“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”– St. Augustine
Full confession: I love to learn and teach others new things. I have been a classroom teacher for the past twenty years and teaching others is a compulsion that my children tease me I am unable to turn off. Strange child in a museum asks her harried parents about a piece of art? I leap at the chance to point out the artist’s technique and history. Group of people shriek at a winery because a “scary frog” has invaded their picnic? I scoop it up and teach everyone the difference between a toad and a frog and have them pet the bufo americanus before relocating it somewhere safe. While I tend to do this everywhere, it brings me joy to travel with my family and have the world as our classroom.
We are fortunate to travel a lot. My husband is amazing at working the world of miles and points and travel hacking. As a family we have visited more than half the states, and two dozen countries on six continents. As I prepare for our trips, I try to find out everything there is to know about our destination and then plan a packed itinerary around important sights and activities that my family will enjoy most. I work hard to include a good mix of culture, nature, food, and history. I post daily trip reports to social media, so friends and family often ask me to share my itineraries, recommendations, and resources.
As you plan your travel, I believe there are always opportunities to work in teachable moments, for children and adults alike. Even if museums and historical tours are not your thing, there are ways to more fully immerse yourself in a culture and thereby better understand its people and traditions. Let’s explore.
Chrissy Brownson is a Pennsylvania native, but calls Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC, home. She lives with travel writer husband Jeff, two teenage sons, Ryan and Cole, and two dogs, Artemis and Athena. In addition to traveling, she spends her time teaching Elementary STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) education for Fairfax County Public Schools, reading, hiking, socializing, and drawing.