The Moment When My Child Was Changed By Her Travel Experience

We like to think of ourselves as a traveling family. My kids have been all over the United States, from East to West and North to South. Before enrolling in French in high school, my daughter Kaitlyn, didn’t really speak on international travel. It took only one meeting with her French teacher to open her eyes to the possibility of traveling outside of the United States and completely immersing herself in another culture. This was Kaitlyn’s 2nd year in French but this experience is what helped her see the world through different eyes. She had been learning the language and the culture in class but there is no better classroom than traveling the world.

Of course, her excitement led to my excitement.  Still, I went into the parent meeting thinking, “This would be such a wonderful opportunity, but can we really afford 2 weeks in Europe?” We were surprised at how affordable it was especially with the ability to make monthly payments. Outside of that, I felt confident in WorldStrides’ ability to provide her with an experience unlike any other, while keeping her safe throughout her travels. We had her schedule, all hotel and tour guide information, airfare and train dates and times and all in one place, on the WorldStrides website.

The trip was to take Kaitlyn to Rome, Florence, Nice, and Paris. When Kaitlyn landed in Italy and stepped outside of the airport, I really believe her life changed forever.. Here are some of the text messages that I received in only the first 2 days.

“Omg fun!”

“Let’s go to Switzerland for Christmas.”

“I want to come back to Italy and go to Milan, Venice, Verona, and back to Rome”

“I’m going to start saving up to go back to Italy.

“We’re driving along the coast of Italy and it’s so pretty.”

“It’s just green mountains, villages, and oceans.”

Student in Paris

She is already planning to participate in another WorldStrides international trip (with the same teacher) in 2021. This recent trip reinforced what we’ve always taught as parents – Our culture is just one way of living. It helped her to see the importance of learning, interacting, and respecting different cultures. She realized how small of a bubble she’s lived in, even with the travels we’ve done as a family. She is interested in all parts of the world, not just what’s in her backyard. Stepping outside of her comfort zone has made her more aware and more willing to try new things. This travel experience has changed her life in ways that no textbook or classroom ever could. International travel has created a different and overwhelmingly awesome perspective by helping her to value experiences over things.

Elese Reedy, Blogger
Instagram: @bewanderlove

Article written by Elese Reedy

Elese Reedy
Elese Reedy is an elementary school teacher and travel and lifestyle blogger for be.wander+love. Elese lives just outside of Birmingham, AL with her husband, children, and miniature schnauzer.
Categories: Travel Stories