By Sam Keller - August 10, 2022
During the summer of 2022, a mother named Julianne attended our program in Moorea with her husband Andrew and their two teenagers, Stephen and Maria. Lo and behold, what she wrote about her family's experience is now our North Star, guiding our efforts so more families can share these realizations:
"As we watched our kids tearfully hug their new friends goodbye, and we fielded their questions of how soon we were going to come back to Moorea, our impression that this trip was really something special was cemented. We knew that the parent-oriented parts of the trip were amazing and full of opportunities not found with other travel experiences, meeting and getting to know locals being a central part of the beauty of it. We wondered how our kids would react to a scheduled day and being mixed with kids they had never met. They loved it all and really felt that they were part of something so much bigger than themselves.
Our hope for our teens is that after their beautiful memories soften over time, they will be left with a burning ember of wanderlust, not only to see and experience different places, but to have the knowledge and experience to peel back the layer of tourism and really try to get to the heart of a place, like they were able to do on this trip. Working Without Borders and Nani Travels really gave them these tools on this trip by immersing them in a new culture with teens their age and giving them opportunities to experience so many new things, from getting scuba certified, hiking with the island elder to ancient historical sites, learning from scientists with hands-on ocean experience, to putting on a full blown Heiva, learning songs, methods of preparing food, dancing, and making their own costumes. That does not nearly cover all that they did!
After just four weeks they made wonderful friendships and came away with a deep respect for a different way to live. To us, this is invaluable as human beings, and a gift for our children that they can’t get without such a meaningful experience. We hope that in their future travels they will look for the real people, with the knowledge that despite our differences, people are largely the same, with families, homes, histories, and ideals that we cherish. The willingness to overcome cultural, or language barriers and to step outside their comfort zones because they have experienced how worthwhile it is, is a lesson we are so very grateful they have learned.
We cannot adequately express what a wonderful job Working Without Borders did and how Nani Travels and their amazing team went above and beyond in order to make this trip so meaningful and special to each one of us. If you have a way to make this trip happen and you have an adventurous spirit, I wholeheartedly recommend this trip, especially if you have teenagers. Our most basic hope was to get them off their phones for the summer and that did happen, but we all came away with so much more."
Our mission is to enable countless parents to feel the same way as Julianne regarding how their kids have grown through our culturally-immersive family travel programs.