The World is Calling
Hey travelers! The world is calling! Are you ready to explore, learn, and play? If you love to discover the world, I've got a resource for you. The World is Calling is a travel site created by Lisa Bergren and her family - who believe (as we do) that travel IS education, that our kids are true global citizens, that journeys should always include time to breathe and allow for serendipity. The World is Calling is a treasure trove of goodness - from travel packing tips to traveling with kids; from traveling with grandparents to lodging and restaurant reviews - this is one fun site to dig into and explore.
We caught up with Lisa and asked her about the evolution of her site, family travel, exploring a culture, giving back, living like locals, and more. Here's what she had to say...
Emma (13) at Tivoli, Italy
WE: Please tell us about the World is Calling...
LB: Our goal is to encourage all families to travel together, whether it be abroad or in their own state, and to encourage couples to take some time away on their own too. There's so much to learn about ourselves and our relationships--and travel helps facilitate that learning.
WE: What was the genesis of your site?
LB: It began as another entity, FamilyTripster.com, birthed with another family about five years ago after we went to Italy together as couples, then took each of our families on their first trips abroad. In time, the other couple knew they weren't quite suited to blogging and we learned there was a Tripster.com that had trademark lead, so we dismantled and rebuilt as The World is Calling.
WE: Do you have any tips for making sure your kids have a great time, on your journeys?
LB: It's great to involve them. When we rolled up to Stonehenge, Middle Daughter said, "I didn't know we were going to see THAT!" Obviously, it was a parental planning failure on my part. They like to engage early, during and after about what we are going to see/saw. I also try not to over-schedule--my kids don't do well with the 7am-9pm tour schedule. We're all happier if we're touring half the day, and relaxing/playing/following our nose the other half. It allows for serendipitous discoveries...like Emma and I were just wandering around Venice, saw a Da Vinci exhibit, and had the time and mental/emotional space to say, "Let's check it out!" Kids love that.
Jack (7) San Diego Beach, California
WE: How can travelers best dig deeply into a culture/new place?
LB: I encourage people to think about the senses--how will you be able to hear/taste/smell this place again, once you're home? Often, it's connected with people you meet. Network before you go to get a jumpstart on it. We got to go to a 3-year-old's birthday party in Rome--one of our highlights--because we'd connected with her mom on Twitter. That insight into "real" life for Romans was fantastic. We went to a Vivaldi concert in Venice, his birthplace, in a church the exact size he composed his music in...it will stay with us forever. We took a gondola ride, dragging our hands in the water. Memories like that stick with us all.
WE: What are your top tips for traveling off the beaten path, meeting locals, giving back?
LB: Renting an apartment or villa is a GREAT way to settle in among the locals and get a feel for "real life" in your destination. Grocery shopping, cooking, taking out the trash, finding the post office and drug store...We love it all.
And as I said above, having some room in your schedule to wander is awesome. I love having time to get lost in a city and not stress about it...following locals to their favorite restaurants at quitting time, watching children play. Extra time also allows you to pick up the brochures, newspapers and other announcements to find out what's happening that week in your destination. I like to find out what people recommend you see that no one else ever sees (again, networking in advance with people who know). We hit the hot spots/must-sees and then move on to those hidden treasures.
In terms of giving back, we need to examine that need as a family...my older teen has done mission trips, which includes volunteer work with orphans as well as travel, but it'd be good for us all to do something like that as a family.
WE: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
LB: I really think travel is as vital for our kids, the coming global generation, as college. So we've elected to spend some of our savings on introducing our children to other cultures and the great cities of the world, as well as building memories together. This creates stresses on the college budget funds, but we'll get creative when we reach that point--community college, maybe college abroad, where it's less expensive. To us, travel IS education, so it's all a part of the mix. I love it that my girls have seen England, France, Italy, a smattering of the USA, the West Indies. Heck, I love it that they've seen most of our home state of Colorado--it shocks me how many kids never get out of their own city! I'd love it if we could add dips into Asia and South America before they leave the house...we'll see if we can raise the funds to hit that goal.
WE: Thanks so very much, Lisa! We love your site, and highly recommend it to our Wandering Educators.
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Feature photo: Olivia (16) and Jack (8) at Sunlight, Colorado
All photos courtesy and copyright The World is Calling