How to discover the world together with the youngest? The growing number of adults traveling with their children inspires other parents to set off on an independent long journey at their own pace.
Joanna Nowak, the author of the blog Somos Dos (in Spanish: “We are two”), who has been travelling for five years with her daughter around the world. Their journey began in South America, and now the mother and her 6-year-old Gaja are in Southeast Asia. Although this lifestyle is certainly unusual, their story can serve as an inspiration for many parents who dream of discovering the world with their children.
A plan based on knowledge
Already at the stage of planning a trip, you should visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to check current warnings and health information. When going to the so-called countries of the Global South, it is also a good idea to get the recommended vaccinations and take probiotics as a preventive measure. Despite the preparations, it sometimes happens that you choose not to go on a trip out of concern for your kid. To quote Joanna from the Somos Dos blog: – My heart yearned for Papua and New Guinea, where the Goroka festival began. I wanted to show my daughter tribes whose costumes, customs and cultures are considerably different than what we know.
I decided to additionally verify the information provided on the official government websites. I contacted, among others, Poles traveling to these areas. If I had to go alone, I would have set off without hesitation. But I’m with Gaia! I don’t have a filter bottle, our mosquito repellent clothes are worn out, we are not vaccinated against diseases that occur in those areas and we’ve been a little bit ill lately. I had debated with myself for several days. I couldn’t sleep and was wondering what to do. Finally, I said goodbye to my dreams. This trip should be, above all, calm, safe and attractive for Gaja, and I won’t be able to prepare us for it well enough to fly with peace of mind.
When traveling with children, the rhythm of the day is much calmer. Let your little explorers enjoy a beautiful roadside stone, an unusual shell or a lizard on the wall. From time to time, you have to stop to look for a playground, although sometimes it is enough to find a higher wall or a few flat stones on which your child can jump. The youngest are eager to explore the world and take on new challenges. In her articles on the blog Joanna emphasizes: – I encourage Gaja to face the unknown, if only she wants.
If I see that she is afraid of something and wants to give up, I also support her. I always say, “Be attentive” and “Let’s do it safely”. It is also true that, regardless of their nationality, children are curious about each other and treat others with sympathy. Even if they do not know languages, they can always use this universal language that can be understood in every corner of the world – that is the language of having fun together.
The wide-open world
Family escapades open you to other people. During them, you have more time to talk and learn about a different culture, as well as exchange opinions or compare, without judging, child rearing methods in different countries. The author of the blog Somos Dos emphasizes that a leisurely trip with her daughter does not come down to seeing one monument after another, but rather meeting new people. Joanna and little Gaja travel on a budget in the so-called backpacker style – they sometimes spend the night in a hostel, but above all enjoy the hospitality of local families.
This is how new friendships are made. The traveller also pays close attention to the needs of the host community. In the Philippines, she helped a single mother to set up her shop, and with the enormous support of her website readers, she supported the old Manganese couple (Mangyan – a tribe living in the Mindoro Mountains) and renovated their decaying bamboo huts as well as bought rice and coffee, so that they could survive the difficult rainy season.