I started to have second thoughts about traveling to Ecuador with our kids, ages 5 and 8, when it was time for the kids to get their travel vaccinations. It was with the first painful scream that I then wondered what on earth are we doing!? We were leaving the country in a month, flying on an airplane for over 15 hours, and bringing our kids to a country where they had to rely on their mother’s college Spanish to get them through and their father’s crazy, offensively defensive driving learned in the heart of Africa.
My husband and I have always been avid travelers and I thrive when I’m overseas. The sights, the sounds, the smells completely engage my heart and soul. I feel alive! The first five years of a child’s life are the most impressionable and I wanted to leave an indelible mark on my kids. So, why not travel to Ecuador for three weeks?
Yet, traveling solo or even with your spouse is very different than traveling with your kids. We were embarking on a three-week adventure and we had no idea - it could go horribly wrong or it could be a great success. Thankfully, with the guidance of Global Family Travels, it turned out to be an amazing success!
Here are five key insights we learned while traveling to Ecuador with our kids for three weeks:
1. Kids are resilient and adaptable - sometimes we don't give kids the credit they deserve. We worry, we fret. When we let go and give our kids some freedom - that's when we see the potential in our kids and can see them thrive.
2. Kids change the lens by which we view the world - and it’s cool. We slow down, we sit down, we observe, we participate. Unlike previous trips, we slowed down and spent more time really getting to know the local community. Our highlight of this was our 9 days with Luis and Rosario Timpe at their family farm in Patate, Ecuador, near Baños.
3. Home-stays ground you in the culture, the language, the food, and the people. During our stay with the Timpe family we experienced a slice of what it was like to live in Ecuador. Our Spanish improved, we learned how to cook Ecuadorian food, we helped work in the orchard and sampled fruits we’d never even heard of before, and perhaps, most importantly, we made new friends. In the words of our daughter “it’s fun to have new friends in Ecuador."
4. Our planet is changing - the time to see it is now, the time to get your kids excited about the world around you is now. The highlight for my son was seeing monkeys in the jungle – “it was quiet, there weren’t any people, there wasn’t any traffic, just the sounds of loud creatures.”
5. Traveling with our children in a sea of unfamiliar sights and sounds united our family in a ways we could never have imagined. We have become a much closer family unit as a result of our trip.
We will always be grateful to Global Family Travels for making our trip to Ecuador possible. This trip not only made an indelible mark on my kids, it also made an indelible mark on my husband and I. (Photo Credits & Blog by Susan Fairchild)
Join Global Family Travels in August of 2018 on our Ecuador Adventure: Culture, Nature and Photography, and consider visiting the Galapagos Islands or Amazon Rain Forest before or after the trip!
In Ecuador, we’ll explore beautiful historic cities and haciendas, volunteer in a rural community, and enjoy outdoor adventures in the Andean Cloud Forest. Photo opportunities abound, Lisa Merrill, photographer and Trip Leader, will help unleash creativity as you create images to treasure and share. Enjoy Lisa's photos from Ecuador in the collage below!
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