How to Raise a Jojo: The Value of Multigenerational Travel

As an only child, I’ve always spent a ton of time with my parents, and when we started traveling with Josephine, we included them without a second thought. Little did I know that what I thought was merely a family vacation would provide such important opportunities to introduce Josephine to her history and identity. Vacations allow for significantly more facetime than everyday interactions do, simply because we’re all sandwiched together. When we’re on trips with my parents, Josephine eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner with the whole squad; she ambles through the nooks and crannies of foreign cities with said squad; she navigates the challenges of delayed luggage and canceled flights with said squad, as well. 

All of those activities are wellsprings of discussion: the time my parents discovered coddled eggs in the UK, for one. Also, the time when they threw back their heads and played the pimientos de Padron drinking game in Madrid with my mom’s cousin Charlotte, who departed for Spain for some unexplained reason and helped open Madrid’s first hamburger shop (called Knights and Squires — it is very bad. Do not try it.). Lastly, the time our flight home to the U.S. from Madrid was canceled right before my dad had a case to try in D.C., and during our meanderings around that airport, seeking solutions, he ran up a stalled escalator that started moving downward while he was mid-jog. 

There are SO MANY stories that might not have ever come up if we hadn’t experienced those prolonged periods together, that continuous shared company. And while those experiences aren’t really a part of Josephine’s DNA, they’re fascinating and/or funny. They’re stories she can latch onto, and stories she may very well tell her own children one day. I love being in that detached universe, where all we have is one another.

Author: Jessica Givens