Regular readers will know my parents took my sister and I campervanning around Europe for six months when we were young. I was nine, and my sister was seven; she says she doesn't remember much about it, while I feel like I remember quite a lot, beyond what my parents have told stories about or photos I've seen.
My son first went to Europe at just four months of age, so he clearly doesn't remember that. He's now four, and I would really like to think he will remember some of this himself: but memory is a funny thing and I'm sure we can influence what he remembers, too, and this is how I'm doing it!
1. Lots of travel photos, all the timeI love to make up digital scrapbooks after our trips and although I'm not always prompt about it, I'm usually extra-inspired because I want him to have some tangible memories and a book about his travels to read at bedtime!
|Our digital scrapbook about our European trip is a popular bedtime read at our house|
We also make it a habit to sit at the computer now and again and scroll through photos of one of our trips. At his young age, visual is king - for him, looking at photos of our trips (plus the odd video) is like watching TV but with him in it!
2. Telling stories of our tripsBedtime at our house has lots of books, but sometimes it is great just to tell stories too, and my son will regularly ask for "the story about ..." - something that happened on one of our trips. Obviously I've planted the seed by trying to be a good storyteller and tell him these stories in the first place, but it's definitely worked and now he'll ask to hear travel stories. Like the one about the time the people set fire to the coconuts ... (that was for the Thaipusam festival in Penang in January, in case you're wondering!).
|That time with the burning coconuts during Thaipusam in Penang ...|
3. Relating everyday stuff to travel memoriesObviously, I'm the kind of person who thinks about travelling very often. That makes it natural for me to bring up travel memories in all kinds of everyday situations. "We're having noodles for dinner, a bit like those ones you ate in Penang." Or when we're at our local zoo: "Remember those rhinos we saw fighting at the Dublin Zoo last year?"
|Obviously delicious noodles at a hawker centre in Penang, Malaysia|
4. The big picture meaning of travelling youngIn fact, I don't really mind if my son remembers our actual trips in any kind of detail or not: what I am really trying to do with all this talk about travelling is instil a genuine love of travel. I think it's such a valuable thing to do, life-changing and inspiring, and I want him to grow up feeling confident to travel wherever and whenever he likes (of course I may regret this in some ways if he decides to live on the other side of the world from me!). The details aren't so important, but remembering that he loves to travel is.
Over to you:How old were you when you first travelled to another country - and do you remember it?
I'm linking up with IG Travel Thursday, and you can check out some of the other great posts below.