012: Raising Cultured Kids and Traveling as a Blended Family with Brandi of The Cultured Baby
Every parent has goals for how they hope their kids will turn out and most want a well-rounded child who can appreciate what the world has to offer. But how can we achieve that? In this episode, Brandi with The Cultured Baby talks with us about raising cultured kids, even if you can’t yet travel the world. She also gives her insights on how to travel with stepchildren with her years of experience learning to be a step-mom to a now teen boy.
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Have you ever been told you can’t travel because you have kids? Brandi was too. But she’s decided travel is not only nice for her but imperative to the emotional and mental development of her children and so she’s making it a priority. But even when she’s not flying to a new destination she’s making sure she’s raising cultured kids, even in a blended family. From international festivals and trips to the library to hosting a foreign exchange student at home, she has lots of great ideas of how to start your cultural adventures at home!
Who is Brandi of The Cultured Baby?
Brandi Wiatrak is a funny “telling it like it is” mom who helps mamas to master motherhood with humor, sanity, and culture. She’s traveled extensively throughout three continents, lived abroad, and at one point was a full-service travel agent. From climbing the Pyramids of Giza to trekking the mountains of Guatemala, travel is part of her identity. However, once she became a mother, the comment floodgates opened, her family and friends told her “You’ll finally have to slow down with all that traveling.” Psshyeah, right! Brandi is here to prove that moms can still rock their adventurous spirit and travel with children in tow.
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In This Episode with Brandi of The Cultured Baby We Cover:
Making the Decision to Make Family Travel a Priority.
When you love to travel as much as Brandi has you really crave the adventures and don’t want to fall into the abyss of everyday life. Brandi describes how making travel a priority affected not only her decision to marry her husband but how they plan each year. She believes everyone can travel, but you need to prioritize it, plan for it, and work to make it a reality.
What is a Cultured Child?
While many think being cultured means a going to a good school, reading books, going to plays, and looking at art galleries, Brandi sees it as so much more. For Brandi to be cultured means being compassionate, open-minded, curious about people and cultures that are different from you, and not only accepting those differences but embracing them.
Her Goals for her own daughter and children around the world.
Her goal for her daughter is to learn about the world around her, to be curious about life, and to be an instigator of peace. And her goal is to share that mission with moms around the world. The more you travel, the more your eyes and heart are opened.
How to Raise Cultured Kids.
- Expose your family to other cultures through attending international events and fairs, visiting cultural epicenters in your local city (ie China Town, Little India…), and eating in authentic restaurants.
- Listen to music from different cultures.
- Embrace languages. Learn another language together as a family. Watch your favorite shows in another language, look at books in that language and so on. Check back when we release episode 16 where we’ll talk Karim from Spanish Educational Solutions all about the benefits of learning another language for your travels.
- Bring the world into your home. Use home decor, large maps on the wall, blankets and pillows you got from your travels and so on to be a part of your everyday life. (Watch the video of Sheila from Behind Every Day to see her USA map decor)
- Host an exchange student. No matter where you live in the USA, and around the world, there are students looking to live and study abroad. They want to experience your culture and in return, they help you learn about theirs. It’s a great way to develop lasting friendships and it usually means you have a place to stay when you go visit them lol!
- Hire a domestic helper or au pair. This is a great option for childcare and giving your child access to another culture. For example, we have a domestic helper and it’s allowed my son to learn another language along with English and try lots of amazing new food from the Philippines.
- Connect with the international programs in your local colleges and university to host international students for the day or over a holiday, attend events at the school with them and make their experience more special and welcoming without needing to host in your house.
- Find a pen pal. Find another mom from a different culture and regularly send postcards, special treats, and more back and forth to each other. In a world where the internet reigns this is a great way to incorporate handwriting, culture, and community.
- volunteer as a family.
Combatting entitlement in teens through travel
As all teens do, her stepson is entering a stage where he expects life to always be easy and see the world revolving around him. Her idea is to let him travel on a service trip so he can see how others live, to feel the joy that comes from helping others, and to see what generosity truly is. We talk about a few different services oriented or missions trips for teens and families so make sure to check it out around minute 20!
To see another family that believes in family volunteering, check out Mags from The Family Freestylers.
Overcoming Fears and Obstacles of Traveling with a Baby
For Brandi as an experienced traveler, you wouldn’t think she’d have any fears about continuing her travels as a mom, but she had many of the same worries that we all do. From poop explosions to changing her traveling style there were many new experiences to consider and plan for. And the one fear we all seem to have… “What will people think if the baby cries?” (or input any number of other situations there). And her conclusion… Have patience with yourself and your children and ignore the naysayers… And, of course, have a sense of humor when everything gets messed up!
Traveling as a Blended Family
When you are a step-parent there are more obstacles than most have when it comes to fulfilling your travel dreams. Brandi covers how they work around the challenges involved in traveling with her bonus son. From understanding when the other parent doesn’t want their child to go to making sure you have the right documentation to protect yourself and your child while traveling Brandi has travel tips for families in the same situations.
Where to Find Brandi of The Cultured Baby
Email: [email protected]