Sow the Seeds of Global Citizenship
All of us human-types rely on each another to thrive. I lift you, you lift me. We need to think outside our political borders to heal social, economic, and environmental wounds that have been sustained in the world. This is global citizenship. Maybe our kids can fix what we haven’t been able to in our generation.
You, as a traveling parent, can take your kids places now to teach things that will allow them be part of the solution in the future. To focus on global citizenship, the concepts to build your trips around no matter where you choose are:
- economic contrast
- social contrast
- environmental contrast
Three Trips for Global Citizens
Here are three trips in three countries on three different continents that changed our lives and shifted Beija decisively toward global citizenship.
1. Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley Villages
There are times in your children’s lives that growth isn’t the slow how-did-you-get-so-big kind, but the tectonic shift kind. For Beija, I could see her life take a sharp turn when just minutes after we arrived in Chandeni local girls grabbed her by the hand and led her away. The Nepali village had been ravaged by an earthquake less than a year before and most families were still living in tarp and corrugated metal shelters. Many children were wearing clothes that sometimes had more holes than fabric. Rice with lentils served as breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. We were all jerked out of our hot shower and soft bed life to experience the daily joy of people in Chandeni. We all worked hard together, laughed despite language gaps, made toys from rocks and leaves, ate endless rice and lentils, and Beija understood on a deep level that she was boundlessly rich that week.
Here is a group of posts related to Nepal including a reading list and one of our first-ever posts. It looks like I need to write more about Nepal! Also a link to Crooked Trails’ Nepal trips. They made perfect connections in Chandeni for us.
2. Morocco Road Trip
For Beija, the realities of a patriarchal and religious society that had prescribed roles and behavior for women made her realize that her “girl power” life isn’t a given for everyone. It is one thing to notice that others have different lives, but pairing this with spending time with our Moroccan friend Aziza and her family added nuance. They adored her and she loved them right back, so it was hard for her to see them as “other.” This trip definitely cemented Beija’s growing feminism and confidence within very different social norms. Thinking further than the beach (although Essaouira is a great beach town) can get your kids to the next level of global thinking.
Here’s our suite of Morocco posts, including an itinerary, what to wear, and a reading list.
3. Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands
Before we left home Beija could list unique species that populate the Galapagos Islands: lava lizards, tortoises, finches, iguanas, blue footed boobies, penguins, etc. Her class did a unit on the Galapagos and animals really inspired her. By the time that we were on the islands and our local guide was describing the dangers that the animals were facing due to global warming and invasive species Beija was sold. She saw the skeleton of a sea bird with plastic wrapped around its body. This became a symbol of environmental devastation in her mind. Our trip to the Galapagos helped her see tangible lines between human behavior and impact on the planet.
Getting from Here to Global Citizens
We’ve taken more trips and Beija has gotten older and more thinky. She has cycled back to the concepts introduced in Nepal, Morocco, and the Galapagos. I talk about approaches to learning more in this post on deepening kids’ experience. Some posts on how to go even deeper are here, here , and here (on teens and technology).
So now you don’t have to decide where to go next, just which you’ll do first!