I’m a father of two beautiful adult daughters ages 28 and 24. I feel the lessons they’ve learned and the life skills they’ve acquired from travel have been more valuable than anything they learned in college. So if I didn’t support women in travel I should be evicted from my man cave and have my man-card revoked.
Lesson #1: Don’t pass up opportunities.
On a road trip to Disney World we stopped for gas and snacks. One of the girls, I won’t say which, insisted that she did not need to use the restroom and refused to go. Of course, fifteen minutes after we got back on the interstate, she needed to go. I was in no mood to stop the car, having just stopped. Yes, she wet her pants, but she did learn not to pass opportunities and I learned that when a little girl says that she needs to go – she needs to go.
The lesson of not passing opportunities is about a lot more than going to the restroom.
In traveling they’ve learned that each journey may be only their only opportunity to explore off the beaten path, or try something new.
It has instilled the confidence to take chances and to be spontaneous. They’ve also learned to look at their lives as a journey and not to pass the opportunity to pursue their dreams, or to help someone out, or to make someone smile.
Lesson #2: Know a place’s history.
Rick Griffin of Midlife Road Trip with his daughter, Kacie, in Capri, Italy
Many of our travels have taken us to places of historical significance. As a result my girls have a greater of understanding and appreciation for history.
My wife and I took the girls on their first historical tour in Boston. Our tour guide was much more colorful and interesting than any of our history books. And actually being there gave the girls a sense of being connected to the events that transpired and a desire to know more. We’ve included historical tours in our travels as a family ever since. And, I’m glad to say that learning the history of a destination is part of my girls’ travel routine even when they travel without my wife and me.
Lesson #3: Things don’t always go as planned when traveling (or in life, for that matter).
Daughters playing chess at the Rose Hall Resort in Jamaica
Travel has helped shape their personalities teaching them patience, resourcefulness, and the ability to go with the flow.
We were looking forward to a beach vacation in Destin, Florida. We were greeted by torrential rains that forced us inside the condo. O.J. Simpson was running from the L.A. police and occupied every station on the television inside the condo. The girls were bored out of their minds and were making it impossible for my wife and I to enjoy the chase. We were all getting on each other’s nerves and our misery was escalating when my wife wisely pointed out that there was nothing that we could do about the weather or what was on television and that we could either choose to be miserable or choose to think of some way to pass the time.
We ended up making a tent in the condo living room out of some extra bed sheets and I taught the girls to play poker, using Ritz Crackers for poker chips. We actually had a pretty good time. The next day the sun had returned and we had a fun day on the beach.
That evening, the girls wanted to play Ritz Cracker poker.
As my daughters grew older, they’ve had opportunities to travel overseas. Traveling abroad had not only given my daughters a greater appreciation for who they are and what they have, but it had inspired their personal creativity as they’ve experienced how other cultures prepare food, create art and navigate life.
Whether a short family road trip or an extensive trip abroad, lessons from travel have played a vital role in developing them into beautiful human beings.
Most importantly, it has taught them what is really important in life.
While they appreciate tangible “things,” they’ve learned that material things have a finite life, but experiences, memories and feelings last a lifetime.
My most treasured memories are of my travels with my daughters.
Rick Griffin is the founder/creator and co-host of the Midlife Road Trip, an unscripted food, travel and adventure series. Rick’s website, MidlifeRoadTrip.tv, was named by The Luxe Insider as one of the “Best Travel Blogs for 2014” and named by “TripIt as one of the “15 must read travel blogs for 2014.”
Rick has been designated by The Travel Media Group as one of the “Top 20 Twitter Travel Experts” in a list that includes Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern. Rick named one of the Huffington Post’s “39 Inspiring Men,” and has been featured in a variety of media including Daytime Television, BBC Travel, and USA Today.