Transform Your Kids' Lives Through Travel

Created: 13 September 2013

As a kid growing up in New York, my parent's commitment to traveling with me and my sister transformed our lives. It exposed me to new perspectives, and gave me respite from the small and sometimes cruel social world of high school. The farther I went away from home, the more it challenged me to see myself differently than the kids at school did. I saw people who had none of the material possessions we did, but were bursting with joy. I met local people whose values seemed inconceivable to me yet allowed them to live a rich, fulfilled life. As I grew older, the seed that had been planted blossomed into a full-blown desire to make the most of my own life. Each destination taught me something different. In Costa Rica I saw that life could be as fun as Disneyland and I could have a career doing something I loved. In Asia I felt the impact of Buddhism in the peace and joy that permeates the people. Africa taught me humility and gratitude.

In 2005, I was fortunate to return the favor to my parents. In their early 70's at the time, I took them on their first adventure travel trip to Costa Rica. My mother had a fear of water, and hadn't been in the ocean since she was a child. I got to hold her hands in the 85 degree water as she bounced up and down with the gentle waves, at first shaking in fear, then relaxing and laughing as a child. It is one of the most profound memories I have of her.

As the President of Wild Planet Adventures, everyday I hear from parents who want to give their kids a summer vacation that is more than just a fun time full of jet-skis and beaches. They want to expand their kid's perspective on life's possibilities, feed their passions for nature and animals, and impact their life choices by exposing them to sustainable, responsible ways of being. The great thing about travel is that it can accomplish all of this without compromising fun, excitement and a relaxing time for Mom and Dad as well.

What about your family? If you have a story about traveling internationally, exhilarating wildlife encounters or a life-changing moment for you and your kids on vacation, please share with us on our Facebook page.

-- Posted by Josh Cohen, Director, Wild Planet Adventures

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