Several years ago we were asked about joining a country club. I thought it over for a while and wondered about the pros and cons. A country club is a place where some people can go and enjoy golfing, swimming, tennis, and other activities in a controlled atmosphere. Country clubs have various criteria to be met in order to gain membership. People who don’t meet the criteria will not become members. I never liked that idea. I decided that our family would be members of another kind of country club. My thoughts were that the time and money that would otherwise be spent on club activities and dues would be spent on travel to actual countries. That was going to be our family’s country club. I wanted my children to see as much of the world as possible. I’ve never been sorry about my decision. There are many things that can keep us from traveling. Money is one, health, time, and fear of the unknown are others. If you have the means and opportunity, travel as much as practically possible. If you have children, take them a long as well when it’s reasonable. Even if it means saving your pennies, going without some of the luxuries, planning, and being brave. Our family’s best memories and those we talk about the most, are the magnificent trips we’ve taken together. They aren’t necessarily magnificent because of any extravagance, but because we are out of our element, experiencing a new culture, and making new friends. We are away from the media, the work, and the social obligations. And we are together. Travel widens our horizons and opens our eyes. It changes us forever.
“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” – Maya Angelou