My husband and I are rebels.
Ok, not really, but sometimes it feels like it.
I mean, despite everyone’s wisdom about waiting to travel until kids are bit older, we packed our bags and took our 3 year old to Italy.We flew planes, rode buses, paddled in gondolas, sat in taxis, and climbed aboard trains.
It was quite the adventure and I’m so glad we listened to our instincts instead of waiting to take the trip. Our little one got to experience another part of the world through tastes, sounds and interesting new “sights.” She learned a few words in Italian, fell in love with gelato, and survived 2 hour dinners.
My husband and I also learned right along with her.
We learned that children are flexible.
As long as they have food to eat, something to entertain them, and the security of a familiar face (like mom or dad) they can thrive.
While we left behind her familiar toys, bowls of steaming Vietnamese noodles (her absolute favorite meal stateside) and her beloved Sparky-dog, she quickly found new pleasures.
Her new favorite meal was also a noodle dish but this time, it was spaghetti with fresh clams and shrimp. She couldn’t get enough of all the fresh seafood everywhere. We couldn’t get enough of watching her finding new foods to fall in love with.
She traded her toys at home for a simpler kind of entertainment…people watching.
She had so much fun watching all the hand gestures being used as they were speaking in Italian. She loved chasing the birds along the streets. She loved to just stop and listen to the language. Entertainment was all around.
Even something simple like riding the bus was a new experience. And we certainly didn’t have any gondolas back home!
And my favorite lesson?
We had just boarded our train in Milan, and had a 2 hour ride to get to our next destination, Venice.
A little girl and her father boarded right after us and sat across the aisle. We exchanged smiles with her father, and our little one said “Hello!” his daughter. She responded with a loud “Ciao!”
We settled into our seats and to our delight, found that the conversation between the two continued.
Our little one would say something in English and she would respond in Italian. And then both little girls would erupt in giggles. This continued on until we arrived at our destination. Both girls hugged, and then held hands and asked each respective parent if they could continue playing. Then both teared up as we said no.
That was the moment that I learned that childhood has it’s own language. And it’s universal.
19 thoughts on “Childhood – The Universal Language”
I love how you take your daughter right along for your travel adventures! I would love to do this with my daughter some day 🙂
It’s so much fun to travel with children. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise 🙂
AMAZING!!! Teach me your tricks.
So insightful. We have always taken our kids places younger than you’d expect and they’ve always thrived. We have yet to venture overseas, but that might be mostly because I am such a terrible sleeper on planes and fail at changing time zones. Keep sharing your adventures!
I love this! People are always shocked that we travel so much with our kids. I find that with consistency, introducing it early and limiting your expectations can do a lot for your trip. We’re actually planning out some long road trips to take with our littles. Hopefully someday we’ll be able to show them Italy too!
Roadtrips are so much fun!
I love this! My huaband is in a wedding in Spain in the Spring and our daughter will be 2. We have done back and forth about taking her. We want her to love travel too!
That sounds amazing! We’re doing the same – we’re going to Barcelona in May for my brother-in-laws wedding. Definitely planning on taking the munchkin along.
the story about the girl on the train absolutely melted my heart!
Ok, now I want to travel! You’ve inspired me to do it with kiddos!!!
Aww kids are really the most sociable people on the planet. Even with language barriers!
Beautifully written! Wishing you more happy travels’
I loved reading your experience. I travelled with my daugther too. Now we travel with the two of them. They are so openminded to different places and cultures.
Beautiful story and so true. Children don’t need lots of expensive toys and have the amazing ability to make friends wherever they go. I wish it were as easy as adults to do that!
Beautiful post. Makes me want to pack my bags and travel.
One of my favorite post of your blog
What an endearing and wonderful story. Children have so much to teach us don’t they!?
I think that travel should be an integral part of the chidlhood of everybody. If you teach them how different and diverse the world is, they will have less prejudices, will be more open minded and will learn how to approach problems from more complex positions. I remember when I was I Thailand that I tag for a few with a family with three kids that had decided to take a gap year from work and take their children on a world tour. And right then I realize how much I would like to that with my own. On our way back to the civilization one of the small children was talking with a monk, another one with a Swiss traveler and the smaller one was with his parents… that’s how we should all raise our children! You are doing an amazing job educating the future!
Thank you for your sweet, encouraging words. Traveling with children is just so much fun!