If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard another parent said “…but traveling with kids is SO hard,” I could probably fly around the world by now! Yes, children add a level of complexity to life, no doubt. There are more bags to pack, more gear to haul, and more nap and bedtime schedules to consider. But there is also an exceptional amount of joy, awe, and wonder they infuse into life.
This summer, instead of experiencing travel FOMO and thinking of all the places you’re not, let’s embrace our reality and explore!
Sometimes, we simply need to create more space to explore where we already are instead of going somewhere new.
As an avid world traveler and self-proclaimed “Life Explorer,” this lesson hit home in way I didn’t even know I needed. I can get so busy planning, dreaming, designing, and acting that I fill my time so full so there isn’t space to enjoy being where I am now.
Before, I assumed I must be off on some grand adventure to really be exploring the world I lived in. Now being a “Life Explorer” was expanded to include the ordinary, wonderful moments that we all can so easily access. Especially in my own backyard, neighborhood park, or tree-lined street.
This is the true test of exploration – to be where you are and still find the adventure!
The Mindset of a Life Explorer
The mindset of a Life Explorer is marked by possibility and action. Rather than focusing on a destination, it is a state of being that is defined by the following qualities:
Life Explorers aren’t afraid to live and play. These creative nomads turn big dreams into tangible realities because they figure out innovative ways to live their life. Rather than waiting for life to happen to them, they create the kind of life they want through their intentional actions and living out their desires in a positive way.
Now this doesn't always materialize into a month-long European vacation and generally doesn’t even require a passport. But it does involve imagination and willingness to look for the opportunities available – no matter how big or small.
Some of our favorite ways to explore with kids:
Get outside. Find a new spot to hike or picnic. Enjoy the fresh air and breathe deeper.
Blow bubbles. Because no one can really every be sad or mad when there are bubbles.
Go on a treasure hunt. Buy small toys in the dollar bin at Target and hide them around your yard or at the park. Create adventure.
Expand your vocab. Choose one new word a day to learn together as a family and then see how many places it shows up in your community and everyday dialogue.
Get crafty. Whether it’s your newest Pinterest obsession or simply drawing with crayons, do something creative.
Check out a local museum. Support the arts or see what the science center is featuring. Explore!
Plan a day trip (or an hour trip). You often don’t have to travel very far to explore something new.
What’s On Your List?
“I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list.” Susan Sontag
In my twenties, I set a fun “life goal” of traveling to at least as many countries as I am years old. Now as a mother, it’s become a huge value of mine to expose my children to other cultures and ways of living so they, too, can have rich life experiences and fall in love with exploration. I’ve been to some amazing places – including living abroad in the Middle East and taking a one-year-old to Belize!
While my “dream destination” list does include some fantastic and faraway places, these days, I’m finding that I crave more quality experiences where I am now. It’s a season to settle in, sip iced tea, and enjoy the simple pleasures of summer. There will be more big trips and family getaways. Now, we play, explore, and find peace in exploring exactly where we are.