For all the travel that we’ve done with the kids, I wonder sometimes how much of it is sinking in. I truly believe that the things that they’re seeing and learning will benefit them throughout their lives, but I’m not really sure how much of the experience they’re understanding and appreciating right now, while we’re going through it. Part of it is that I wonder if they’re even aware of the geographic differences in the places we’re travelling to (does it really hit them how far apart some of these places are, or does any travel over an hour just register as “terrible” to a preschooler and a toddler?) and I don’t know if they realize how unusual their perspective is (in the same way that I imagine that someone who has been wealthy their entire life couldn’t appreciate what financial hardship was really like).
Of course, there’s no way for me to really know. And I’m sure that the distances they travel and the rarity of the opportunity they have are somewhat lost on them. But I do think they get it, at least a little.
One of their favorite movies is Cars 2 (the other favorite is, shockingly, Cars). We watch the Cars 2 movie ALL THE TIME (we watch at least pieces of it almost daily). And, at the end of the movie, there is a cute little cartoon montage of all of the places that Lightning McQueen and Mater go and visit (some are seen in the movie, but many are not). Recently, Liam has started pointing at the TV and shouting, “I’ve been THERE!” as the animation goes through various places in London, Paris and Germany. He’s right. He has. (He’ll also occasionally say that he’s been to Spain or Australia, but still, he’s pretty close. Hey, he’s *2*.) B has started doing this, too (he’s right even more often) and he’s also started a wish list based on the other places shown in the montage. (He wants to go to Spain, Italy, Egypt, India, China, Tokyo, Australia and Radiator Springs — that last one might be tricky. He’s also put in a request for a return trip to Paris.)
So, I think they do get it. They know that they’ve seen Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the Seine. The recognize the German scene (maybe by the Lederhosen?) and know that we’re going to go to Italy soon. They have a travel wish list, and they’ve chosen some exciting and exotic places. They’re not even in school yet, and B “can’t wait” to see Tokyo and the Great Wall of China. I think that’s fantastically cool. It makes me smile every single time — it’s my favorite part about watching that movie. (Well, that and Uncle Toppolino’s village in Italy — THAT is where I want to go.)