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Why I Travel with my Kids

Some may think I am insane for taking my kids anywhere except for piano lessons.  I would generally agree if I lived anywhere less homogenous than here.  The first time my son saw someone in a turban, he asked if the guy was a terrorist.  When a questionable comment  was made in San Diego, I started to wonder if traveling matters when you live places where the diversity is made up.  Here are a few separations I have made up so my home town seems more diverse:

Rancher v. non-rancher:  There isn’t much of a division here except some people know how to use a backhoe to feed animals and how to birth a calf while others don’t.  It doesn’t come up that often in conversation, to be honest, but I’m trying to pretend there are ethnic diversities in my town, remember.

Little known fact: True ranchers where hot pink rain coats.

Backpackers v. Car campers:  There is some disagreement among this division, but it is mostly one sided.  Backpackers generally do not consider car camping true camping.  You must experience the wild away from all technology although they may bring their iphone but only for the GPS.  (wink, wink)  Car campers pretty much don’t care and wonder why anyone would want to carry that much on their back if it will fit in the trunk  (and many backpackers become car campers when they have kids, at least for a couple years).

Native Montanans v. People who moved to Montana at any point in life: To be a native MT, you have to be born here.  Most would say you need to be a 2nd generation. #1 moved here when he was two and he will always be an outsider.  #2 and #3 were born here but were born to transplants so they don’t really count either.  And people will ask.  I never lived anywhere where the question is “Were you born here?” instead of “How long have you lived here?”

Although while living here, these differences can be a nuisance, they are not big enough differences for my kids to learn how to handle actual differences in people and how to be polite when meeting people.  So I spend a week packing what is needed, doing laundry, making sure I have toys, entertainment, and snacks, planning a general itinerary, and doing it all for the least amount of money possible so that my kids can spend 3 days learning  it isn’t polite to stare.  (San Diego didn’t do a very good job, though, so we are off to NYC for a dental convention soon.  It’s surprising how hard it is not to stare at dental conventions.)

What do you do to give your kids a well-rounded life education?


  1. Ironic Mom says:

    I love this. Rather true of Alberta too.

    Oh, and I’m supposed to educate my kids?

    1. Marianne says:

      I think you only have to teach your kids that if they want to talk about a person’s appearance – weight, skin, hair, clothes – they should pass it by me first VERY quietly. Of course they still don’t flush after they pee, so I’m sure sensitivity to difference is going to develop any day.

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