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Is a Passport as Important as a Diploma?

Buzz Poole
02/12/2013 - 06:22
via Apartment Therapy

As a kid, I didn't travel much. The trips we took as a family were great, and were definitely treats, but consisted of the obligatory American paying of respects to Florida and California, along with visits to relatives in Georgia and Massachusetts and family friends in New Jersey. To this day, I've only been out of the country once with my parents, and that was an ill-fated spring break in Bermuda, probably twenty-five years ago at this point. Both my parents had explored the world a bit when they were young and single and since my brother and I became adults they have taken some fabulous trips.

I got to thinking about family trips after reading this Intelligent Travel blog post by Keith Bellows, editor in chief of National Geographic Traveler, who recently wrote One Hundred Places That Change Your Child's Life. Having roamed around the planet with his three children, Bellows firmly believes that "the world is the best classroom we have and that a passport is every bit as important as a diploma." I would never argue with this. One result of having not seen much of the world by the time I got to college was an itch to get out there and devour as much as I could. I spent two semesters abroad, and even took off some time from my academic studies to work so I could spend a month in Mexico.

Now, I was lucky in that my parents did make sacrifices for both me and my brother to be able to go to college and make decisions about what interests we wanted to pursue. Bellows's kids are lucky too because their dad works for a magazine that is all about traveling and as a result they have been able to tag along. Judging from their enthusiasm about the places they've been, they'll always be travelers. It certainly isn't an either/or situation. A traditional educational background is an essential foundation for a more dynamic life education, but just because you see photographs in a book and read first-hand accounts of events doesn't mean you know about the world.

For those of you with children: How important is it to you to take them on trips? When do you start taking them with you? Before they can walk?

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