The Doctor is Out (of his mind)

A Note on the Virtues of Family Travel

If there was any doubt the world has gone well and truly mad, such doubts can be easily put to rest by the existence of a recent article on family travel. In particular, a piece discussing the ‘science’ behind why parents should refrain from taking their young children on foreign holidays.
Don’t worry Doc, it’s fake.

Yes, according to leading British child psychologist, Dr. Oliver James, the delicate psyches of little Johnnie and Suzi are at danger of being somehow stunted or hampered by annual family adventures of the overseas variety.

If that all seems a bit far-fetched, rest assure the good doctor put the theory to the test. This accomplished by subjecting his impressionable brood to nine straight years of balmy coastal Cornwall summer holidays. Nine steadfast years in the face of soul crushing north Atlantic weather whose sole redeeming quality was in allowing the group to bond amidst the always-look-on-the-bright-side-of-life rationale of, ‘Well, alright, so it’s raining. But at least it’s not windy.’

But such self-flagellation was not an effort in futility. Far from it, actually, because when all was said and done, Dr.
No fear, she’s had her shots.

James points out it gave his little tykes just what they needed the most. This being “a safe, predictable space in a shifting universe.”

And besides, the article goes on to point out, because a young child’s pleasure perceptors are not fully developed until their teens, ‘your tiny traveller is not equipped to enjoy the strange smells of a Moroccan souk or the awesome sights and sounds of a Peruvian rainforest.’

Which all left me with one simple question: WHO THE HELL CARES?

It seems the good intentioned doctor was missing the whole point of family travel. This point being it’s called family travel for a reason. As in because it involves the family. The entire family which, in my book, most definitely includes  the needs, wants and dreams of the top of the familial food chain…good ol’ mom and dad.
She’s super happy…on the inside.

Yes, the parents. Believe it or not, we have needs, too.

And as far as this family is concerned, one of those needs is travel.

Because, while the responsibilities of parenthood can alter my sleep patterns, can dramatically crimp what were once passionate, day to day hobbies and can minimize my time with old friends, at some point a line in the sand must be drawn.

A line stating there will sooner be complete peace in the Middle East before our travel habits will be sacrificed at the altar of hypersensitive overparenting. Especially when such sacrifices revolve around the fragile needs of those who are still crapping their pants, inclined to eating handfuls of sand or incapable of going more than 20 minutes without their daily fix of ‘My Little Pony’.

And it’s a line that is to be crossed at great peril. As in the first time I hear a four to 12 year old Kaia inject her
Kindy…Kaia’s safe, predictable place (till further notice)

preference of, say, home over a few weeks in perhaps Cambodia, Laos or Palawan, let’s just say the girl’s ‘safe, predictable place’ is going to be quickly relocated to a shifting universe in a galaxy far, far away.

Planet adoption sounds just about right.

Eventually the day will come when Kaia’s impulsive needs and wants will have the opportunity to be aired and factored in to our travel plans. It’s just that day isn’t today. And come to think of it, the next few weeks, months and years aren’t looking too promising either.

You see, as long as Mr. and Mrs. Columbus are sailing this here ship, she’s stuck with us regardless of what the good doctor has to say on the matter.
Plane Crossing: Helmet, CHECK

Because at the end of the day, I don’t think it a stretch to say a child’s happiness hinges substantially on that of their parents’ own contentment. And as far as Kaia’s parents’ contentment goes, nine straight years enduring average to subpar holiday time together, all in the name of routine and familiarity is a sure fire recipe for disaster.

No, a happy kid is happy for a reason. Namely, because of the love and joy they experience at home.

Regardless of wherever, from time to time, that home may happen to be.









  1. Cecelia May 24, 2017 Reply
  2. Beth Pancoe May 24, 2017 Reply

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