Travel to Learn Kindness
This incorporates food, but it is off topic a bit from our normal share.
When we travel, we understand the world better. With all the differences and hate that seems to go with having contrary opinions today, I wanted to share how we raise our family to embrace and appreciate cultural and domestic differences; how we eat, think, believe politically, and live. I’ve learned much from the variety of friends made in this world. Truly, it would be boring if we all felt the same; and who would push me to open my mind and see something new?
Just as Clive Davis could identify the good in all kinds of different music, my gift is the ability to see good in all people (including myself!). Maybe this is why I work so passionately to help foster and orphan kids. Learning differences teaches kindness.
Growing up in a super small town, I couldn’t wait to see the world! As a child, my world existed within a 2-hour radius and inside adventure books. Life is beautiful in the country, but I wanted to travel and see the whole world.
Somehow, I knew that if we traveled we would find so many different things that God made and experience all the foods and cultures and ultimately find bits of truth all over the world.
A Family Effort
When college-time came, it was a menagerie of friends from all over the world. I started in Nashville, traveled singing with some pretty famous folks, got married, and finished college in California. Soon after we got married, my husband and I sat down to set goals for our future family. We wanted to learn all that life had to offer, so our list looked like this:
- Work abroad and travel the world seeking truth.
- Fulfill our engagement commitment to adopt and birth children– assuming we can do both.
- Have adventures!
Reality…we are Aspiring Expats. We:
- apply for jobs out of the country and it never happens.
- try to adopt and have challenges, so we foster.
- get an enormous adventure! See our Story
It reminds me of the Disney movie UP. The old man looking back at his wonderful life with his wife and how they want to go to Paradise Falls, but life just gets in the way. So… you modify and appreciate the journey you make.
Every single year we apply for jobs overseas, and it doesn’t happen. Thus, we begin to save our money and find a way to bend around our goals. We go online and look for the best flight deals. Then we go to Home Away Vacations for a non-tourist home location. Realistically, we decide that a month seems an appropriate amount of time to experience the culture of a place. That means Daddy usually comes for a week or two and we stay the rest.
Homeschool Program with Travel
We begin to study the language and culture 6 months to a year in advance. Our travel rules are simple:
- NO STAYING IN TOURIST LOCATIONS!
- Get involved with the neighbors as much as possible.
- Dress like the locals, live like a local, and…
- Learn, learn, learn!
Thus far, we have been able to learn so much. Shopping locally, we are able to live for 4-6 weeks for less cost than our friends who do the typical tourist travels and stay for a week or two. Plus we are not being served in glamorous hotels; we are experiencing the culture and people.
Experiences to Date; We have:
Gone to school in Costa Rica.
Explored the cockpit of a real jet.
Seen a culture of farming in every nation we have visited, like this statue and crop art in Peru.
Discovered new foods like this yellow rambutan.
Hiked a Rain Forest, fell in, and swam in Puerto Rico.
Found unusual, gargantuan, bugs like this 4-inch-plus poisonous caterpillar.
Acquired new skills like surfing in Costa Rica.
Corrected wrong assumptions; the Sea of Galilee in Israel is a giant freshwater lake, not a salty sea, and The Great Wall of China is not one level on the inside.
Viewed amazing man-made feats like the Panama Canal Zone locks and The Great Wall of China.
Although we still haven’t obtained an expat job, we have achieved our goals in a round-a-bout way through travel. Our children are more kind and accepting of other cultures and definitely globally-minded. Genuinely, a better glimpse is visible on how God makes each culture unique and wonderful. Each nation has a different feel and spirit to it. Our goal is to grab all “the good stuff” and spread it around!
Currently, we continue to learn and travel when we can- but we embrace the fact that life is full of twists, and we are thankful for all the unexpected bends and blessings we have been given!
May your life be filled with wonder as you learn and hopefully appreciate our differences. May it manifest into tremendous kindness.
This article is also shown in part on a beautiful Mom’s Expat site, And Here We Are.