Jul 12, 2018

What is so GOOD about traveling with kids? EVERYTHING!

Learn about our inaugural moms and daughters trip to Peru

BAck to blogs

When I started planning a mom and daughter group trip to Peru, everyone except my GOOD Travel partners thought I was crazy. “Dragging young girls around the world? The melt-downs! The drama! They won’t remember it. Wait until they are older. A recipe for disaster!” But when I shared the itinerary with my daughter Finlay, she flashed her 6-year old toothy grin and squealed, “Llamas? Chocolate? New friends? Machu Picchu? Sign me up, Mom!” And a few months later we were off.

In transit, the other seven other moms and I shared our expectations of what we wanted this trip to instill within our comparatively privileged girls from the U.S., Australia and Singapore, ages 3 to 15. We wanted them to get an understanding of new cultures, a glimpse into how others live, and perspective they can’t gain from our own backyards. We united in the fact that raising children with empathy, compassion, and perseverance in today’s world – when we working moms are pulled in so many different directions – is a major challenge. However, we all felt that travel could make a difference. But I worried, could we deliver? Could one week in Peru really make a difference?

And then we landed in Cusco and were met by the Peruvian Hearts scholars. Girls with whom we would spend the week. They met us with signs, confetti, hugs, smiles, balloons, more hugs, love, and an endless amount of enthusiasm. We were off to a great start. 

We then visited their homes, met their families, shared meals, danced, sang, went on picnics, listened to their stories, and listened to our girls reflecting on those stories. Carlota used to walk 4 hours a day to primary school and back (“That’s like Machu Picchu every day”, said Lucy, age 9.) Without electricity and running water, and oftentimes not enough money to eat dinner, Aldy stays up all night studying for exams. (“I promise to always try harder, mom”, said Finlay, age 6.) Persevering against a broken home and numerous challenges, Yanet defied the odds to stay in school. (“I really do appreciate you, mom,” said Jordan, age 15.)  And MaFi told stories of facing discrimination as the only girl in her engineering classes. (“What is it like to be a warrior?” asked Mila, age 5.) It was working.

Sure we had a melt-down or two (mostly the tired moms). And we moved up mountains slower than others (mostly the tired moms). There were broken braces, treks through towns for tampons, missed meals, late buses, lost teddy bears, and tired feet. But our girls rose to every challenge – just like the Peruvian Heart scholars. Our girls were in Peru to be responsible travelers, kind and compassionate friends, researchers of new cultures, explorers of new experiences and appreciative of all they have.  And we moms were there to prove to our formidable enemy – time – that we can connect with our girls in meaningful and memorable ways.

We also hiked Machu Picchu, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, with a sustainable local tour company and learned about the magnificent history of the Incas. We trekked through the Andes Mountains with conservationists from the Llama Pack Project who dedicate their lives to protecting llamas. We learned how to make Peruvian chocolate in a cacao workshop and we practiced weaving with communities who have not altered how they create textiles in hundreds of years. But what resonated most with our girls was the time spent with the Peruvian Hearts girls. And those moments and friendships will be what they take with them for life.

When I asked my daughter on the last flight home what she loved most about the trip, she looked out the window and seemed to reflect. Then she said, “Everything, mom. EVERYTHING!” So to all the naysayers who think traveling with kids can’t be done successfully, and meaningfully, give us a call. Our daughters will be happy to tell you how GOOD it can be.

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Karin Nunan

Karin Nunan is a Washington DC-based sustainability consultant who considers herself a citizen of the world having traveled, worked and lived in 120 countries. While she loves Asia, her heart will forever belong in the Middle East where she met and married her husband and her daughter was born.

When I started planning a mom and daughter group trip to Peru, everyone except my GOOD Travel partners thought I was crazy. “Dragging young girls around the world? The melt-downs! The drama! They won’t remember it. Wait until they are older. A recipe for disaster!” But when I shared the itinerary with my daughter Finlay, she flashed her 6-year old toothy grin and squealed, “Llamas? Chocolate? New friends? Machu Picchu? Sign me up, Mom!” And a few months later we were off.

In transit, the other seven other moms and I shared our expectations of what we wanted this trip to instill within our comparatively privileged girls from the U.S., Australia and Singapore, ages 3 to 15. We wanted them to get an understanding of new cultures, a glimpse into how others live, and perspective they can’t gain from our own backyards. We united in the fact that raising children with empathy, compassion, and perseverance in today’s world – when we working moms are pulled in so many different directions – is a major challenge. However, we all felt that travel could make a difference. But I worried, could we deliver? Could one week in Peru really make a difference?

And then we landed in Cusco and were met by the Peruvian Hearts scholars. Girls with whom we would spend the week. They met us with signs, confetti, hugs, smiles, balloons, more hugs, love, and an endless amount of enthusiasm. We were off to a great start. 

We then visited their homes, met their families, shared meals, danced, sang, went on picnics, listened to their stories, and listened to our girls reflecting on those stories. Carlota used to walk 4 hours a day to primary school and back (“That’s like Machu Picchu every day”, said Lucy, age 9.) Without electricity and running water, and oftentimes not enough money to eat dinner, Aldy stays up all night studying for exams. (“I promise to always try harder, mom”, said Finlay, age 6.) Persevering against a broken home and numerous challenges, Yanet defied the odds to stay in school. (“I really do appreciate you, mom,” said Jordan, age 15.)  And MaFi told stories of facing discrimination as the only girl in her engineering classes. (“What is it like to be a warrior?” asked Mila, age 5.) It was working.

Sure we had a melt-down or two (mostly the tired moms). And we moved up mountains slower than others (mostly the tired moms). There were broken braces, treks through towns for tampons, missed meals, late buses, lost teddy bears, and tired feet. But our girls rose to every challenge – just like the Peruvian Heart scholars. Our girls were in Peru to be responsible travelers, kind and compassionate friends, researchers of new cultures, explorers of new experiences and appreciative of all they have.  And we moms were there to prove to our formidable enemy – time – that we can connect with our girls in meaningful and memorable ways.

We also hiked Machu Picchu, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, with a sustainable local tour company and learned about the magnificent history of the Incas. We trekked through the Andes Mountains with conservationists from the Llama Pack Project who dedicate their lives to protecting llamas. We learned how to make Peruvian chocolate in a cacao workshop and we practiced weaving with communities who have not altered how they create textiles in hundreds of years. But what resonated most with our girls was the time spent with the Peruvian Hearts girls. And those moments and friendships will be what they take with them for life.

When I asked my daughter on the last flight home what she loved most about the trip, she looked out the window and seemed to reflect. Then she said, “Everything, mom. EVERYTHING!” So to all the naysayers who think traveling with kids can’t be done successfully, and meaningfully, give us a call. Our daughters will be happy to tell you how GOOD it can be.

MORE BLOGS

Karin Nunan

Karin Nunan is a Washington DC-based sustainability consultant who considers herself a citizen of the world having traveled, worked and lived in 120 countries. While she loves Asia, her heart will forever belong in the Middle East where she met and married her husband and her daughter was born.

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