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Travel texture

Texture of a good travel life (or why we take our kids along)

by Emiel Van Den Boomen

Two of the greatest gifts we can give our children are roots & wings.”- Hodding Carter

I recently came across this marvelous quote. It helps me answering the question why we take our children along on our global travels.

Some families have fears of doing the same thing we are doing. Others just disagree where they think young children should not be exposed to long haul travels, extremely different cultures and the dangers of strange diseases.

Providing texture

The world inspires: it makes us happy and makes us cry. The worlds truth can bring us to tears where hope makes us smile.

I want our children to know the truth and understand people’s hope for a better life. We want them to keep their hopes and needs in perspective. That’s one of the reasons why we love to have our children encounter different cultures and different people early in life.


The world is larger than our own backyard. I agree that ‘Everywhere is Illuminated’ (even in our own home town we sometimes forget to see the beauty of things) but I also know there is so much more.

When we have accepted our own world, we step up and suddenly discover a different person. A person with the anxiety to spread its wings and learn. We need wings. With these wings we start to collect stories from around the world that will enrich us, even enlighten us. The world is turning, but if you stay at one place you never experience its velocity.

How could you not want to live a travel life full of stories of Thai hospitality, Japanese courtesy, Indian extremities, European history or American grandness?

That is exactly the gift we want to give our children: wings.


Our childrens roots grow here in the Netherlands. We believe our country is one of freedom and honesty. We have decided not to go on long-term (rtw) travels with our children. Instead we pick a new destination two or three times a year.

Roots are strong but we need our wings to make them even stronger. By traveling our children will be taught about the variety in our world (good and bad).

I am sure they will appreciate their roots as much as their wings.

Travel texture


1. Travel melancholy

2. Spider web with me in the middle (or why we travel)

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[…] traveling family. We prefer to travel 2-3 times a year and return home, providing our children roots and wings at the same time. At the same time we have to admit that we are also kind of restricted to this […]

The Nomadid Family October 21, 2011 - 07:40

Emiel. I LOVE  THAT QUOTE and I used to use it all the time on my radio show in Northern Israel. I never knew who said it. wings and roots. so true. i love the colors, and your blog. your kids will surely appreciate what they are getting (after of course, years and years of therapy!) but hey! you guys are doing just great!

Emiel van den Boomen October 21, 2011 - 09:34

Thank you Gabi and I am very glad to know you through the Triberr Group. I am sure we will continue to inspire each other!

Spreading Our Child’s Wings « This Is My Happiness May 27, 2011 - 07:06

[…] recently came across this beautiful piece about traveling with one’s children.  I loved Emiel’s reference to the role of both […]

Beverley May 4, 2011 - 17:02

‘everywhere is illuminated’ … what a great expression. Might I add that ‘everyone’ is illuminated too and exposing your children to the wonders of travel is a terrific way to let their light shine as they grow.

glad I dropped by 🙂

Emiel May 12, 2011 - 22:15

Beverly, I have to thank you for dropping by! The expression ‘Everywhere is Illuminated’ was launched in a blog post from Mark Robertson, you will love it for sure: All credits go to Mark.
I fully agree with you that everyone is illuminated as well and that travel will sparkle your personality even more!
Hope to speak to you soon.

Farnoosh May 3, 2011 - 04:13

Emiel, the writing is going up a notch or two each time and your readers are growing. I really liked the short, punchy post here. And so glad to see you highlighted something that we talked about for the Fear-Crushing guide earlier last month. You make one amazing parent! Lucky, lucky those children of yours :)!

Emiel May 12, 2011 - 22:13

Thank you Farnoosh and yes, your Fear Crushing Travel Guide contains a lot of inspiration for new travel posts.

Gaby April 28, 2011 - 18:22

Your posts are absolutely wonderful! If you need help planning your NY trip, let me know. I’m now in Canada, but I’m a native New Yorker through and through!

Emiel April 29, 2011 - 21:53

Thanks for your compliment Gaby, appreciate it very much!

jacquelincangro April 27, 2011 - 18:59

Lovely quote. I also like Mark Twain’s words on travel:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”

I hope you have a wonderful time here in NYC. (Luna Park is scheduled to open next week.) I look forward to hearing all about your trip.

Emiel April 27, 2011 - 23:06

Thanks Jacquelin,
I just read about this quote (which I love) and it said: Traveling opens the mind, but only for a mind which is already open.

For sure I will share a lot of NYC stories! Looking forward to it.

Mark Robertson April 27, 2011 - 16:02

Man, I love the rigorous paradox in the quote. It’s inspiring for me as an educator and, si Deus quizer, a dad someday…

I think the right wanderlust is the recognition that the world is full of wonder, mystery, tragedy, comedy, and redemption–once we accept a few brutal facts (as you’ve described), we can provide our “future storytellers” with a more textured worldview.

I trust they will illuminate the farthest corner of Mongolia and Siberia and Greenland..even the human-less Antarctican mythos.

Great work,

Emiel April 27, 2011 - 23:00

That’s a paradox indeed. I guess that’s what made you a bit weirded out at first. Is it roots or is it wings? Or will the combination provide the best texture?
We must illuminate both destinations, close by and far away. Where the one might have fear of illuminating the other, I want to highlight both of them.
I am not there yet.

amblerangel April 27, 2011 - 13:48

Travel in general helps children see beyond themselves- become independent, see their country or city in relation to the world around it allowing them to have a less self centered attitude, and see how other people do things differently and how that is good. Thus bringing on an open mindedness toward new experiences, change and people which will help them successfully adapt and meet the challenges they wil face as adults. It’s one of the great educators – ok- I guess I can get off the lectern now….sorry.

Emiel April 27, 2011 - 23:09

The blogosphere is everybody’s lectern Emily! You just re-wrote my blog post in different words, job well done.
Traveling is a great educator indeed, I have to say I love the way you use your blog to explain to us the magic world that is called Japan.

amblerangel April 27, 2011 - 23:31

You said that? I was so busy listening to myself talk I didn’t hear you! Actually, I was so busy repeating and memorizing at the foot of the sensei I got carried away! Kidding aside (hmm) I always find myself reading your posts and nodding along in agreement, furiously taking notes, or forwarding to everyone I know.

JennaFrancisco April 27, 2011 - 07:50

Great post. I have two children (one is only 3 months old, so he hasn’t traveled yet), and we have taken the older one on many trips. We also believe in establishing good roots where we live but in opening his eyes and soul to the world around us by taking some big trips every year. Half of our family is in Brazil, so we go there every year to spend a few weeks with them and help our son continue to be bilingual. Thanks for the inspirational reminder about why we should travel with children!

Emiel April 27, 2011 - 23:11

I think you don’t need a reminder, but thanks! Where in Brazil does your family live?

JennaFrancisco April 28, 2011 - 07:15

I may not really need the reminder, but because most of our traveling with our older son has been for overseas family visits, I sometimes wish we could do more traveling to new and exciting places. Then again, the trips to visit family do help spread our son’s wings, so to speak.
My husband’s family live in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and in a small city north of Sao Paulo. Also, my father lives in Indonesia, but it’s harder to travel there because the flight is so long, and the risks are greater with young children. We did it with our son before he was 2 but will wait until our second child is over 2 before we go again.
I’m happy to have found your site. I love sharing insights about traveling as a family.

bringingtravelhome April 27, 2011 - 04:46

Beautifully written. roots and wings through travel…the best gift and education we can provide our children. well worth any sacrifice you make for it.

Emiel April 27, 2011 - 23:14

That’s so true Monique, I believe investing in travel is the best investment you can make. I know many people have fears because they think travel is too expensive. But there are a lot of different ways to travel and you don’t need to go far-away to discover awesome things!

Gladys April 27, 2011 - 02:00

Love your spirit. We need more people in the world like you. What a great world it would be, Your children are lucky to have your spirit passed on to them.

Emiel April 27, 2011 - 23:11

Gladys, you make me blush…

Tien April 27, 2011 - 00:34

Very well said Emiel. May I say, your children are very, very lucky 🙂


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