Giving my daughter the gift of travel

My sole purpose for starting this blog a little over two years ago was to prove that my traveling days did not need to come to an end because I was having a child. I think my husband and I have done well in staying true to that objective. I’m still traveling, most times with my daughter, and am encouraged to do so in order to keep up this blog. That’s great and all but what I feel most proudly about is exposing my daughter to new places, people, and experiences. Today is my daughter’s 4th birthday so it’s caused me to reflect on the many travel and learning experiences she’s already had in her short life. Reflect with me now, won’t you?

Lucia’s first travel experience happened when she was eight weeks old. She and I flew out to Arizona to see my dad through another brain surgery. Lucia was a perfect angel on the airplane, though I was a nervous wreck traveling alone with her for the first time.

Lucia & her Papa in Arizona

Lucia & her Papa in Arizona

Later that year, we took a family trip to Fort Myers Beach, Florida, where Lucia dipped her toes in the ocean for the very first time!

First time in the ocean!

First time in the ocean!

Shortly after Lucia’s 1st birthday in March of 2010, we took another trip to Arizona to see my dad, and Lucia visited her very first national park: Grand Canyon.

This traveling family is all about the National Parks.

This traveling family is all about the National Parks.

We took an all-girls trip in the Fall of 2010 to Cape Cod and Boston, Massachusetts. It was my mother, my sister, Lucia, and me – the ultimate in multi-generational travel! Lucia visited another National Park Service Unit, Cape Cod National Lakeshore; fell in love with some ducks in Boston Public Garden; and went to Fenway Park (the outside of it, at least).


Not quite two years old, in February of 2011, Lucia went on her first snowshoeing adventure! (Well, she was carried on Dad’s back…) She now has her own pair of snowshoes.

Snowshoeing at Ludington State Park, Michigan.

Snowshoeing at Ludington State Park, Michigan.

The following month, after her 2nd birthday, was the granddaddy of them all: our three-week family trip to Italy, which included stays in Napoli, Umbria, Tuscany, and Rome. Lucia got her first passport stamp, chased pigeons at Piazza del Campo in Siena, and ate double her body weight in gelato.


On our annual family fishing trip later that summer, Lucia caught her very first fish!

On the Wolf River - Winneconne, Wisconsin

On the Wolf River – Winneconne, Wisconsin

In August of 2011, Lucia added Pennsylvania to her list of states visited when we spent four days at the wonderful Omni Bedford Springs Resort and Spa.

My little hiker

My little hiker

The bulk of 2012 was all about “hometown travel” but we did make it to Iowa twice, once in June and once in October. On that second trip, we visited Franklin County for Harvest Tour 2012. Lucia got to ride in a combine and hold a cute little piglet.

Hampton, Iowa

Hampton, Iowa

So far this year, the travel highlight was spending a long weekend in Marquette in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Of all the cool things we did and saw, the most fun had to be standing at the starting line of the UP200 sled dog race, counting down for each musher and watching the dogs impatiently wait to be let through the gate.

UP200 Starting Line

UP200 Starting Line

The best birthday presents I could give Lucia are continued travels, further expansion of knowledge, and more incredible experiences. As she gets older, I can only hope that she appreciates all that she has seen and done, and promises to pass it on to those she grows to love. That would be the best gift she could ever give to me.

Happy birthday, Lucia!

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20 Responses to Giving my daughter the gift of travel

  1. Pola (@jettingaround) March 6, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    I love this post and the fact that you’re raising a traveler! You know what’s really cool? She’ll have this blog to remind her of her earliest experiences. Happy birthday, Lucia! 🙂
    Pola (@jettingaround) recently posted…Photo of the Week: A pier in Myrtle Beach, South CarolinaMy Profile

    • Francesca March 6, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

      Thanks so much, Pola. I’ve thought a lot, too, about how Lucia will be able to go back and read my blog in years to come to help her remember all her travels. More motivation for me to keep writing!

  2. Kiera (@easytravelmom) March 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    I too love this post. I often think about how my parents took me on trips my whole life, and how I am passing that “tradition” down to her. She will inherit the same disease of always wanting to travel! It’s a beautiful thing we are doing and lucky to be able to do it – happy birthday to your 4 year old! What wonderful memories!
    Kiera (@easytravelmom) recently posted…Weekends Run by House ProjectsMy Profile

    • Francesca March 6, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

      Thanks for the awesome comment, Kiera! Lucia’s already infected with that travel disease. Lately she’s been talking about how she wants to go to Japan 🙂

  3. The World Wanderer March 6, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    Aww, I love this! I’ve always said that having a child will not stop me from traveling, and you are proof! What a lucky little girl, Lucia is. Happy birthday!
    The World Wanderer recently posted…Music Monday: 1957.My Profile

    • Francesca March 6, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

      So sweet, Erin. Thank you!

  4. Paula March 6, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    Love, Love, Love this post. Happy Birthday Lucia!

    • Francesca March 6, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

      Glad you like it, Paula! Thank you!

  5. Raul (@ilivetotravel in Twitter) March 10, 2013 at 7:02 am #

    You are giving Lucia such a great gift!!! Woniderful. By the way, Lucia is not the only one who eats twice their weight in gelato when in Italy 🙂
    Raul (@ilivetotravel in Twitter) recently posted…Safari on Tanzania’s Lake Manyara National ParkMy Profile

    • Francesca March 14, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

      I’m sure I’m guilty of the same, too, Raul 🙂

  6. thelazytravelers March 14, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    this are amazing photos of lucia! not only will you have the memories of her first trips, but she’ll have the pictures to look back on. exposing her to travel at such a young age is SUCH a great experience. bravo, francesca! xo
    thelazytravelers recently posted…laws to travel by – #38My Profile

  7. Francesca March 14, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    Thank you, ladies! I really hope she appreciates all this when she’s older.

  8. Edwin Burgio April 11, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    A very special present you can think of giving is a magazine that honors the birthday boy or girl. Gather photos of the birthday celebrant in their forty years and scan these into a computer. Include photographs of notable happenings in their life like their wedding, honeymoon, family gatherings and others. Come up with magazine content on how the celebrant made your life more meaningful and ask his or her other friends and family to give their own touch such as a short letter or well wishes. You could craft the magazine yourself or have it printed at a local print shop..

    Find out about our personal blog as well

  9. Anita Mac May 9, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    What a cutie….glad to see she will be living a life with travel! I think kids learn so much on the road! Happy travels to you all!

    • Francesca May 9, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

      Thank you, Anita! Kids DO learn so much on the road – and adults can, too. That is the beauty of travel!

  10. Jenna November 4, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    Nice 🙂 This reminds me a lot of my situation about 4 years ago. When my son was almost 2, we were traveling with him a lot. He was so easy to travel with, and it was natural for us. Things have slowed down a lot with the second child. He is much harder to travel with, and now that there are 4 of us, it’s more expensive, too. But we will start taking both of them on big trips next year again. Travel is so good for children! Even babies learn a lot from it!

  11. MightyTravels March 30, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

    Teaching kids how to travel and understand other cultures is one of the best educational tools out there. There is little that compares with that.

  12. Joseff December 17, 2014 at 2:19 am #

    Letting children travel is one of the best gifts we can give to them. It’s like a great education to them.

  13. Valeria February 27, 2015 at 9:15 am #

    First of all, your daughter is bellissima!!! Second, you’re a great mom. I’ll be forever thankful to my parents who taught me the importance of travel. It backfired on them when I moved to the other side of the ocean, but I know they’re happy for me. I’m sure your daughter will realize soon enough how cool the world is 🙂

    • Francesca March 1, 2015 at 8:04 am #

      Thank you for such kind words, Valeria! My daughter Lucia is already beginning to realize how wonderful our world is and has her own level of wanderlust developing.

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