What to do if your child doesn't share your passion for travel

You love travel, but that doesn't necessarily mean your kids will. Peter Moore reveals the tricks he uses to nurture wanderlust in his daughter

7 mins

Before I got married and had a kid I travelled a lot. I'd travelled overland from London to Sydney and from Cape Town to Cairo. I'd had a bit of a wander through Central and South America. On the day my daughter was born I had travelled to 99 countries.

Eleven years later that tally has crept up to 102.

It's not that I haven't travelled since becoming a father. It's just that I've travelled differently. Destinations have become a little less exotic. And instead of slinging on my pack each morning and heading off to pastures new, we tend to get a room or an apartment for a week and use it as a base to explore places more fully.

Because both my wife and I work, we split family holidays to try and get through the big six week break over summer. My wife goes away for a week with my daughter. I take her away for a week. And then we try to get some time together.

My wife and daughter usually go to Mallorca and sit by a pool for a week. That's my idea of hell, so I've been using my week to gradually introduce my daughter to slightly more adventurous destinations. We've campervanned around Iceland, seen the Northern Lights in Arctic Sweden and, next half term, we're popping down to Fez for a North African adventure.

I hoped that by exposing my daughter to these amazing experiences she'd love travelling as much as I do, and by her early teens we could go off and have some real adventures.

Sadly, it hasn't worked out like that. Given the choice between travelling with me or her mum, she'd choose the pool and the buffet breakfast every time.

I've taken heart from the fact that my family holidays when I was growing up weren't that adventurous either. My dad hooked up a caravan, drove for eight hours and then set up on a site overlooking Horseshoe Bay in Australia's South West Rocks. It was our home for the next six weeks. My passion for travel wasn't ignited until I was 19, with a trip to Vanuatu where I encountered the legendary Big Nambas tribe.

So rather than try to convert my daughter to the joys of travel, I've decided to take a more subtle approach. She likes swimming pools so I took her for a dip in Seljavallalaug, the volcanically-heated pool on the side of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. Buffets are her thing so I took her to the Chinatown night market in Singapore on the way to visit family in Australia. My battle plan is to give her what she wants, but just an adventurous version of it.

Our trip to Fez next week is the latest sortie in my ongoing campaign. My daughter likes staying in nice hotels so I let her choose a riad on an online booking site. Shopping? She'll be able to haggle to her heart's content in the medina. And with a camel trip in the Sahara on the agenda, I'm hoping she'll realise that rides in the real world are so much more exciting and engaging than ones where you have to queue for hours and are over in a matter of minutes.

I realise that nurturing my daughter's wanderlust won't happen overnight. It's going to take guile, innovative thinking and gentle persuasion. But I hope that one day she will thank me for it. Indeed, it could be the greatest gift I give to her as a father.

Peter Moore is an author and Associate Web Editor at Wanderlust

Main image: Bored child. Not the author's. (Shutterstock.com)

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