Written by CocoaMamas contributor, Tracy M. Bostic
I believe strongly in taking vacations. Maybe it’s because I can count on one finger the vacation I remember taking with my family when I was a child. I can’t recall how old I was – maybe 8 or 9 – but my mother took my older brother and me to Disneyworld in Florida with some close family friends.
That was the first time I’d ever flown on a plane and for a million more reasons, it was a very memorable trip. I wish we had gone on more vacations, but I am grateful that my mother was able to take us on that trip because it planted a seed that grew as I did.
My love for travel is inexplicable. I would truly spend all of my days travelling the world, exploring every corner of this diverse and wondrous globe, if I had my way. And maybe someday I will be blessed enough to do just that. Until then, I travel as often as possible and I take my children along because I want them to see the world and gain exposure to new places and cultures that will shape their view of the world.
At ages 9 and 3, my two boys are pretty well travelled. My oldest has seen the sun set in Jamaica, swam with dolphins at Atlantis in the Bahamas, and fed the iguanas in Puerto Rico, to name a few of his adventures. The youngest had his passport before his second birthday and is becoming quite the beach bum like his brother and his mom.
I love the look of wonder in my boys’ eyes when they travel to a new place and see something they’ve never seen. It gives me an unmatched sense of pride to enable my oldest boy to practice the Spanish he’s been learning in school in conversations with passersby he meets while touring the rainforest. And we’ve visited Disneyworld in Florida and Disneyland in California so often that my boys seem to believe they have a special connection with Mickey and his pals.
My husband and I aren’t tremendously wealthy. I’m not writing this to brag about my exploits as a world traveler. I simply wish to convey the importance of exposing all children – but especially young Black children to places and experiences that are outside of what may be considered their comfort zone. I know for a fact that as people it is difficult to believe what we have never seen. As the saying goes, ‘if we believe it, we can achieve it.’ Well, I believe that if children are exposed to different cultures, including varying lifestyles and experiences, it will awaken in them a curiosity and understanding that is essential to achieving success.
If I want my children to grow up believing that there is nothing outside of their grasp, I have to do my part as their parent to show them the world and encourage them to live without limits and boundaries. And, even when time or financial constraints keep us from booking those international excursions, I make sure that our ‘staycations’ are as memorable as time spent travelling abroad.
My philosophy is to never make excuses about travel – meaning, my family will travel, no matter what. It is important because we bond in amazing ways when we’re having fun as a family. We enjoy new experiences together and learn valuable lessons while sampling new foods and exploring exotic locales. I know my boys enjoy and appreciate it because they yearn to get away and see something new – when they see a commercial advertising an amazing place, they don’t say “I wish we could go there,” they say “I’ve been there!” or “can we go there next?” It’s a great feeling; I encourage everyone to see for yourselves.
Whether your dream is to trek across Africa on safari, be blissful on the beach in Bali or savor the flavors, sights and sounds on the Las Vegas strip, I say make it happen. The bills will be there when you get back, the job, obligations and school will be, too. And you and your family will be more relaxed, refreshed and renewed in the sharing of a wonderful experience together. Happy travels!