The purpose of traveling

If you leave home to go spend money, to feel rich, then more power to you. I have never traveled without a tight budget limit. It’s in my blood to pinch pennies even when we have money in the bank account. We buy our airline tickets then we find a hotel in easy distance with breakfast included and we spend on a full meal a day. We buy water and snacks from the grocery store. And try to stay hydrated.

The purpose of traveling is to see new places, get familiar with new cultures, spend time in the sun. The girls get a grip on geography and languages and life on the planet as a whole. I am more at peace with my style as Conrad and I share the same view even as he grew up in a wealthier life setting. As we budget well we can travel to more places, and broaden our view.

Last night at dinner I had to explain to them again that we are not perusing the menu for drinks and dessert. Our budget allows only for dinner. Our hotel room is next door and we bought chocolate for a sweet pick me up. There used to be a lot of embarrassment attached to my frugal traveling. Especially when traveling with others. But why is that?

On the other hand as we show the girls new countries, new worlds, on a budget, I would hate to come across as fancy rich, splurging. I would not want to cause envy into anyone’s heart. The truth is, if you have nothing you can’t travel at all. If you have a little bit of money and creativity, a trip a season goes a long way.

We start the year traveling to sickly, staying in a country house hotel by the Ionian Sea. We went into town, had food to go, visited churches, and ruins, and market squares, saw fisherman haggle for fish, walked by zippy cars and vespas, dipped our toes in the sea, we get to read this afternoon and sit in the sun as at home the frost freezes on the cars. We are surrounded by orange trees and the girls have ample space to explore without us holding their hands.

Vacationing with kids is exciting and exhausting. Seeing the world through their eyes is beautiful. Hearing them say incessantly “look at this” gets old after a few years.

I love my kids more than I like or love any other kids. I live purposefully and committed and I look forward to not repeating myself so much. The kids lean on un a bit much, with teeth brushing and social navigation. Washing hands and drinking enough water. Putting the right amount of clothes on, watching where they walk. They demand a lot more freedom than they know what to do with it.

Traveling spoils them and makes them act entitled. But in the same breath it opens their eyes, helps them appreciate culture, rest, listening well, observing, tasting, smelling new things.

I tell them they may do whatever they can afford when they are adults, but while they travel on our dime, we have budget and we will gratefully abide by it.

To many more countries to see. And may we appreciate this one we are visiting currently.