HOW IT ALL STARTED
So, What's With The Letters?
It all started out innocently enough. My husband, Dean, bought a timeshare in Aruba when he was single. If you have a timeshare, you usually try to use it. So, with our son of almost four, an infant daughter, and a friend of the family, we once again ventured to Aruba.
Three years later, Dean won a five-day/four-night stay in the Bahamas at a golf outing. It dawned on Nick, our son, that he had been to an "A" country, and now he was going to go to a "B" country. How cute. We even indulged him by pointing out that it would be real easy to pick up a "C" country -- we were planning a trip to New England soon, and hopping over the border would be no problem.
We have always believed that it is important to treat our children like little adults. Unfortunately, they still react as children. When you give the impression that you are taking them seriously, they believe that you will continue in a like manner. Almost immediately after returning from Canada, the questions started. Where are we going to go for "D"?
When our next vacation came around, we decided to go to Bermuda but our son decided he didn’t want to go. Apparently, he had already done a "B" country, and didn’t want to go backward. However, after much cajoling, he finally agreed to accompany us. We, in turn, promised that our next trip outside the country would start with a "D". We never looked back.
What followed was a series of travels around the world, in alphabetical order, with our children.
But why do we travel?
...and what does it mean to us? The whole alphabet thing has been a running source of amusement for many, envy for some, and confusion for most. But, it truly speaks to who we are as a family and where we put our priorities.
We could have had nicer, newer cars, or a bigger house, or better furniture, or a thousand other more common things that folks in our demographic spend their money on. Instead, we chose to travel-- a choice that continued to confirm itself with time.
Travel has given our children perspective. They have seen poverty in Guatemala and Kenya. They have seen wealth in Dubai. They have observed a cosmopolitan lifestyle in Copenhagen, Paris, London, and Dublin. They have seen agrarian living in Belize, Panama and Kenya. They've witnessed the effect that the United States economy has on the world -- both good and bad. They have met intensely interesting individuals. They have met those who make some in the world dislike Americans. They have acquired enough information to allow them to make a choice regarding who they want to be. By beginning our travels when they were very young, and continuing throughout their school years, our children have routinely visited places that they have studied, and studied places that they have visited We never force fed them on history or culture, rather we let them pick it up at their own pace, whenever something struck their fancy.
There has been a ripple effect as well. Several of our friends and family who had otherwise settled into the "Disney World and down the shore" routine have begun to opt for more distant and varied destinations.
As of July 2012, we had traveled with the kids to 50 countries and all 50 states.
Grace has entered the travel industry with the intent of bringing our experiences to others. Let us share our wealth of knowledge in helping you plan your next trip.
TURKS AND CAICOS
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
* X and Y had to be substitution trips since there is no country beginning with X and Yemen is currently inaccessible to Americans. We decided on a river cruise in China along the Yangtze and a short trip to Japan to make up for country count.
...not to mention countless trips post-kids!