21st February 2019
My son and I are sat at an idle betting shop watching Arsenal v Bate Borisov. The score is 3 – 0 and he’s telling me why this was tense. The streets outside are dark, wet and deserted.
We had spent the day visiting the Kronborg castle, (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and browsing disused shipyards. I was speaking with the lady at the museum that was the dry dock many years ago. She explained that the last ship had set off in 1983 taking with it the employment source for about 5% of the local population and that many of the locals now commute to Copenhagen (40 minutes by train) for work.
We had even managed to fit in a quick trip to Sweden taking the ferry from Helsingør to Helsingborg. At just 2 miles, this is the narrowest part of the strait connecting the two countries. During WWII, this route was critical in the rescue of Danish Jews into Sweden.
We planned to watch the game in Sweden but came back sooner and looked for a place in Helsingør instead. Having had no luck in several places, we were grateful for a small spot in this dilapidated betting store. All machines had been turned-off as the store was up for renovation the next morning. We were the only customers that evening and the bartender was pleased just to have some company.
That gives you a slice of our half-term break and an intro into what I love the most about travelling with children – little opportunities to build bold characters.
As such, there are countless reasons to travel with children. Travel provides unique opportunities to bond, show them that you care, expose them to new cultures and so on. For me, it all adds up to one big outcome with three key attributes. And here’s how I define it.
A Bold Mindset = (Humility to Learn + Willingness to Teach) X Have Fun Along the Way
Let’s look at each of these attributes.
When saying learning and teaching, I mean various underlying attributes such as connecting and sharing. In the context of travelling, there are two ways to look at this.
First, your exchange with the environment. As with the above stories, this world offers endless opportunities to interact and share, and you only have to be curious. That’s why I focus more on the attitude to the exchange than on the exchange itself. No learning is ever wasted. When speaking of the environment, I refer to interactions such as the chat at the museum and also other research that your travel might trigger. For example, as we visited Kronborg, we realized that Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ is believed to have been set up here and so on the way to the castle, I told him the story of Hamlet.
The second way to see this is your interaction with one another because regardless of the destination, travel offers one more gift. The gift of mental space! I find that when travelling, I am no longer thinking of day-to-day chores such as sorting the grocery order or tidying the house which in turn leaves me with a lot more room to listen and respond. For example, I realized that although my son didn’t know hindi, he was trying to use some hindi phrases. So I selected some hindi films which I felt he might like and over the course of the week, we have covered four films! Meanwhile, he’s keen to teach me to vlog and having been introduced to Splice, I’m on it. As we walk through places, he offers prompts such as, ‘If I were you, I would add this to my vlog.’
‘What do you like about this YouTube channel?’
‘It’s so funny.’
‘It makes no sense at all.’
‘That is why it is so funny…’
Clearly, fun means different things to different people. That’s part of the fun. And even what was fun to you at one point, might not seem like much fun after a while. Our definition of fun will continue to evolve so regardless of what fun means to you, what matters is that you know what that is and how to curate it.
Some think that destinations make things fun, I believe though that you carry the key that unlocks the fun.
I get the title from Shakespeare’s ‘Cymbeline’. I chose this because boldness is the attribute I associate with the most and I owe a lot of it to my travels, both intended and unintended. From a very modest childhood in India to schooling in Liberia, college back in India and so on, I have had to make several new starts in new places in new roles. Besides teaching me to appreciate a world beyond my own, it has made me considerably fearless of what some call, ‘starting from scratch again’. While memories fade over time, my mindset has stayed and perhaps continues to get even more pronounced.
As parent to a relatively shy child, I lap up every opportunity to nurture his talent and am delighted to see him interact with people, although only in small bursts of fun. Whether it’s kidding with the the guy at McDonalds that his mum was asking if she could get a discount (only to annoy me!) or asking the guy at the Forex counter what football team he supports, every interaction is precious.
I am sure your children are unique in their own way and you too love to see them grow. All I can say is that whenever you can, take the time to travel with them.
On face value, this might seem like a gift that won’t last but in reality, this one is a real investment that will continue to reward them over time…
No matter how the dots connect, honing their ability to open their mind to this world and embrace it with all its beauty and flaws, connecting, sharing and having fun along the way will hold them in good stead.
Over time, memories may wilt souvenirs will fray… But character that’s built Will be there to stay.
Vinita is a keynote speaker and a mindset coach. She is also a full time senior employee in financial services and continues to balance a day job while pursuing her passion such as speaking and coaching.
Her extensive multi-industry global corporate experience in blue chip firms combined with her passion for people and purpose gives Vinita the edge in bringing to you very deep perspective with practical tips that can help you fix problems.
Through her speeches and articles, she covers an extensive range of topics ranging from more technical subjects such as risk management, controls and automation to soft skills such as self-awareness, mindsets, leadership and culture. She believes firmly that true transformation requires a unique blend of a multitude of skills including technical and soft skills.
Vinita speaks at global events and has spoken at locations such as Sydney, Barcelona and Vienna covering a wide range of events such as the risk management, women’s leadership and mentoring talks for young adults.
In her career of over 20 years, she has spent time in 3 countries, 10 cities and 4 industries and has held a very diverse set of roles in prominent and FTSE100 firms including The Oberoi Hotels, BSkyB and a leading British bank.
In 2017, she published her book on fixing financial conduct the constructive way. Click here to get a copy of the book. Passionate about fitness and overall wellbeing, she is also a proud London Marathon Finisher & a member of the TEDx tribe.
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