As a teenage boy growing up in Philadelphia, North Philly specifically, was my world. I lived with my mom and her boyfriend, Milton and my brother Jason at 1418 Clearfield Street, but my block around the corner, the 3100 block of Rosewood Street, was my stomping ground. Most places within a 3 block radius was my hood. That’s where I felt comfortable but anywhere within a 6 mile radius of Broad & Allegheny Avenue was open to exploration. Starting from that location, on any given summer day, me and my crew would ride our bikes all over the city. All of us kept a pair of vicegrips locked on our bike frame and a patch kit with matches just in case we caught a flat. No passport or drivers license, just newly air filled tires and a sugar high off squeeze pops & Luigi water ice and we were gone. We rode our “Huffy” bikes to City Hall, Cheltenham Ave, Olney Ave, “Hunting” Park and back smelling like outside and just in time before our parents got home from work. I considered myself “well traveled”. The trips were always motivated by what I could see new today?…the “clothespin” downtown, Cheltenham Mall, Temple U, it was an adventure ever summer day.
Back then a family reunion trip to Detroit, South Carolina or Florida was a big deal as far as my travels. Packing a bag and actually riding a bus somewhere was the most exciting thing to me. I could barely sleep the night before. I allowed my eyes to consume everything possible during the ride, sleeping on the bus was not an option.
After graduating college, I landed a job with a significant increase in discretionary income. My first international trip was Jamaica but after bitten by the travel bug, what followed was Bermuda, Vegas, Belize, St. Thomas, Aruba, Amsterdamn but it didn’t stop there…Brussels, Paris, Mozambique, Puerto Rico, Morocco, Fiji. I was no longer the same kid from North Philly. Yes, I take pride in saying, “I’m from North Philly” I do, but I can tell you about Old town San Juan or the markets in Marrakesh, the Christ the Redeemer in Brazil and the Pilanesberg Game Reserve in Africa. Every country and continent visited taught me something new about the world and, most importantly, about myself. Every destination provided me with a new facet of my identity. I can’t imagine what, where or who I would be if I had traveled as a child. Thinking back, I feel like an idiot for taking so long to purchase a $60 passport, it makes absolutely no sense.
So…my next tip with raising children is to travel with them, please! Spend the money, get the passport, airfare and expand their mind as early as possible! Go somewhere, learn a few foreign language phrases and just make a trip of it. Trust me they will return home a different individual. Your child will talk about that place on the map for the next year. They will inquire about the next destination…they may just somehow help you pay for airfare next time. You can tell them about life, they can read things about life, but actually showing them how other people live is so vastly impactful to a child, it’s an experience that they will never forget.
Let me help you… go to https://www.travelzoo.com/ pick out a destination and see the discount deals.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” ~ Saint Augustine