Vow to explore more in the year ahead. Here are five ways to fold an adventure into your future plans.
Go far. Stay close.
There is plenty of research to support the benefits of introducing children to new experiences and cultures apart from their own. When time and money are in short supply, open their eyes and hearts through books and movies that offer a window onto unfamiliar places. Consider an around-the-world tour powered by the written word or the visual splendor available on a large or small screen. Mix old classics (think Heidi in the Swiss Alps) with modern documentaries. Blend animated features, such as the “Lion King” with epic films such as “Out of Africa.” In no time, those places on the map will come to life and inspire future trips, all without leaving home.
Explore cultures close to home
Transport your family to new destinations or inside an alternate culture in your own town. Visit local restaurants or immerse yourselves in international festivals as a way to learn about customs and lifestyles while encouraging kids to expand their culinary range. Sample baklava at Greekfest or learn a jig at an Irish festival. Talk about the origins of different ingredients and why many are unique to different regions of the world. Seek out small, local establishments where it might be possible to learn about food preparation or even talk with the chef or proprietor.
Distance doesn’t matter
What might you discover within a short drive from your home? Are there small towns you’ve longed to visit? Are there mountains to climb or gardens to appreciate? Has a new resort or water park recently opened? How about campgrounds you might find intriguing? Carefully comb through the possibilities and choose one or more nearby locations to explore.
Plan an epic adventure
Is this the year to embark on that epic adventure you’ve talked about for years? There are plenty of boundary-pushing vacations that will intrigue families of various sizes, interests and bank accounts. Will you make your way into the Amazon? How about a hut-to-hut hike in Colorado or Switzerland? Or consider snorkeling or diving in Palau or the Galapagos Islands or tracking the Big Five on an African safari? Whether you sail, ski or sample culinary delights the opportunities to make memories with your family are many. The choice is yours!
Consider a family sabbatical
Overwhelmed? Tired? Ready for a reboot? Give yourselves permission to take a long holiday away from the pressures of family life as you know it. While it may take some time to lighten your economic load and plan for such an adventure, the benefits of an extended time away with your family can pay lifelong dividends. You’ll discover the joys of relaxed afternoons at the beach, evenings around a game table or hiking on a new trail. Your children with benefit from the rare and valuable lessons learned while exploring new cultures, listening to and then learning an unfamiliar language and forging a new path. Whether your sabbatical lasts for weeks, months or a year, you’re likely to return revitalized and with a fresh perspective.