Why Europe?

I was covered in goosebumps when our plane landed in London in September of 2007. I had always wanted to study at Harlaxton (my university’s study-abroad program) but was not able to due to financial circumstances beyond my control (that story is another post for another time). Since missing out on that opportunity (my husband missed out on it, too), I had been dreaming of going to Europe on our own. Right after we got married, we bit the bullet, bought the plane tickets, and never looked back. On the overnight flight we took to London, I didn’t sleep a wink and was completely and utterly exhausted by the time we landed, but my adrenaline was so high that it got me through a good part of the day before I crashed. I’m actually pretty sure I cried when the plane landed on British soil and it gets me a little teary-eyed even thinking about it now. (I know, I’m a dork.)

 

Lots of people have asked me why I spend my time planning (and taking) trips to Europe when there is so much to see in the good old US of A. I agree that there is so much to see here in the United States, but there is also so much more outside of the United States. There is nothing that compares to the feeling of being outside of your comfort zone in a foreign country, especially when you don’t speak the language. Because my family essentially came from Europe, as did so many of our traditions, it is awesome to see how they began and how America came to be what it is today.

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The three of us in Budapest in 2012

Another question I get a lot is why we would ever take a small child (or children) to Europe. Yes, I know this is crazy, and I know it’s not for everyone, so I’m not suggesting that everyone should be doing this. It is definitely not as cheap as if we just stayed in the US and it can be stressful. But when talking to another parent I know, she mentioned that by taking our children to Europe, we are making the world accessible to them. I really like that idea.

I want our children to know there is a whole world out there and that people are different, but in some ways the same, all over the world.

I want our children to never take for granted what we have here in the United States and to feel proud to be an American.

I want our children to view people of other cultures as equals even if we live differently.

I want our children not to be afraid to explore places they are interested in and to have exceptional experiences while travelling.

I want our children to be able to navigate their way around any part of the world they might happen to be in and to not be fearful of the language barrier.

Yes, there are definitely ways to instill all these things in our children without taking them to Europe, but we have certainly been blessed to be able to let them experience some of these things hands-on.

For more about why we (and other people) travel,

check out this post about the topic.

 

14 comments

  1. Angi says:

    I haven’t taken our boys outside of the US but they both (at different times) went on cruises with Grandma for their 5th birthdays. One went to Mexico, the other to Canada. They both learned a lot about how other countries are different but the same. They’re now 10 and 9 with dreams of going to Australia. At least, they’re trying to steer our next vacation that direction. I’m not sure if I’m up for that long of a plane trip, but we’ll see.
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    • Rachel says:

      Yeah, I don’t know where you’d be flying from, but Australia is a really long plane ride for us, too…Europe isn’t too bad, but it’s long enough for me at this point!

  2. So jealous of your trips they all sound do amazing!! I would love to go to all these places you talk about.

    • Rachel says:

      We just decided to start doing it instead of talking about it. It really isn’t as hard of a trip to take as it might sound:)

  3. I think that it’s seriously awesome that you guys take the littles on such amazing trips! And I think that when they get older they will be really thankful that you went on such special adventures with them.
    Michelle @ The MaMade Diaries recently posted…I’m Now an Official Nuby Mommy Blogger!!!My Profile

  4. I’m glad that since you are so passionate about it that you are able to go. You will definitely have a great time since you are anticipating it so much.
    Tammy @ creativekkids.com recently posted…Uh-oh! How did January go? #GoalsMy Profile

    • Rachel says:

      We have just made travel a priority in our family right now. We may not always be able to do it, but for now, we plan to do what we can!

  5. Miranda says:

    You know, I’ve always been hesitant about bringing our small children to Europe. We’ve been thinking more about it lately and your post couldn’t come at a better time! It really reassures me that it’s not as scary as I’m thinking! It’s always hard to take small children to another country, but you’ve reconfirmed that we want to do it!!
    Miranda recently posted…Fun Friday Link PartyMy Profile

  6. Part of waiting (not because I wanted to but not able to get pregnant) for six years, I was able to see a lot of America. I love going outside of America. There is so much more out there. I have to say, I’ve seen the Grand Canyon and the Sin Ferosa, which is from the same mountain line of the Grand Canyon and it is in Mexico. Mexico side was prettier. I have also seen Niagara Falls on both sides. Canada side was prettier. If you only stay in the US, you are missing out. I want my kids to see it all too! They have not taking a trip yet outside the US, but this year they probably will!
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    • Rachel says:

      I’ve seen the Canadian version of Niagara Falls (and I agree – it is nicer!) but not the Mexican side of the Grand Canyon…that would be awesome! There are some really great things to see in the US for sure, but there is much more to the world than this little corner;)

  7. I’ve never been to Europe but hope to go within the next few years. :)
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    • Rachel says:

      We love it there! Where do you think you will go? You should check out some of the posts I have about saving money in Europe once it is closer to the time. I am also working on an e-book that might be of interest to you once you are ready to start planning!

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