Why Family Travel is Important to Me

Christmas 2007

Christmas Day, 2007

The story goes I took my first unassisted steps on a trans-Atlantic flight to the UK.

And the story does not include eye-rolling hipsters or grumpy airline staff, but delighted flight attendants whisking me off for visits to the cockpit and sips of juice.

As a first generation Canadian, I travelled frequently with my parents, taking a trip “home” at least once a year. This was not your typical concept of family travel, but visits that were essential to my family and made possible thanks to professional parents who budgeted for these trips.

They weren’t always for fun, though. Now, as a mother, I recognize the stress involved in a last-minute trip with my mom to Glasgow, when my granddad was ailing. Traveling solo with a preschooler in tow is never a picnic, but this story goes my mom’s hands were so full she had to hold our boarding passes in her mouth, and I looked at her pitifully and said, “Teddy’s heavy.”

With my mom there were yearly trips to Scotland, and from there we’d visit with family but also explore the UK. With my dad there were the more typical family vacations to Florida, but also time spent in the country fishing and canoeing.

As I got older I didn’t like traveling with my family. I wanted to hang out with my friends in the heat of August in Toronto instead of in the cool weather in Glasgow. When I got old enough to avoid my then-stepmother, I did, so I didn’t go anywhere with my dad either.

It was after my mother’s death, when I was 17, that the travel spark was reignited in me, and apparently my six-week solo jaunt to Europe in my twenties mimicked the one my mom was planning to take before she met my dad. My husband talks of a road trip he took with his buddy, and it sounds remarkably similar to the story of my dad driving to Mexico with his friend when they were still teenagers.

I’ve lost count of the number of trips we’ve taken as a family, and I’m acutely aware of the privilege required to be able to say that. Now at age six, my daughter and I are starting to have discussions about living conditions in other parts of the world, and how lucky she is to be able to visit these places. The cost of a plane ticket is something that we must plan and budget for, but now she realizes that many of the lovely people that cross our path when we visit poorer countries would never be able to visit us in Canada. The fact that we are having these kinds of conversations now leads me to believe that seeing the world at a young age broadens the mind, and will help my children grow into the kind of tolerant, kind, and open minded adults I hope they will become.

We’ve just returned from our 5th family vacation to Cuba. My husband and I both marveled at how truly we have become a traveling machine – bags are becoming fewer, no real fear of a mid-flight meltdown. Someone wasn’t thrilled about having to sit on his bum when we were landing, but other than that, smooth sailing. And on our flight home, truly some of the sweetest and kindest flight staff I’ve encountered in a long time. But this trip ended with a heavy heart.

My dad died on New Year’s Day.

The last few days of our trip were memorable for the sadness and grief I’m feeling, but also because of the determination I felt to make the most of them as that’s what my dad would have wanted.

Coming home has been especially difficult, as not only am I returning to reality, my new reality is one without my dad. In addition to my responsibilities at work, I also have to make my father’s memorial arrangements, and sort out his apartment and paperwork. And do all this while coping with a grief so heavy that I haven’t eaten or slept much. It seemed like shuttering this site for a while would be the sensible thing to do, but for some reason I feel more compelled than ever to move it forward. My dad was intensely proud of the work I’ve done here, and that probably has a lot to do with my feeling like I have to press on.

2011 seemed to be the year of defending against the naysayers, and it felt very negative to always be on the defensive. 2012, for me, will be about positivity. Obviously I think travel with children is a good idea, I built a business about it. Moving forward will be  about telling more stories about travel with baby, featuring more trip reports, and speaking with more parents who’ve seen the world with their baby in tow – all with the mission of inspiring, motivating, and helping families travel with their babies, toddlers, and young children.

Happy New Year, and Happy Travels.

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18 Responses to Why Family Travel is Important to Me

  1. Emma at 23:56 #

    Lovely. So sorry you’ve now lost both your parents when you are so young. But love that they continue to inspire you.

  2. heather at 03:39 #

    Corinne,
    I admire you. Having read this story it’s so clear why travel has become a passion for you. I agree that your dad must be so proud of all you’ve accomplished. I have no words for your loss but know that 2012 will hold brighter days for you as well.
    Our deepest condolences on your loss. Anything we can help with say the word.
    Heather

  3. Janelle at 08:25 #

    I am so sorry for your loss, Corinne. My father passed away nearly 20 years ago when i was just 18 – it didn’t seem fair then and it doesn’t seem fair now.

    I have a 2 yr old son and my husband and I have just recently returned from a month’s vacation overseas in the US. We travelled from Australia (a 14.5 hr flight) and I spent many months researching and reading articles and books on how to make the entire trip including the flight as enjoyable and fun for all of us. Your site has many great articles and links to information that I found absolutely invaluable. I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your advice for helping me believe that we could have a fantastic family vacation.

    Our boy amazed us with how well he adapted to different situations, people, places, cribs and even the time zone difference!

    I just really want to say keep doing what you’ve been doing – and continue to make your dad proud with regards to the website – it really does make a difference.

    Kind Regards and my Sincerest Condolences,

    Janelle

  4. I’m tearing up at all of your kind words. Thanks so much.

  5. Traci at 11:35 #

    My heartfelt condolences. You are honoring his legacy — the love for and pursuit of travel — on to the next generation.

  6. Beautifully written and I’m so sorry about your dad. My favorite?

    “2012, for me, will be about positivity.”

    Bring it!

  7. So very sorry for your loss. As I read this, I was reflecting on my own family travel circumstances. We lost my aunt last night, who lives thousands of miles away. I quickly began to make arrangements to travel with my 6-week old to the memorial service. It is blogs like this one that have inspired me to become a traveling mom, which I’m particularly thankful for at times like this. I’ll be able to mourn with my family instead of feeling paralyzed for fear of traveling with a baby back home. It’s definitely not fun like a vacation, but an important reason to travel nonetheless. So thanks for doing what you do and making an important contribution to the blogging community.

  8. i am so sorry for your great loss – and happy, that you’ve had a lifetime of love and travel to lean back on now that you need it.

  9. Michelle at 23:07 #

    I remember so clearly you reaching out to me when my Dad was in ICU. I’m almost about to say the same words. I just hope they come with peace.

    This space that exists so close to either side, it’s beyond words for me. I am beyond words for you.

    I am grateful for you, your heart and your sharing. Know that you are spreading goodness, with your stories. And certainly, don’t stop telling them.

  10. Grace at 23:07 #

    Corinne, I’m crying as I’m typing this. I am so very sorry for your loss. Please count me as one of your friends/neighbours ready to help if you need it. Take care.

  11. Alexandria at 23:24 #

    Oh, Corinne. I can imagine no more incredible way to honour your Dad’s memory than by forging on. You’re such an inspiration. I’m really so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you always.

  12. Corinne at 23:36 #

    I’m ever so grateful for such wonderful and supportive friends. Thank you all. xo

  13. walkingon travels at 00:59 #

    This is a beautiful post. You have truly made both your mom and dad proud. I know they are smiling down on you and your family as they watch you fulfill your dreams and make the world a better and more inspiring place for families everywhere.

  14. This is a beautiful post! I think that’s what our loved ones want is for us to remember all the good times and to keep them moving forth. This is even more meaningful because it happened over the holidays.

    I am hoping that my kids remember the travel as the most important parts of our family time too.

  15. Sheri at 12:59 #

    As someone who credits her love for road trips to the travel my dad worked to provide us as kids, I understand how hard it is to lose a father. My dad passed about 12 years ago and I always wish he was there to jump in the car and take all the grandkids on an adventure. I’m so sorry for your loss. You’re passing all that on to your kids, and that’s very important.

  16. Condolences, Corinne.
    My father died unexpectedly three months ago and my world is still not right. There’s not much anyone can say or do to make you feel better. I still feel that like should not be so unfair. The only hope I can offer you is that your pain, which is so raw right now, will recede. It might take a while, but one day you will be able to think of your Dad and smile fondly, rather than feel overwhelmed with sadness.
    Hang in there.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Parenting & Travel Conundrums – World Tour of the Web -

    […] Why Travel with Kids and Family Travel Are Important to Me by Corinne McDermott, Have Baby Will Travel This story was inspired by the recent death of the author’s father. Corinne discusses how her parents instilled in her a love of travel as a child and how that now translates into her love of travel as a mother with her children. She says, “seeing the world at a young age broadens the mind, and will help my children grow into the kind of tolerant, kind and open minded adults I hope they will become.”  […]

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