July 17, 2024

Adventure Chronicles Forum

Navigating Travel Tales

Family Spends Most of Their Extra Money on Travel for Kids’ Education

4 min read
  • My family took trips around the world when I was growing up, and I learned so much.
  • I’ve continued traveling with my own family, and we prioritize spending money on trips. 
  • I love seeing my kids learn about the world and experiencing other cultures with them.

By the time I finished high school, I had already visited well over a dozen countries.

My folks were never particularly well off, but any savings they did have were usually spent on travel and making lifelong memories. I can still remember our first big overseas holiday — a trip to Bali in Indonesia when I was 10. I was mesmerized to see how the Balinese people lived, what they ate. I loved the exotic smells and the excitement of being in a foreign place.

Over the years, my mom would pull me out of school for anywhere from two weeks to two months, and off we’d go on an adventure. When I was 14, we road-tripped in an old rental around Mexico checking out ancient Mayan ruins. As the years rolled by, there were trips to the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Sometimes during our travels, my mom would tell me to get my mind off boys and take in the sights. I’m sure she sometimes wondered whether she was wasting her hard-earned cash on someone who might not be appreciating the grandeur of Petra in Jordan or the dismantling and reassembly of Abu Simbel in Egypt. But I did take it in, and I learned a lot.

Melissa Noble and her family in London in 2018

Noble has continued to check off places she wants to travel to with her family.
Courtesy of the author

I continued to travel once I had a family of my own

In my 20s, I continued to tick countries off my ever-expanding bucket list. I lived in Canada and London and traveled to dozens of countries. My boyfriend and I would work hard for several months doing odd jobs like waitressing or landscaping, then spend all our savings on seeing the world.

Eight years ago, we had our first child, a son. Over the years, we’ve taken him all over the world with us. He’s marveled at the views of Cape Town, South Africa, from Table Mountain, walked along the river Seine, and devoured a crepe near the Eiffel Tower. He’s ridden a red double-decker bus in London and feasted on pancakes with the yummiest maple syrup on the planet in Canada.

We’ve decided to prioritize travel over spending money on private schooling for our children. Like with my upbringing, we plan to send our kids to public schools and spend any extra cash we have on a different sort of education for our children, one that we believe is invaluable. After all, traveling offers some of the best education there is.

Melissa Noble and her family in Canada in 2019.

Noble and her family prioritize spending money on travel.
Courtesy of the author

My kids learn so much while we travel

There’s nothing like actually being there when you’re learning about the history of a place. In France, our son walked around the clifftop village of Rocamadour, taking in the historic monuments. For centuries, pilgrims, kings, bishops, and nobles have visited its religious sites. In Canada, he learned all about the meaning behind inuksuit, the stone monuments erected by the Inuit people. My son was amazed by these incredible structures, which symbolize balance. Each stone plays a role in supporting the others.

In Bali last year, we came face-to-face with the cheeky long-tailed macaques that call Ubud’s Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary home. At one point, one of them leaped on my backpack and tried to steal it, which had our three children in hysterics. It’s those experiences that you’d never get at home in the small Australian country town where we live.

Melissa Noble and her family in Andorra in 2018.

Noble says she has been traveling since she was young.
Courtesy of the author

These kinds of experiences repeatedly reaffirm our decision to prioritize travel for our children. But traveling is not just about making long-lasting memories for us as a family or expanding our children’s palates. It’s about understanding the tapestry of cultures that make our world such a vibrant, captivating place. We want them to learn how to embrace and celebrate diversity, and how to show compassion to those who are less fortunate than us. For us, it’s an investment.

Even some of the most tedious things you experience while traveling can be educational. A massive delay for a flight, for example, or getting stuck in an airport can be a lesson in resilience and patience.

My son has always been passionate about the orangutans’ plight and the destruction of their habitats for palm-oil plantations, so a trip to Borneo to meet the orangutans will probably be our next big adventure. We cannot wait.

There’s a quote by St. Augustine that goes like this: The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. Our children will be well versed in many chapters. In fact, we plan to show them the whole tome, one country at a time.


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