I loved to travel since I was a little child. Every summer my mother and I would travel by train or plane to the south of the former Soviet Union – to swim in the Black Sea and to sun on the overcrowded beaches. When I got older, I also traveled with my father – to visit his brother in Ural Mountains, to go to the small town where my grandparents spent their youth (we went there in 1985, and in 1986 that place became part of Chernobyl disaster zone). When I was in the last year of high school, my mom and I went on a river cruise along the Volga river visiting famous old Russian cities and learning more about “old Russian history” (it was replaced entirely by “new history” but it’s a topic for a separate post). I moved to US after graduating from college and started to make plans to see more of the country. After several years of working as a software engineer in New York City, I took a pay cut and a job of a traveling post-sales consultant. My parents told me, You won’t last 6 months! I ended up traveling for 5 years. I have visited many states of America, livable parts of Canada and about 15 European countries in those five years. It was amazing to see “for real” the Pyramids of Giza, the Niagara Falls, the Eiffel Tower, Santorini, Vatican, Grand Canyon, Jerusalem. I feel very blessed for these opportunities, but I believe my desire to shape my life in this direction was born from early childhood experiences, from reading books about travelers and adventures, from collecting stamps of animals and plants, from traveling with my parents.
I know that there is a school of thought believing that geography needs to be taught from inside out – kind of “Me on the Map” approach. I rather like “personal interest” approach. Of course, at an early age it was more my personal interest – we read a lot of books about the maps, different continents, different countries. Lately Anna usually chooses a country or a place to visit. Sometimes even I hesitate – would a 3 year old make sense of, say, Hoover Dam? But she surprises me again and again with what she retains and how she incorporates her knowledge into her play and her language. Her enthusiasm for travel is obvious in an ease with which she left behind her house and settled at her grandparents’ place. I hope she will keep her passion for travel, real and pretend, for all her life and that she will eventually get to visit many places that are now opening up in front of her in books and movies.
Share your adventures in time and space at History and Geography exchange at History/Geography Exchange hosted by Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn.