Meet the world with your children - Travel away from everyday life and get closer to each other is reviewed by Michael Brønnum Thelle.
The travel adventure does not end when you become a father
Some people claim that when you have children, the adventure dies and a new - and completely different - era begins. However, this certainly does not have to be the case if you ask 20 traveled fathers who share their stories in Jesper Grønkjær's new book "Meet the world with your children - 20 stories from the Adventurers' Club".
Experienced travel fathers share in Meet the world with your children
I myself became a father for the first time in 2014 as a 28-year-old. That same year, I got married and went on the first overseas trip with my wife and daughter Caribbean. My wife and I had both previously visited exciting destinations, but this was the first time as parents.
In our circle of friends, many expressed concern that we would travel with a small child of just 5 months. ”How do you think she will handle the flight?? ”,“ What about the heat? ” and "What about baby food, diapers, etc.? ”.
However, all worries were put to shame, and our daughter Silje managed the flight as well as the rest of the trip without the major challenges. Instead, she met the world with a smile and lots of charm, and thus our desire to travel was certainly not quenched just because we had now become parents - quite the contrary.
The Club of Adventurers, together with the Traveled Club, is the epitome of the desire to travel for me. The author of the book is even a member of both places, so one must assume that he knows what he is talking about when it comes to travel. One of the other members encouraged him to write the book and together with 19 other club members he shares personal stories about life and adventures with children.
In the book, we are introduced to 20 fathers and not least adventurers who over the years have had the same experiences as me and have tirelessly continued their adventures all over the world - now just with children.
Known names and lesser known destinations
Already when you read the table of contents in the book, the desire to travel is aroused. There are stories from all corners of the world and lots of places where one might not have just thought that it would be obvious to travel with children. The book offers everything from burial chamber hunting in Guatemala and kayak expeditions among icebergs at Greenland for tribal dance in Namibia and adventure in horse-drawn carriage in Eastern Europe.
The table of contents also reveals that not just anyone has contributed to the book, but among other recognized adventurers, biologists, journalists, writers and researchers.
Among them you will find several well-known names such as Mikkel Beha known from TV2, as a TV host and not least the programs "Course to distant shores"; Denmark's first astronaut Andreas Mogensen; director of the National Museum Rane Willerslev and photojournalist Daniel Rye known from the book and film "Do you see the moon, Daniel" about his 13 months in captivity in Syria. The other names may be more unfamiliar to most, but that does not make either them or their narratives less interesting.
Adventure in reality - meet the world as it is
All children love adventure, but for most, the word will be synonymous with reading aloud and HC Andersen. However, this book instead offers adventures where the family itself is at the center. Among other things, expressed in John Andersen's story of a kayak expedition with his two sons aged 9 and 7:
"We did not have toys. When we went ashore, there were always exciting things the boys could find. There was driftwood, a clear river, reindeer antlers, Inuit ruins, etc. ” The same is true in Hans Egede-Lassen's stories from maternity leave in South Africa: "The magic lay not only in the destination itself, but in the presence along the way."
Several of the fathers in the book try to put into words their thoughts about the father role. They are used to, thrive on and have always sought the unknown to foster the adventure, but this is new to them. As Tore Grønne writes: “The world was turned upside down. I was no longer at home on the back roads of the world. It was totally new territory."
While the children are quite young, he and the other fathers experience how the children are naturally dependent on their mother, but they quickly feel an urge to also forge their own close, fatherly ties to the children. Therefore, several of the fathers arrange trips and expeditions alone with their children as soon as they are old enough to do so.
This is not just a simple tent or holiday home trip over a weekend. Instead, they go out where the mobile coverage is long gone to get closer to nature and not least each other.
Much more than travelogues
"Meet the world with your children" is not just another boring collection of travel stories that you have seen lots of times before. It points to something completely fundamental and instinctive in us: the desire to protect and learn from us.
With the desire to travel as a driving force, the families go out into the world and along the way they experience how the children absorb the many new impressions, magnificent experiences and new knowledge. Whether it is building a campfire, finding your way with the help of a compass or filleting a fish, the fathers experience that the children can easily do it themselves, as long as they feel safe and the framework is right for it.
This framework is created by the fathers by gradually leaving more and more of the initiative to the children when this makes sense. In this way, the children grow with the task and make their own, valuable experiences. At the same time, they gain a completely different understanding and not least respect for animals, nature and in particular the planet we live on.
In the book, the desire to travel is naturally inherited from father to sons and daughters, as it has previously been inherited from the fathers' own fathers to them. It is a huge gift to be able to pass on to his children. The desire to understand the world and be able to see it from different perspectives is a valuable trait that also applies elsewhere than when traveling. This applies, for example, to future workplaces, in understanding news, politics etc.
The desire to travel is not just about new experiences or uncovering as much of the world map as possible, but is more of a way to equip the children and dress them well for their further journey into life.
Being a father is a journey on several levels - and this book is ideal for the journey
When you read the book, you sometimes ask yourself if it really is for early that the children are taken on long expeditions in the farthest corners of the world away from the familiar and safe surroundings. Several of the children have neither learned to walk nor talk until they are on the move for the first time, so why not wait a bit so they could have even more fun and memories from the trips?
Tore Grønne describes it as follows: "I think you can expect everything to die. Wait for the right time, which never comes anyway. Wait until it's too late. ” It quickly becomes clear to the reader that Tore Grønne has got something. Children are safe when they are with their parents. And then it really does not matter if it is at home in the garden, in a small kayak in a Greenlandic fjord or far out in the desert in Botswana.
Perhaps the book's most important point is that experiences cannot or should not be planned in the smallest detail - even if you travel with children. According to Mikkel Beha, the recipe for a happy journey is ”That it does not take place on anyone's terms. It is about creating shared experiences".
The experiences come completely by themselves when you break with what he calls "DNH" - Danish Normal Everyday. The daily routines of packed lunches, eating at regular times, cuddling, school-home conversations, etc. can take the breath away from most families with young children, but if you break out of the hamster wheel, you get "More and better time with each other", as Andreas Mogensen puts it.
"Meet the world with your children" by Jesper Grønkjær is well written and captivating from the first page. It offers authentic and exciting travel stories from around the world, where you also get under the skin of the narrators - just as they get under the skin of the locals along the way.
The book's portrayal of becoming a father and the mental journey associated with it, most fathers should be able to recognize. Although the book is about traveling with children, I would recommend the book to anyone - parents or not, who possesses just the slightest desire to travel. Top marks from here!
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