At P4H, we believe home is the foundation of a good life. That’s why we help families on their journey toward home for their Loved Ones with I/DD. We also believe a truly fulfilled life can’t exist solely within those four walls. We have to explore outside our day-to-day lives to discover new ideas to help us better understand our own place in the world.
Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world. – Gustave Flaubert
Traveling to a new place takes us out of our daily routines, and forces us to try new things.
“We tend to find comfort in our daily routines; however, this doesn’t leave much opportunity for self-discovery because we rarely take the opportunity to step outside of our comfort zones,” writes world traveler and author Leon Logothetis in Huffington Post. He believes that one of the best ways to learn more about ourselves is by traveling. Being in a new place forces us to be more patient with ourselves and others, and find new confidence in our own abilities.
Travel can also teach us empathy for others, writes Gabrielle Boucher in World Packers. “Traveling teaches you that all people are different on the outside, but inside everyone feels the same emotions and wants happiness.”
Expanding one’s horizons, even if it’s simply a day trip to explore a nearby city, helps us see with fresh eyes and learn more about our world.
Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited of what could go right. – Tony Robbins
Of course, all travel comes with a built-in set of challenges. Most of us have some level of anxiety about leaving home – Will bad weather ruin our plans? Will the flight be delayed? What if I get sick? For families of Loved Ones with I/DD, those concerns can escalate in a thousand different ways.
“Planning ahead takes on a new meaning for families with special needs travelers,” writes Gwendolyn Shearman in US News and World Report. She interviewed Meghann Harris, founder of SpecialGlobe, an online resource that helps families plan and book travel based on their unique needs.
“Before we flew, we used to go out to the airport and watch the planes take off and land to get used to the sound of the power of the engine,” Harris explained. “We've gotten a map out to show the location where we are going and read books and learn facts about locations.”
Knowing what to expect can alleviate a lot of the stress, Harris notes. Before planning a trip, search out information on travel tips specific to your Loved One’s needs. AutismSpeaks.org, for example, has some good resources on what to expect and how to prepare.
If your Loved One is already somewhat experienced with travel, look into programs that provide travel services specifically designed for adults with I/DD, like these:
No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow. – Lin Yutang
Returning home after a trip has its own rewards. We drop our bags and somehow home feels just a little bit warmer, a little bit more welcoming. We display our souvenirs and share our stories and photos with friends while we stash our suitcase in the closet until next time.
We have traveled, and now we are home. And if we are lucky, we’ve learned just a little bit more about what that truly means.