Beyond Louisiana, mother and children explore and learn the world unapologetically
Columnist Antoinette Harrell has watched Shauntae Joseph and her young sons experience and thrive in international travel.
The Black family is always looking for new and exciting opportunities to explore the world together. From long weekends in the Caribbean to a week-long stay in a tropical paradise, traveling provides a great opportunity to learn, grow, and bond with one another. More Black families are traveling now than ever before.
This is due to a number of factors, including increased access to affordable transportation options, the rise of the sharing economy, and the growing trend of family travel.
For starters, many families now have access to affordable transportation options that make travel more accessible. Whether it’s driving, taking the train, or even booking a flight, there are a variety of ways to get around.
When children travel to different places, they gain an appreciation for cultural diversity. They become aware of the varying ways people dress, eat, play, celebrate various occasions, and hold different values. This helps them broaden their perspective and understanding of diverse cultures. According to some experts, early travel can have a significant impact on a child's development into adulthood. Traveling can also promote a stronger desire to learn new languages.
For Louisiana native Shauntae Joseph has set educational travel goals for her two children: Antonio, 10, and Jhiri, 8. They have been fortunate to travel extensively both in the United States and internationally. This mom has made it a priority to expose them to the world beyond the classroom and textbooks. She has kept her promise to provide them with unique experiences rather than extravagant birthday parties, ensuring they have exceptional memories to cherish. So this is how they celebrate their birthdays. Traveling to new places, tasting new foods, and exploring.
These are the childhood memories passed down to her and her siblings by their parents. Shauntae and her mother, Terri Harrell Jackson, have enjoyed family trips for years. I recall one specific time when they packed their station wagon and drove to Chicago to visit our great-aunt Bertha Harrell. (Jackson is my maternal first cousin once removed.)
Every generation desires to witness the succeeding generation surpass its achievements. Shauntae gave her children passports and taught them about traveling, allowing them to broaden their horizons and explore the world through travel. Sometimes their grandmother joins them on their trip.
Antonio and Jhiri possess a curious nature and relish discovering new things said Mom. These experiences have taught them the importance of being open to learning from the world around them and have enabled them to develop a deeper appreciation for cultures different from their own. Jhiri demonstrates exceptional creativity in art. As part of her efforts to expose Jhiri to the arts, Shauntae includes art museums. During their travels, she ensures they have plenty of recreational fun and visits museums and other historical sites.
Their trip starts with both children sharing their desired destination with their mom. Afterward, they plan and discuss every detail as a family. When preparing for their trip, Antonio takes charge of researching various locations to visit, including cultural and historical sites, as well as local cuisine. Undoubtedly, his itinerary is sure to include exciting and enjoyable destinations. "When planning a trip, it's imperative to consider researching the places you want to visit, costs, and creating a well-organized itinerary when you have young kids," said Shauntae. She gave each little traveler a list of items to pack and assigned specific responsibilities to each of them.
Antonio and Jhiri journal their experiences and document their travel adventures on a private blog in order to capture cherished family moments through photographs. As a historian and genealogist, I can relate to the significance of traveling with loved ones. I frequently embark on trips with my two sons and grandchildren. Such experiences are truly unforgettable.
As the cost of living continues to rise, some parents find it difficult to afford air travel. Fortunately, there are numerous local destinations that offer great opportunities for exploring with children. Shauntae emphasizes the importance of prioritizing local travel options as a start to introducing children to the love of travel.
By Antoinette Harrell, columnist