Why Travel With Your Baby? He Won’t Remember
We heard it often and we respectfully disagree. I mean, he probably won’t remember that we hiked to the top of 2244 metres high Mount Krn in the Julian Alps with him when he was 10 months old. Few kids remember what happened in the first years of their lives. But do we say that just because they don’t remember then it doesn’t matter how you treat a baby or a small kid? Of course, not. The happenings of our first few years are with us in our subconscious. And modern psychology discovered that they actually have quite a powerful influence on our personality.
So, yes, I think travel matters just as everything else matters, even for a baby. It’s just in a very different way than it matters to us. It didn’t matter to him that we took him to Lake Bohinj, but he liked the pebbles on the lakeshore. It didn’t matter to him how Bled Castle reflected in Lake Bled on a calm morning, but he smiled at the ducks that came close to us. He didn’t care about the name of the waterfall, but he laughed at the sound of rushing water. It didn’t really matter to him that we happened to visit Slovenia, but he saw his parents excited about exploring new places.
To him, the important things are that he’s with us, and we take care of him. He’s easy to satisfy, it’s us who are more complicated. We could have taken him anywhere, and he’d have found exciting things, because every single thing, be it a pebble or a leaf, is exciting to a baby. But we’ve taken him to Slovenia, because we enjoyed exploring Slovenia. And we matter, too, don’t we?
I’m not saying that everyone should travel with their babies. There’s no point taking a baby somewhere to show him the place, obviously. It’s us, adults who are eager to see those places. As for us, travelling is our passion. We travelled before our baby was born, and it hasn’t changed. A baby arrives into a family, and he fits into that family – and ours, among other things, is a travelling family. Though we travel differently than before.
So while we don’t think our baby boy will remember anything about Slovenia, we don’t care. That’s not the reason we took him there. We just went there and he came with us, because he belongs to us. And we will remember both the beauties of Slovenia and the fun and challenging moments of hiking all around Slovenia with our 10 months old baby boy. We’ll remember our first family trip with him. And we know that travel experiences strengthen our bond not just as a couple, but also as a family. It’s mostly the two of us who feel it at this point, but it’ll change with time – slowly, almost unnoticeably.
With that said, we don’t think that our little Tomi won’t remember anything at all. These memories will be a part of him. The fun moments on the lakeshore or in the forest. The noises and colors of nature. The tranquility of being in nature. The whistle of the wind. The experience of being surrounded by other people from different nationalities and races. All the faces he saw. All the languages he heard people speaking. The way he saw us interacting with these people. All the small things, pebbles, ducks, leaves, smiling faces, strange dishes.
But small things are the way to big things. Understanding our world and our place in the world. No, it won’t happen this year, probably not in the following 10 either. But travel will broaden his view of the world as he grows up – slowly, almost unnoticeably. We don’t think that only travel can make people tolerant and open-minded, but it was a great teacher to us – and it’s fun.
Finally, moving to a more practical ground, travel makes people more flexible, accepting and adaptable. Kids and babies, too. We know that babies and small kids are especially sensitive to change, and they need permanency to feel safe. But daily routine doesn’t necessarily mean that each day is the same. Whether we are at home or we’re travelling, our daily routine is organized around our son’s needs.
Our first trip only strengthened our belief that the cornerstone of permanency to our son is us. A different room or a different bed doesn’t matter that much as long as we’re there. We paid attention to his eating and sleeping times (which was easy, because whenever he was tired, he fell asleep in the carrier), but he also experienced a bunch of new things. Like a longer drive with several stops. Like bathing in different bathrooms (yes, to a baby, at least our baby, it matters whether it’s his own little bathtub or not). Like being caught in the rain while hiking. (Of course, we don’t mean he got soaking wet.)
We think that getting used to these experiences will help all of us in the long-term. They won’t just make our future travels less frustrating and much more fun, but also our family life in general. Because our baby learns how to adapt and accept unexpected or uncomfortable things – slowly, almost unnoticeably.
No, travel is not magic. It’s not only travel that can educate us or make us more flexible. It’s not only travel that can give a young boy experiences that he can benefit from. First and foremost, we travel together – with each other and with him – because we enjoy it. And it’s good for a baby to be around happy and excited parents.
What do you think? Have you travelled with your baby?