Katrina Sriranpong is a former lawyer, passionate philanthropist, and mother of two. Her passion has always been to make the world a better place for her children, which is exemplified through her consistent support of charities and non-profit organizations.
She particularly promotes the awareness and change in the areas of anti-human trafficking, especially of children, assisting refugees, caring for orphans and advocating for animal rights and habitat protection.
Katrina Sriranpong took an indefinite leave from her career as the only Thai speaking immigration lawyer in Vancouver, British Columbia, to focus on raising her children. She also serves as the current director for a non-profit learning centre for young children to help them succeed in the next chapter of their life.
Katrina Sriranpong has a passion for international travel. Travelling with young children can be an overwhelming proposition with their limited patience, unpredictable schedules and long list of items to pack from diapers to potty seats (if being toilet-trained). Traveling with children can be a difficult and daunting task for parents looking to fly into new adventures, but there are a multitude of benefits to travelling with your children. While age is most certainly a factor, the benefits of taking your children to new places may just outweigh the potential cons.
She emphasizes that there is a difference between travelling and going on a holiday. Although you can certainly do a mix of both during a trip, which she highly recommends, travelling is learning and exploring a culture and destination as well as the food, history, and the way of life of the people who live there.
“I think nurturing a social conscience in the next generation is crucial to change. As a mother of two, raising children who care and contribute are extremely important to me. This is the reason why traveling is so meaningful for me” said Katrina Sriranpong. She explains, “it’s an opportunity to expose my children to other countries and people who are less fortunate and find ways for my children to identify with other cultures. I believe we are all connected in some way.”
Here are five of her top reasons to travel with children.
Provides an opportunity to connect with other cultures
Travelling provides a unique opportunity to learn about new cultures and traditions, which promotes connection, compassion and empathy for others. Teach your children to learn basic words in the foreign language and appreciate different cultural etiquettes. For example, in Thailand, it is disrespectful to point with your feet and, in India, it is rude to pass food with your left hand as it is considered unclean. Discuss and practice these rules with your children as well as the consequences of breaking the rules of etiquette. Learn with your children the origins of their traditions to cultivate understanding and respect.
Try different food, and if your children are old enough, engage in cooking classes with your children to learn to make authentic recipes which you can recreate back at home. Most importantly, when you come back home, you can keep a calendar of upcoming holidays celebrated in the countries you have visited. You can celebrate with your children the holidays to show appreciation for different cultures, which promotes respect and understanding. Even shopping is an opportunity to immerse your children in a different culture. For example, while shopping in the markets in Thailand, you can buy religious symbols and local crafts and learn about their historical significance.
Promotes social responsibility and social consciousness
Travelling allows children to understand their role in the world and the concept of globalization, in which we are all connected.
Travelling to developing countries allows your children to see that not every child has the safety of shelter, water, food, medical care, and child protection. Also, although children may not realize it yet, they are part of a global economy. Teach your children where their clothing and toys are made and who makes them. Discuss the human rights perspective and economic perspective by asking why clothes/toys are made in other countries and any potential human rights violations of workers creating their items. This will help to prepare them to be socially responsible and socially conscious of their decisions.
While travelling, you can show your children environmental impacts of pollution and how that affects the environment. Katrina Sriranpong explains while travelling to Seychelles, she found plastic debris along the beach with Chinese writing. A local ranger explained that a study conducted in the region found that the debris and identifiable trash had travelled by sea from Indonesia, South Africa, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Saudi Arabia, UAE and other countries. The plastic in the ocean kills hundreds of sea birds, turtles and marine mammals every year.
“I also think spending time in nature with your children to improve their ecological understanding would develop a desire in them to preserve the environment for all animals” said Katrina Sriranpong.
Depending on how old your children are, they should be taught how to navigate in a new country using a map, how to make a phone call home, where to seek assistance if they are lost, how to exchange and withdraw funds, and how to commute using different modes of public transportation. These are essential life skills and travelling provides the opportunity to develop these skills in new environments.
Ignites curiosity and wonder about the world
Children naturally have a sense of curiosity about the world and they love exploring. Imagine taking that and allowing them to soak up new experiences, seeing them get so excited for every new sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.
As parents, you also have the benefit of experiencing the world a second time through their eyes as they discover new things they love. Watching them being fascinated at the sand on the beach or witnessing them seeing their first volcano brings you back to the first time you saw these beautiful creations.
To create valuable memories
Most importantly, creating lasting memories and buying experiences is far more valuable than buying things. Travelling is a wonderful way for you and your children to build memories together as a family and create new chapters for your individual stories for years to come. Children will eventually grow up, but the memories of their childhood adventures will last a lifetime. According to psychologist Oliver James, “family travels are valued by children, both in the moment and for long afterward in their memory.” Travel experiences become “happiness anchors” for children, who then use the memories created as reminders of more positive life moments to cherish.