Academic Leigh Speaking

A professor, four kids, and a crash course in work/life balance

An Itch to Travel, Part 2 September 19, 2015

Filed under: Childhood Memory,Family Life,Friends and Relatives,Teaching — leighj @ 1:34 pm

I like travel. I also like to travel with my children, as they learn so much when we go places. Sometimes the things we learn are that we need to slow down and not try to do so much, but often we learn interesting things about traffic, animals, waves, sun, local food, and more. Patrick and I early on rationalized having Seamus by thinking, well, we aren’t doing the things that people without children tout as the best parts of not having children (like travelling or going to the theater), so we might as well have kids. I think we might travel more now that we have the kids.

When I was young, we traveled a lot. I remember those trips as sensory experiences mostly (not always learning experiences, but I think that’s okay). For instance, the wind blowing us into upright standing positions on the ferry in Puget Sound, the way my glasses fogged up in the Columbia River Gorge, the brittle nails from the sub zero temps in Idaho, the smell of the sea weed on South Padre Island, the biting June wind in Alaska, Bret sticking his head out the window for more oxygen in the Rocky Mountains, the brakes catching on fire and the smell of the snow putting it out. So much that is part of the memory, and while what we think is the goal isn’t always what sticks.

Gilbert will always remember “bendy-A’s” from his trip to New Orleans. Seamus will remember the feel of the zip line from Cape Cod. Gilbert knows that ocean water doesn’t hurt his eyes but sand does. Seamus knows how a salt water pool feels to swim in. They’ve felt things they can’t feel at home, and that’s something to give them.

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