“We have always dreamed of taking our family around the world,
but we don’t even know where to start.”
We hear this from people all the time, after our presentations or during conversations over dinner. I admit, I had a similar feeling when the seed to travel around the world with my family was planted in my brain so many years ago.
My recommendation? Start around the kitchen table (or wherever your tribe meets up on a consistent basis). For our family, it was dinner time. After all the pleasantries and four letter words – FINE. GOOD. YEAH. OKAY – were out of the way, John or I would start a conversation that began with two simple words:
and then we would fill in the rest with what we were curious about.
For example, “What if you could buy a ticket anywhere in the world. Where would you go?”
We wouldn’t end there — we would continue the conversation with genuine follow-up questions like:
- Why there?
- What would you want to see?
- What would you want to do?
- How long would you want to stay?
Everybody at the table would have a chance to answer the questions. When we had guests for dinner, they got to play along. These conversations gave each of us an opportunity to dream, teach, share and think. We learned from each other and about each other during these “What If” talks.
Here are some tips for you when having the “What if…” conversations with your tribe:
- Choose an unhurried time so everyone gets to participate and share.
- Create an open space for everyone’s ideas and thoughts.
- Take your time. If your family is not used to having these types of conversations, start slow.
- Make the conversations casual. No need to take notes.
- Use a book to start the conversation – 501 Must-See Destinations is a great one with amazing pictures and descriptions of the sights.
- No need to act like an interviewer, just be genuinely curious and encourage a conversation.
- Don’t push for answers. Just ask another question or offer a suggestion to get the ball rolling. Sometimes kids don’t answer, not because they are being stubborn, but because they honestly don’t know.
- Don’t interrupt. Don’t interrupt. Don’t interrupt.
- Teach listening skills by listening.
- Don’t correct any answers, just keep asking additional questions.
- Don’t try to change anyone’s mind.
- There are no wrong answers.
- Don’t ever say “Oh, I would never… (go there, do that, eat that).”
- Always remember you are creating conversations with people you care about. Enjoy the process with the intention of learning more about each of them.
As each of us got more comfortable with these conversations, we would add things in like:
- What if we took a year and traveled around the world?
- What if we stayed in hostels instead of hotels and resorts? What would that be like?
- What if we when we are traveling, we get homesick, injured, lost, or sick? What would you do?
- What if we have to stay in small spaces and share beds?
- What if we don’t like a place we are staying?
- What if we volunteer? What would you like to do?
Books, maps, and other people’s experiences are great ways to start these conversations.
We bought the book 500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up and we each took colored sticky notes and marked those places we wanted to see. By the way, we did knock off quite a few of these. Another great book when it comes volunteering ideas is 100 Best Volunteer Vacations to Enrich Your Life. We also purchased a big canvas map from IKEA and hung it prominently on our family room wall which created more opportunities for impromptu What If conversations.
My recommendation of where to start?
Where ever your tribe meets consistently and with the What If conversations.
Let it evolve. Stay curious. Stay open. Have fun learning about those you care about.
We are launching Courage Journey trips, so What if you could go on a trip with us? Where would you go? What would you do?
Tell us. We are listening. Go here to add to the conversation.