When we became parents it was obvious that our little one would not stop us from travelling the world. We love to travel and it should come as no surprise that our little one has been to 6 countries before his first birthday. We hope that he will become a true global citizen and follow his wanderlust when he grows up. Recently we have thought a lot about childhood memories and how to curate them for our little one and we heard about the concept of 18 summers, in an unlikely place – the website of the Idaho Department of Commerce and Tourism Development ( we were looking at Idaho, as a stop over on our sabbatical).
*Bonus: There is even an 18 Summers rap songs by dad and rapper Dillon Chase.
The days are long, but the years are short
Mom travelled by herself for the first time internationally when she was 15 years old…and by the time she was 18 she had moved abroad and went on holiday with her friends. Family holidays became a rare occurance. Dad joined the Marine Corps and was seconded abroad and stationed all over the country, so also for him his family barely made the 18 family summer’s count.
Looking back on our life journey’s we would not want to change anything and are happy that our families allowed us to explore the world on our own as of a young age. But being parents ourselves, we now realize that our little one might only spent another SIXTEEN summers with us, before we will hear about his travel stories, but not be part of it anymore. The thought is scary and liberating at the same time – We want to MAKE EACH SUMMER COUNT and live by the credo ” the days are long, but the years are short”.
◊ Our 5promises to our little one FOR OUR 18 SUMMERS TOGETHER◊
We will always take the triP
We have all been there, hearing about a place or seeing pictures of a place and getting major Fernweh, but then we stall ourselves and time, responsibilities, money & co get in the way. But keeping in mind that we only have 18 summers with you, we will always take the trip! Whether that is to the local playground to ride your little red car around the skatepark , to a local famers market or to see the world during our upcoming family sabbatical. Our 18 summers will be spent seeing them through your eyes ( and often at your pace. Everyone who has ever let a toddler take the lead on a walk will understand that there is an entire amazing universe on a path of less than 20 m, which can take an hour to explore).
WE will always MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A home
We want to show him the world, and make sure that he understands that life in other cities, countries and on other continents is something that is an option for him and that any place can be home. Also travelling to other places and interacting with other cultures fosters understanding, resilience, takes away the fear of the unknown and creates a strong sense of empathy. Our little one is a 3rd culture kid , a citizen of everwhere and nowhere .We want to make sure that he has roots! Mom was born in Germany, Dad in the United States, he was born in The Netherlands, and we don’t know where his sibling(s) will be born. But we hope that through travelling and making him see, feel, touch, smell and taste the world we can help him to find his place.
WE WILL CURATE (TRAVEL) MEMORIES FOR YOU
Living an internationall mobile lifestyle, and not having found our family forever home yet, means that our little one will have to be flexible and adapt to new places, people and situations. Mom’s childhood home still has the wooden doorway where you will find all the various family members height being measured. Our little one won’t have such a place, therefore we will make sure to take plenty of pictures and curate (travel) memories of not only our 18 summers, but all our adventures near and far and mundane daily life ( also see our article:10 Best ideas to curate travel memories for children)
WE WILL PRIORITIZE FAMILY TIME
Family time does not have to be ‘special’ and action packed all the time. Snuggling up on the couch together after a bath and smelling the scent of our little ones fluffy soft baby hair. Being the only person allowed to heal an ouchie. Dealing with a major tantrum at a supermarket because of not being allowed to bite into all the apples in the fresh fruit section. All this is family time, and as much as sometimes it feels more like a chore than a blessing, we will prioritize it. Why? Because it is going to be short lived that we are the centre of our little ones universe. So we will enjoy the beauty, mess, tears and laughter of our 18 summers.
WE PRIORITIZE MAKING MEMORIES OVER OWNING THINGS
We believe that while toys, are important for developmental purposes and play, we think that it is not toys or clothes or souvenirs that will build memories, but it is the time we spent together to create memories. Therefore we choose making memories over owning thing, and trust that our little one will be ok without owning the average 238 toys.
Do you find the thought of only having 18 summers scary or liberating?
Want to read more of our travel stories, visit our ‘where we have been’ page to see all of the travel adventures we blogged about.