Give Your Children the Gift of Discovery

If you give your children nothing else, give them a thirst for knowledge and adventure.  Children who discover, dream, and dreaming, dare. 

Miles and Belle at Haystack Rock on the Oregon Coast

I have four adorable children.  And because I have four adorable children, I also have four enormous Christmas wishlists.  Like I did when I was their age, each of them flipped through the Toys R Us Sunday ad, circling every other toy.  Add it all up and I think if I bought them all, I’d probably contribute meaningfully to China’s GDP growth.

I’m not going to get them all those toys. It’s not because I don’t love them.  It’s because I do love them. As much as I want them to have “things,” I’d rather they have experiences.

I find old Christmas presents buried in the grass when I mow the lawn.  I regularly throw away pieces from the 100+ piece sets that have a habit of getting spread all around the house (don’t tell Nicole).  I never buy name-brand batteries for the cheesy little remote control cars my kids have because they always break before they run out of power.

The fact is – most children’s gifts don’t last.

I suppose you could make the same argument about the experiences I provide for my kids.  Maybe they won’t appreciate the view from atop the monolith of El Penol.  Maybe they’ll be more enthralled by a fuzzy caterpillar while standing on the hollowed grounds of the Battle of Lexington.  Maybe they won’t remember chasing hermit crabs through starfish alleys in the tidepools of Haystack Rock when they’re older.

But the fact is that it will change who they are now.  My kids will better appreciate their blessings, having been in the 350 sq foot home of our friends, a Colombian family of 6.  I hope their imagination is fueled by hikes in Zions, Arches, and Canyonlands.  I’ll bet they see things a little differently, now that they’ve stood in a grove of enormous redwood trees.

If you give your children nothing else, give them a thirst for knowledge and adventure.  Children who discover, dream, and dreaming, dare.  Consider this, the man who dreamt, designed, and directed the construction of the Suez Canal, Ferdinand de Lesseps, grew up on the stories of his uncle Barthelemy.  Barthelemy departed France at the age of 20 to sail around Cape Horn and on to California.  Alone, he made his way from California to Kamchatka, then crossed Siberia on a dogsled. With that kind of bedtime story, it’s no wonder de Lesseps never met a challenge he didn’t believe he could conquer. (I’m reading about this in David McCulloch’s The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914).

I guess what I’m saying is just don’t be content to give traditional gifts to your children.  We at want to be a resource for you, so we’re doing a giveaway that will make a perfect discovery-inspiring gift.  We’d like to send you big hardcover book by Lonely Planet, “The Travel Book – Cool stuff to know about every country in the world.”

We’ve been trying to make it easy for our followers to keep up with us.  By far, the easiest way to stay piped into the travel tips we’re sharing is to subscribe to our blog.  So now, we’d like you to scroll back up and type your email in the little subscription box on the right hand side of our site. That’s how you’ll enter to win.

Once we’ve had 50 people subscribe, we’ll randomly choose 2 winners, so this is the kind of little contest you have a relatively high possibility of winning (1:25, but really when you consider just being a wanderluster itself is winning, it’s closer to 1:1).

Also, please comment below and tell us where you’d like to take your children.

Thanks so much for wanderlusting with us.  If you like what we do, please share your favorite posts with friends on social media.

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13 Responses to Give Your Children the Gift of Discovery

  1. Sheldon says:

    I’m taking my son to Panama in January. He’s only a year and a half, but by the time we get back it will be his 7th country. On top of that he’s visited 9 states.

    I love sharing experiences with my wife and my children. I love to worldwanderlust.

  2. Judi says:

    My children and I are constantly “planning” trips around the world. Currently my 6 year old wants to climb Mt. Everest; thinking I’ll wait a few years for that adventure but definitely putting it on the list. Saving right now for a trip to Scotland and loving the info you share here!

    • bradleyjai says:


      Thanks for your support! What an adventurous 6 year old! You know, the header photo for our site was taken on Mt. Kilimanjaro – that’s one I’d recommend for sure. We’ve posted about Scotland specifically. Be sure to use the search bar and categories to see our past posts.

      Best wishes and thanks again!

  3. Michelle says:

    I’m signed up and this giveaway is very exciting.
    We celebrated our oldest son’s 1st birthday in Rome and then couldn’t get away for our second sons 1st birthday. We now have newborn twins and would LOVE to spend their first birthday hiking around northern Scotland!

  4. Amanda says:

    I would to take my children all kinds of places, but New Zealand would be lots of fun!

  5. Jenn says:

    The Holy Land! (when it’s safe enough). I love the idea of giving a gift of a trip for Christmas instead of all those toys they play with for a week. I’ll be reading your blog and planning something for next year. Thanks!!

    • bradleyjai says:

      Jenn- Thanks for chiming in! Wouldn’t that be amazing? I would love to take my children to the sites of stories in scripture. Can you imagine how much more meaningful it would be to them (and to you) having stood in those very sites? Let’s hope there’s an opportunity in our lifetimes.

      Thanks for following our blog – you can also find us on facebook at

      Best wishes,


  6. Claudia Wakefield says:

    I want to take my children to Japan, to meet their grandfather who has been in Okinawa for 23 years.

  7. Valerie Barber says:

    There are so many places that I would love to take my kids! I really would love to tour around our own country so that they know and love America. BUT I absolutely love so many other places and it is a big world out there, so…I’d pick Europe. I love it and there is so much art and history and culture so close to each other. Love it.

    • Sheldon says:

      @valerie. So glad that you’ve got aspirations to take your children to see the world (and our country too). Our goal is to bring all of those locations closer to your reach. Sometimes it feels like they are only a dream, but we’re bringing them to reality. Continue to follow and we’ll give you more tips and more stories. Thanks for worldwanderlusting with us!

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