Saint Augustine said, “The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” ~ ESCAPESEEKER recommends you turn the pages and read with your entire family!

I guess you can say, my six children, now all grown, were the original members of the ESCAPESEEKER "cast" who did not hesitate to accompany me on my global assignments, even while they were young. Today, they still share my insatiable wanderlust to explore the wonders of this many pages to little time...

“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime. ~ Mark Twain

Mark Twain’s words made such in impression on me as a young girl that I made it my life’s goal to travel the world.

Family Adventures: Our Family Glue! Our children learned early on that they could fall asleep almost anywhere. Thanks to astute linguists, in addition to English, we have Russian, Czech, Spanish, French, languages covered.

And, as soon as my children could walk and talk, I took them with me—sometimes one at a time, two by two, and occasionally all six would accompany me on my journalism assignments that often became global adventures.  They began to understand the complexity that can sometimes accompany our  travels, but more importantly they developed a sense of how crucial it is to establish good rapport with everyone you meet.  In other words, I did not permit the “holier than thou” attitude to ever exists.  Rather, I emphasized teamwork and encouraged a “mission possible” attitude.  (By the way, these are all part of our ESCAPESEEKER PRINCIPLES that we still abide by today.)

Traveling soon became our family’s passion.

I have always strived to instill in my children the desire to learn...and nothing fueled my educational efforts like travel. I've always worked hard, and I made sure that we always saved up for travel. As the children got older, they preferred the travel experiences over the acquisition of toys, clothes and other material goods that we quickly found to be a passing fancy. In contrast, to this day, every member of our family has a favorite travel story to tell.

We have reaped all the benefits travel affords, but more importantly, we feel a far greater bond with people of all faiths, from all walks of life because we dared to venture out of our comfort zone.

Now that my six children are grown and three of whom are now raising their own families, it is fulfilling to see them not even think twice about hopping on a jet with their babies, or packing a van full of the necessary gear that babies require, especially for long distance road trips.

Brady, a backseat driver in training, as he continually advised his Mama, "Be very careful", especially when we came side to side with giant semi trucks.

For example, I recently accompanied my daughter, Christina and her two-year old twin toddlers, on an eleven-hour road trip through the Arizona desert to the Rocky Mountains of Utah, and I could not believe how well she had orchestrated the entire trip, complete with video monitors for each child, healthy (non-choking) zip-lock bag full of their favorite treats/tommytippee cups filled with water (so no risk of milk spoiling);  she mapped out our first stop (Christina pre-determined where the cleanest bath rooms with baby-changing rooms would be found en route), as well as the best health-conscious restaurants that welcomed children–so we could avoid the fast food variety and its high caloric burgers/nuggets options.  I basically came on board as “Van Attendant” and with a Road captain like Christina, the job could not have been easier.  We had an unforgettable road trip, complete with memories of my attentive grandson, Brady saying to his Mama as we passed the giant semi-trucks, “Be very careful Mama, drive carefully ok!”  There was also the time we were approaching our hotel’s elevator as another couple was getting on, and Brady announced, This is my Grandma Mel, My Mama, my sister, Olivia, and I’m Brady, and we are on a road trip!” I guess this precocious 2-year old just wanted to make sure everyone was informed.  Maybe we have another future journalist in the family?  The couple just smiled in amazement at the eloquence and enthusiasm of this little fellow.

Olivia kept us entertained with her repertoire of songs. By the way, she prefers Opera. Have you ever ridden in a car for several hours with an opera singing toddler? Pure magic! Ok, maybe for the first hour.

As we arrived at our final destination and gathered with the other members of our large family for the special blessing of the newest addition to our family, Baby Finley Dva Gee, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and joy for being blessed with such a tremendous family of skilled travelers who are willing to go the distance to participate in our family’s special events.

It didn’t seem that long ago when I was the one hauling an entire Suburban full of kids…when I used to plan out every detail of our travel adventures–whether via plane, train, boat or 4-wheel vehicles–I did not let having children stop me, or the fact that we often traveled on our own.

To all families of all varieties out there–including single Moms, single Dads who love to travel but are worried about what inconveniences and challenges traveling with children might entail–well, it’s definitely not a stroll in the park.  But I can happily confirm the following:

1.  the priceless memories will be long lasting (definitely lasting longer than the “IT TOY” of last Christmas),

2.  the bonding time aka “family glue” invaluable,

When we asked our youngest, Gabes, where she wanted to travel, she selected IBIZA! She was only 9 years old...I think she had help selecting this Spanish destination from her teenage sister, Miristi.

Big sister, Christina has always adored her baby brother, Brennen, who now towers over her...but the close bond remains, not only with them but with all the siblings. Keeping the family close and united is what I consider my life's greatest accomplishment.

3.  the mind-enlarging, intellectual benefits far outweigh the immense work preparation, and costs it may require (i.e. several of my children speak other languages in great part motivated by their travel experiences and playing with other children who were multilingual),

4.  the resiliency, fearless, open-minded attitude, the compassion for other people of other cultures that our family developed is immeasurable.  Poet, Maya Angelou eloquently describes it this way: “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”

5.  the most priceless gift of all, GRATITUDE.  My children, our entire family, developed a grateful heart for the opportunities we have been given, for the people we’ve met all along the way, for the ability to see with our eyes the majesty of this beautiful planet earth, to feel with our hearts and know that beneath all of our obvious differences, we are very much alike, that we all need to know that our lives matter, that we are treated with respect no matter our station in life, and that we are all striving to make our children’s lives better than our own.

Those who know me well, know that I firmly believe that nothing cures the “blues” or the “blahs” like an airplane ticket.   Try traveling to one of the world’s dramatically beautiful destinations, and you’ll never be able to deny the existence of our Creator as you feel your revived spirit soar!  Our family has proven that the world is full of amazing, interesting friends just waiting to be met.

Stay tuned tomorrow when I give you an insider’s glimpse into our life on the road as seen through the eyes of our ESCAPESEEKER team. In the meantime, here are just a few of my ESCAPESEEKER PRINCIPLES of TRAVEL that may also help ensure your own travel experiences become those of which dreams are made:

*Absolutely No Whining, Ever

*Remember, there’s no language or cultural barrier that a Smile cannot overcome.

*Every time you land on foreign soil, take off your American lenses and see the country through the natives’ eyes.

*Above all, Be Respectful of the foreign soil you have been given the privilege to explore.

Here’s to a Spectacular 2011, and to Blissful, Never-ending Escapes.

With love,


One Response to “Saint Augustine said, “The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” ~ ESCAPESEEKER recommends you turn the pages and read with your entire family!”

  1. Christina says:

    Your post brings back countless, wonderful memories! Thank you for sharing and instilling in us children your “insatiable wanderlust” and love for other people and cultures. You truly are our Mama Escapeseeker!
    Love Always,

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