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My 12-Year-Old Wants to Go to 10 Countries in 10 Days... Why Not?

Updated: Nov 1, 2019

“Raise kids to believe the impossible is only impossible if you never try.”

My 12-year-old daughter spent the afternoon planning a 'bucket list' trip -- 10 countries in 10 days.

This isn't a trip to take when she's twenty or thirty. She wants to go this year.

The idea came after watching Nike's Make It Count video.

But the seeds of possibility were planted long before then.

“I dwell in possibility…” -- Emily Dickinson

When I was twelve my parents said they were taking us to Disneyland.

I didn't believe it would really happen. It was 'too good to be true.'

Even as our family drove to California and stayed the night in a hotel across from the 'happiest place on earth' I still didn't believe it was real.

It wasn't until we walked through those gates that I finally let myself get excited.

The possibility of of something I really wanted actually happening seemed out of reach. I wouldn't let myself get excited because I didn't want to be disappointed.

My hubby, Greg, took only one or two family vacations when he was a kid. One of those was a trip to Yellowstone.

He also saw a beach for the first time when he was thirteen. Mostly, his family never left their home town.

As children, Greg and I could barely name 10 countries. We certainly never dreamt of visiting them -- as kids or adults -- and definitely not in 10 days.

But here our twelve year old is planning a trip that will take her to 10 countries in 10 days.

She's not dreaming about it. She's not wishing or hoping. She knows it will happen.

How did we raise a kid like that?

“If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” -- Thomas Edison

Greg and I first conceived of traveling when we were married with four children (who were all under the age of four by the way).

We doubted if it was really possible. We didn't know of anyone who was doing what we were dreaming of.

But we believed enough in possibilities to stake everything on finding out.

"The future belongs to those who believes in the beauty of their dreams." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

So when this 12-year-old girl was four months old we drove from Utah to Costa Rica. It was our first big 'impossible' dream made reality.

I remember the exhilaration of crossing the border. We did it! We had achieved what others (including ourselves) had deemed unachievable.

Since first crossing those borders (not only political but psychological), we've continued to lead by example. We've shown her how to follow your dreams, set big goals, and make them happen.

We've taken this girl (and the rest of our seven children) to 30+ countries on five continents. She's been to beaches, waterfalls, ruins, castles, the Eiffel Tower, the Tower of Pisa, and the Colosseum.

She's ridden a camel in the Sahara and an elephant in India.

We've done things most people never conceive of trying simply because they believe they are incapable of achieving it -- and they're afraid of being disappointed.

We've never told our kids, "That's impossible."

We always say, "How could you make that happen?"

We never tell them to 'be realistic'.

We're not afraid of letting them be disappointed. Achieving dreams is hard work and involves trial and error and failure.

We always tell them they can reach any dream, no matter how crazy or weird or unrealistic it may seem to us.

Who knows what they will create, do, or achieve? Not me.

My job is to give them the belief that "whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."

“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” Mahatma Gandhi

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