As a proud father of three incredible children, the past 18 years have been a whirlwind of adventures and memories – watching my children grow into themselves has been the highlight of my life. Meanwhile, I’ve been extremely blessed to build my career in the travel and tourism space, and I always knew that my passion for travel was something I wanted to share with my children. Traveling is a tremendous gift to give to a child, something far more meaningful and memorable than the latest gadget or newest style. You are bestowing the marvel and excitement of seeing a new country, hearing a new language, tasting new flavors and meeting people whose lives look much different than they’re used to back home.
My wife and I decided that to celebrate each of our children’s 10th birthdays, I would take them on a trip – just the two of us – anywhere in the world. When I think about it now that it’s over, 10 is such a special age; there’s such a lust and wonder for knowledge and new experiences, and they’re able to prepare for the trip by learning a few words or researching the area’s history. They’re old enough to vividly remember the encounter and mature enough to understand the differences in culture they’re witnessing. Being able to experience this one-on-one with them was an unforgettable gift for me – I shut off my phone and focused on sharing that special time. I get emotional talking about it now, because as they grow older it can be tough to get that back.
My oldest, Katie, chose to go to Paris, like many 10-year-old girls probably would. It was also my first time to Paris, so we shared every new sight together in awe-struck appreciation. She loved the Eiffel Tower, of course, but was particularly impressed with the gardens of Versailles. Every evening we had long, inspiring talks about what we had seen and how it affected us, and those are my most cherished memories of the trip.
Nicholas, on the other hand, was anxious to explore our own backyard. He is a very adventurous, outdoorsy kid and he wanted to go to Yosemite and to see the San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. We had such a blast biking, hiking and exploring that area that I gained an even greater appreciation for America’s National Parks. At the end of the day, both of us would be absolutely exhausted, but grinning from ear to ear. It is a truly remarkable thing, taking advantage of all of that space dedicated to pure beauty.
My youngest, Philip, celebrated his 10th birthday just last year and he meticulously paged through every single page of Insight’s brochure, all the way down to the terms and conditions – he was dead-set on choosing the perfect trip! In the end, he decided on Switzerland, which left my wife and I a bit puzzled – Switzerland is a gorgeous destination but not what I expected from a 10-year-old. Apparently, he really wanted to find out how Swiss watches were made (other deciding factors being the famed Swiss cheese, chocolate and mountains). It was a phenomenal trip, everything we could have hoped for, from the glorious scenery to the incredibly friendly locals. We even got to visit an actual watchmaker in Lucerne, who came out and showed us how to use the tools and succinctly enlightened us in the watchmaking process.
At the end of the day, the memories we forged on these trips will last a lifetime. Happy Father’s Day – go explore the world with your family!
To help celebrate Father’s Day this year, we asked our valued guests to share their most hilarious, meaningful and inspiring family travel stories. Here are some of the most memorable #InsightMoments we received:
Joe Thrussell: India
Joe Thrussell, a father of two, recently spent time in India traveling with Emma (8) and Jamie (6).
“As a backpacker in my younger days, I have been keen to show my own children the World from an early age,” said Joe. “I was so excited to finally see India, a country I’ve always wanted to visit, but I was secretly apprehensive about how my young children would handle the experience.”
Well-meaning friends had warned that the journey may be intense for Joe’s children due to the country’s strange food and known poverty. On the contrary, Emma and Jamie – with their blonde hair and blue eyes –easily mixed and laughed with a variety of locals from different cultures and backgrounds, imparting countless valuable lessons and bringing pride to Joe. They even joined a game of cricket with a group of local schoolchildren – communicating was not a problem when the universal language of cricket took over!
“We decided to book an escorted journey to ensure we had our hotels, meals, and sightseeing arranged in advance,” said Joe. “Every detail from start to finish was perfectly planned and expertly executed which meant we could concentrate on spending quality time enjoying the experience with the children. We journeyed around the Golden Triangle and saw the tigers in Ranthambore National Park, which was a real highlight for our intrepid mini-explorers. The local experts were, without exception, knowledgeable, friendly, and extremely accommodating when it came to our children. They made their stories child-friendly and answered all the obscure questions six- and eight-year-olds tend to come up with. They really helped bring India alive and made it fun and engaging for our children.”
Other highlights included the Taj Mahal, Jaipur and Delhi. Emma, who had recently studied India in her primary school classes, felt privileged to experience the diverse country firsthand.
“Taking children to an unfamiliar place can be daunting, but thanks to the hard work and planning our guides did behind the scenes, it was flawless. I am so glad that we took the plunge – travel is the greatest gift and our family was so lucky to experience it.”
Danielle O’ Connor: Ireland
Danielle and her husband decided to travel to Ireland with their three children for an unforgettable adventure. Danielle’s husband, who is a R.N., found his professional experience come in handy in an unexpected way!
“When we were visiting the Cliffs of Moher, I turned my back and my husband had disappeared,” said Danielle. “When I asked the kids where he went, they said, someone just threw a large wooden glider into the wind (not smart) and it flew back and pretty much scalped a woman. My husband saw it happen, threw his hand on the wound and ran with the woman to give first aid and call an ambulance.
“Doesn’t matter where we are, if someone is hurt or sick they seem to find my husband.”
David Rosati: Greece
David’s story reminds us that sometimes our children have different priorities when it comes to travel than we do.
“I took my daughter the first time to Greece,” said Rosati. “We were in Mykonos and she knew it was a fashion island. She did everything to straighten her curly hair. Took a boat to Delis and her hair turned into a pile of curls. She never forgave me.”