This weeks Traveling Mom in the spotlight is Aiva Vocisa from Our Crossings!
Hi Aiva! Can you introduce your family and tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Aiva Vocisa and together with my husband Valters and our four-year-old daughter Erciera we are the faces behind Our Crossings travel blog. We are from Latvia currently living in Sligo town on Ireland’s West Coast. We’ve been traveling together as a couple for the past 18 years and once Ericeira was born, had no intentions to stop.
What made you decide that you wanted to provide a life of travel for family?
We’ve been travelers our whole lives — and were fortunate enough to have families that prioritized experiencing new destinations throughout our childhoods. Travel is our passion and that’s why we made travel with kids our main priority. I believe that travel encourages learning and as the kids are exposed to new foods, experiences, and cultures, it lays a strong foundation and teaches a new narrative in the early years. We need to raise a generation that that knows how to coexist with each other and traveling can do that.
Are your friends and family supportive of you and the travel lifestyle you live in?
Our friends and family are very supportive of our travel lifestyle because there are so many benefits of getting Ericeira out into the wider world.
How will your daughter be educated while traveling?
As Ericeira is only four years old, she’s starting pre-school in September and until then we are teaching her valuable life lessons while exploring Ireland in our campervan. We are all learning about sacrifice, selflessness, loyalty, unconditional love, and togetherness. We learn how to solve problems the right way and how to see the best in any situation that arises.
(I love this answer! -Samantha)
How has your daughter benefited most from traveling?
Giving children vacations instead of toys can lead to advances in development. Just by gifting Ericeira, experiences and bonding time has made her more confident, kinder, helpful, smarter, and empathetic. She loves to talk about the Egyptian Pyramids, Canadian wildlife, and what people eat in other countries.
What has been the best “kid-friendly” city you’ve visited? What made it the best?
We usually try to combine outdoor adventures with city breaks, this way getting the best of both worlds. From Edinburgh to Dublin and from Lisbon to Riga, there are lots of kid-friendly cities to visit and explore. In order to fight over-tourism, we personally prefer to explore second cities such as Porto, Seville, Nice, and Nantes.
Have you tried any foods on your travels that your daughter absolutely loved?
We are vegetarians and we love trying out new foods whenever we travel as they can break up the monotony of our go-to dinner routine. Ericeira loves Spanish tortillas, creamy hummus, briny olives, falafel pita sandwich, and Portuguese custard tarts Pastéis de Nata.
What’s the biggest criticism you’ve received about your choice to live a life of travel?
We haven’t received any criticism regarding our travel lifestyle. A few family members and friends worried about us when we decided to explore Northern Africa when Ericeira was just two years old, but we always check out our target country before we go. Is there massive political unrest because it’s an election year? Are there almost daily, ongoing terrorist bombings or kidnappings? We’ll just have to cross that region off the list.
Do you have any travel goals for your family that you’ve set out to accomplish?
Our primary goal in traveling this dynamic World is not to escape but to transform, to understand other people’s views and beliefs, to encourage personal growth, and to connect. We firmly believe there is more to travel than just collecting stamps and air miles. After all, travel isn’t a competition. For us, the allure of travel is not a matter of mere numbers; it is what we find while being on the road- friends, natural wonders, and good surf.
In your opinion, what’s the worst part and the best part about traveling with kids?
The worst part about traveling with kids is probably that as a parent you have to be constantly on the guard about kids’ safety. To help prevent travel-related diarrhea in certain destinations, we need to be careful of food choices, we need to watch the heat and provide plenty of liquids, we need to keep en eye on how we exit and enter cars, trains, and planes. The best part is having fun and making memories.
What advice would you give to someone who is nervous about traveling with their kids for the first time?
Many parents often want to be sure their children are old enough to enjoy the trip and be able to do whatever the vacation plans cover. But in my humble opinion, we don’t have to take children on holiday for the sake of memories. We do it so they can be exposed to different cultures and various traditions. Our advice for anyone getting ready to take their kids on a holiday for the first time – take it slow and leave plenty of time for getting through the security, checking in at the airports, and even visiting museums. With kids in tow, you won’t be able to squeeze in a walking tour, three museums, and two restaurants all on the same day.
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