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-"But mom - that's not Mumbai, that's Dubai!"

-"But mom - that's not Mumbai, that's Dubai!"

Travel with children

I don't know how many times I've been asked this question. That question that I always give the exact same answer to, but that I really don't understand why anyone asks at all. Most often, the question comes in a discreet second sentence, "Yes, but doesn't it feel a bit unnecessary to go to?" with the daughter now, isn't it better to wait a few years so she can remember the trip?” My answer is usually the same. I travel mainly for myself, to experience things with my family, not to check off places on a list. Just because we're traveling to a place with daughter now, doesn't mean we can't go back again when she's older!

Granted, I can readily admit that the daughter doesn't have too many memories of when we were in Yosemite when she was 10 months old, nor can I say that she can tell Prague from Budapest (which she visited when she was 3). But somewhere in there she started to pick up on things. It could be dishes, colors, flags, specific events or clothes, because with every trip a memory stuck. She even remembers some events better than I do. Like when she threw up in the hotel room in Waikiki the first night in Hawaii - a memory that she vividly remembers, but I must have repressed.

This weekend we had a real family cozy night and watched Mission Impossible 4. The sofa cushions were fluffed, the popcorn bowl filled to the brim and the cozy pants were on. The husband and I had seen the film before, but for the daughter this was the first time. The death-defying scenes where Tom Cruise climbs the outside of the Burj Al Arab still gives me chills (HOW do you climb the outside of a house with battery-powered climbing gloves?) and after some exciting encounters with the villains, the team has to quickly relocate to a party in India to get the codes. The daughter has by this time taken the popcorn bowl in her lap and follows the film's fast cuts with great focus. A few quick clips from India and the extravagant party in Mumbai begins. The party is in an incredibly beautiful building overflowing with gold, flowers, glamorous guests and marble. Suddenly the daughter says: "But mom - that's not Mumbai, it's Dubai".

My husband and I look at the daughter. She continues watching Mission Impossible and frantically eating popcorn as if nothing had happened. The man and I look at each other. That can't be right, can it? She can't be right, can she? We both pick up our mobiles and browse IMDb. Imagine our surprise when we see the line where it says that the party in Mumbai was actually shot at the hotel Jumeirah Zabeel Saray in Dubai – the hotel we stayed at in June. Now that I knew where the film was shot, I recognized myself too. The jumping fountain in the reception, the golden pillars, the road out on the Palmen. It was clear that it was in Dubai! But the only one of us who saw through all the fake smiles, props and decorations – was our daughter.

I hope and believe that experiences and experiences you gain by traveling make you a safer, more open and stronger person. Experiencing other cultures and religions gives you an understanding of our complex world and opens up more tolerance and love. The fact that the daughter recognized a hotel may not save the world right now, but how much more has she not experienced and has memories and understanding of which we have no idea? I might actually change my answer the next time someone asks why we travel with our daughter. Maybe I'm not actually traveling for me anymore, I'm traveling for hers.


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Read comments (4)
    • Thank you Ann-Louise! :) Children seem to see the world from a completely different perspective than we do, which rather feels like it broadens my horizons. We adults get stuck so easily in the obvious, while children question everything and absorb knowledge. Actually absolutely wonderful :) :)

  • So agree with you! Love traveling with the kids (still even though they are now over 20). Partly because we see and experience differently, which is so exciting. But mainly for all the shared memories that are created. So incredibly fun to gather around.
    Great text!

    • Thank you please Cathinka!! :D :D I completely agree with you about the common memories that people gather around, they are definitely getting more now every year that the daughter gets bigger. Really hope that she will want to travel with us when she turns 20, must be incredibly cozy to talk about each other and create new shared memories even when they are adults!

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