They say families can’t travel. We say…

Ah, family travel. The thing so many people love to say parents can’t do with their kids.

People say that when you have kids, you put your dreams on hold. We say… Well, we can’t say exactly what we say, because we aim to have this site be pretty family friendly. But let’s just say it rhymes with “pullskit.”

This quick clip on Instagram gives you the gist, and we dive into it more below, including what builds on to what we say about parents, kids, and family travel:

Yes, there are legit reasons why families can’t travel. That’s not the point.

Before we say anything else, though, the reality is that yes, sometimes families can’t travel.

We get it. Family travel is one of those things that can be so hard when you have kids. And there are legit circumstances where travel is not an option for a family. There’s no shame here for those circumstances, only our respect, support, and well wishes.

However, legit reasons are not the point here.

When people say families can’t travel, they’re typically not talking about difficult circumstances.

They’re talking about a sort of default position.

It boils down to a mindset that some mistake for, dunno, a law of physics: as if the mere existence of small humans with older humans somehow negates the possibility to shift your physical beings to different parts of the world.

And not only go Somewhere Else… but enjoy it. Brave challenges together. Get closer as a family, through sharing ups, downs, and onwards.

Not only that, but to help your children learn to make their dreams come true.

Kids are a reason to work toward your dreams, including family travel.

Family travel at Oregon's Horsetail Falls: Connor and Aster enjoy one their favorite pastimes during a scenic drive of the Columbia River Gorge's waterfalls.
Family travel at Oregon’s Horsetail Falls: Connor and Aster enjoy one their favorite pastimes during a scenic drive of the Columbia River Gorge’s waterfalls.

So, yes, some people say that when you have kids, you put your dreams on hold.

We say, “Having kids means you live your dreams so your kids see how to make theirs come true.”

Our kids learn by example. They see what we do, our way, so they can do what they do, their way.

For us, when we decided to start a family, we also decided that we were going to double down on achieving our goals and working toward our dreams.

That’s not because we have no problems, or our lives are perfect and flawless, or because we have unlimited resources.

Quite the contrary.

The way you live your lives will bring out your share of doubters.

Doubters decide what Jodie is capable of as an amputee without conversation.

Others assume we must have a lot of money to spend time traveling, otherwise we wouldn’t. (NEWS FLASH: We don’t. We just honed our budgeting superpowers).

Others think we should be staying at home instead of enjoying the outdoors during the pandemic. (Um…. no.)

There are so many places we have not gone yet. There are things we haven’t done yet. We travel because it matters to us. When something matters to us, we prioritize it. We adjust how we do things so we are working toward that priority. We align our lives about making our travel dreams become amazing experiences and memories for us and our kids.

If you’ve had doubters in your life too, don’t listen to them! Keep a laser focus on your dreams and goals. Make them come true, in the way you can at the time.

Family travel can bring families closer and help us care more about others.

Family travel: Friends working past a disagreement at Oregon's Hosmer Lake.
Family travel helps kids learn to work through and resolve disagreements.

It’s a big world. Media is full of examples of glamorous-looking singles, couples, and families globetrotting about with nary a care, to any spot they want, seemingly on a whim.

That’s cool, but it’s not the full reality. There’s still packing. Flight delays. Lost bags. Some jerk who tried to rip you off. Intimidating immigration people. That’s the icky stuff that doesn’t often make it to the final edit, the perfect published social post, the glossy magazine article, the shiny video.

There’s also the inspiring stuff. It’s just as real, and far more ever-present:

The people you meet. The shine in your child’s eye when they understand why you love traveling so much. The kind stranger who helped you. Trying new foods. The realization that all over the world, we have so much more in common than we do in difference, and our kindness is far stronger than our meanness.

Working toward your goals will also bring out your allies, fans, and bigger supporters… and don’t be surprised if they FAR outnumber the doubters.

Family travel can bring partners closer not only to their kids, but to each other too.
Family travel can bring partners closer not only to their kids, but to each other too.

When we decided to start our family, we were in the midst of other big changes. Money was so tight it squeaked. We knew we couldn’t necessarily go everywhere, but we knew we could figure out to go somewhere.

Far from doubting us, our friends and family told us they believed in us (though, sure, sometimes they probably also think we’re a bit nuts).

We found other allies along the way. Sometimes they helped us out of a quandary. Maybe they showed us a path where we hadn’t seen one before.

When doubters don’t see their worst-case scenarios come true, they go quiet. Some scurry away. Others do something else: They start to doubt their doubts. They start to wonder “what if… I could do this too?”

When people see you doing the work, it inspires their belief in you and what you’re doing. It also inspires their belief in themselves and in their own ability to try new things, to work toward more of their own dreams.

When it comes to travel, our hope is that other families see what we do, and realize that they can travel too, in the way that works for their family at the time.

There are few things more amazing than the feeling you get when you surprise yourself by doing something you used to think you couldn’t do.

You don’t have to go everywhere. But you can figure out how to go somewhere.

Where do you want your family to travel?
Where do you want your family to travel?

Even the most glamorous travelers don’t see the entire world.

While no one can go everywhere, that’s no excuse to stop yourself from going somewhere.

Travel is travel. Doesn’t matter if it’s around the world, to the next town over, or a nearby neighborhood.

Start as small or big as you can, as you wish, as you dare.

But get started. Find your way.

Let go of perfection.

Parenting. Having a home. Working. Cooking. All of these things we do in our lives, we have great intentions. A vision. Expectations. And sometimes, yes indeed, things go exactly as we hope.

But not always.

Just like your days at home have difficulties and imperfections, your days on the road will too.

Things go wrong. Someone won’t feel well. Someone’s going to get too hungry, or not have enough to drink. The perfect moment gets marred as a smudged camera lens.

And you know what?

That’s okay.

“The perfect travel moment” requires a heckuva lot of work (often from editing apps and a team of pros behind the scenes). It’s a construction. A fantasy. Fantasies are okay. They give us something to aim at. But just as you work the job you work, or you raise the child you have, you travel the trip you take.

Some things will be just what you hoped. Some will be mildly annoying or even calamitous.

But travel isn’t about perfection. Travel is about being somewhere. Together. Working through the good and bad as a family.

Family travel is messy and awesome. Tiring and rejuvenating. Just like parenting. Just like life.

Families can’t travel?

Pullskit.

You’ll be amazed where you can go—even with your kids—and what an amazing time you can have, traveling together, as a family.

Our family travels. And we believe your family can travel too.

About the author
Learners and Makers
We are the St. Clair Family: Anthony, Jodie, Connor, and Aster. As Learners and Makers, our family of four slows down, connects, and enjoys the world and each other's company. We have been traveling full time since 2022.

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