I took my son to Florida to watch a Space Shuttle launch. The family videos from that trip were so sweet, with my toddler saying, “I’m touching a moon rock.” He watches our home movies of that trip while wearing a silver astronaut costume and sitting on an inflatable space shuttle in our living room. My son “remembers” the trip from the videos we took that week, since he was too young to recall the details of the trip on his own.

When he was three years old, we spent ten days in Tokyo in the spring, when the cherry blossoms were in bloom. We experienced Tokyo by visiting parks, zoos, and playgrounds in addition to temples, shrines, and palaces. Traveling was different with a little kid in tow. I needed to keep in mind what would interest him, and how far he could travel in a day before naptime. I even had to determine which subway stops were stroller-accessible.

Exploring even more of the world with my son will open his eyes — and mine — to new experiences, new cultures, new friends, and new vistas. I want to take my son to see the Grand Canyon someday. I want to show him animals in their native habitats, not just in zoos. I want to see the world through his eyes as well as my own. Our adventures together are only just beginning…

About the Author: Rachel Zimmerman Brachman: By day, I work as a solar system education specialist. In my free time, I write manuscripts for children’s books. I’m an inventor, a scientist, an educator, a writer, a mom, a knitter, and a world traveler.

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