"We’ve found that our quality of interaction increases on family trips, as we’re taken out of our daily routines and away from distractions like smartphones."
In June 2019, my husband Marcus and I brought our two young sons on a two-week trip around Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. I have always been inspired by the Silk Road and its Soviet past, so Central Asia was a dream destination.
Our holiday was certainly eventful; for starters, when we arrived in Kyrgyzstan, we discovered that one of our bags didn’t make the trip! We were initially distressed, but we saw it as a lesson in resilience for our children.
Thankfully, the missing luggage only contained Marcus’s and my clothes and essentials, so the kids were spared.
Malls were few and far between, but we managed to muster up a souvenir T-shirt each, along with some coats from an outdoor market to help us survive the sub-zero temperatures of the Kyrgyzstan highlands.
Oral hygiene came courtesy of the toiletries pack from our flight. Fortunately, we managed to retrieve our lost luggage a few days later.
Luggage misadventures aside, we had a great time exploring Central Asia.
If I had to choose a favourite country, it would be Kyrgyzstan thanks to its amazing scenery – think ice-capped mountains and rolling hills. There, we drove miles and miles on off-track roads – passing horses, sheep and cattle along the way – to get to our yurt, which was perched on the banks of a large alpine lake.
We also really enjoyed Turkmenistan, where we got to gaze into the glowing Darvaza gas crater in the middle of the desert, before returning to our yurt to sleep under a sky full of stars.
As a family, we tend to spend more on experiences than on things, as they bring more joy in the long run.
Creating shared memories is an important part of our approach to raising our boys. We want to expose them to different cultures and inspire their curiosity about the world.
Besides, we’ve found that our quality of interaction increases on family trips, as we’re taken out of our daily routines and away from distractions like smartphones.
There are many ways to broaden a child’s horizons without having to leave the country, but as with learning a language, immersion will always give you an extra edge.
After all, it’s one thing to read about the pyramids of Giza – and quite another to gaze upon them in real life and ponder how they were built back then.