I get a lot of emails in my inbox asking me to write or comment on a variety of topics. Yesterday I was asked my thoughts on traveling to foreign countries with kids, given the recent state of affairs. This one made me stop and think. How did I feel about the dangers of traveling abroad with children? I can tell you exactly how I feel: scared… and I think that really sucks. I think it sucks that when I was their age our biggest fear was a lost suitcase. I think it sucks that my parents told their grandkids they would take them anywhere in the world when they turn 10 and both my sister and I could not bear not being with them on non-US soil. I think it sucks that one day, and probably too soon, I’m going to have to explain the word terrorist to an innocent boy and girl. I think it sucks that when I walk around an airport, I question the size of a suitcase and notice when passengers travel alone. I think this is all really, really, sucks.
But here’s what I’m not going to do: I’m not going to keep my kids at home because of this fear. I’m going to swallow my fear whole. I’m going to take a deep breath, hop on an airplane, and show them the world. I’m going to do this because I refuse to let fear stand in our way. I refuse to let fear make our world small. I believe a small world has the potential to breed bigotry and prejudice. I believe bigotry, prejudice and fear was responsible for those hateful acts. I refuse to let them wonder what it feels like to stick their toes in a body of water other than the Atlantic. I refuse to let them wonder what it’s like to be submerged in a completely new culture; to let their eyes digest new sights, their ears hear new words, and their tongues taste new foods. I want to teach them that there is life outside their own town, their own city, and even their own country. I want them to be prepared; so when they hear something negative on the news they can say “I’ve been there. And I remember the good.”
“The purpose of life after all is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt