The Intangible Benefits of Letting Teens Travel by Themselves

In praise of the post-high school Gap Year

High school’s complete. Graduation done. Caps have been tossed and gowns taken off. After all the pomp and circumstance winds down, what follows for many American post-high school kids is a summer of fun, and probably a job, before heading off to university in the fall. But why don’t more kids in the US take a longer break after 12+ years of constant schooling? Why isn’t a Gap Year option very prevalent here? As an American who lived in Europe for nearly seven years, I have raised adolescents both in the States and abroad. I am not unique in this case but offer as backdrop for my own personal opinion. Lots of European kids take an entire year off. To work. To travel and explore. Before they start higher education. And I think more American graduates should consider it. Here’s why.

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Parenting Teens in Denmark – 5 Things That Were Outside of My Box


How we are raised, the cultures we grow up in, and where we are from impact so many aspects of our lives. How we parent is a major one. Studies have been done on “parental ethnotheories” – those unseen cultural expectations, adaptations, and norms that shape our beliefs about the “right” ways to parent children. They become part of our own personal internal processes, so much so that we aren’t even aware. Unless that is, you remove yourself from that culture. You move away. There is no better way to question your own parenting systems and choices than to move to a foreign country.

Originally posted 2016, updated 2022
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Sea Kayak At Sunset On The Ionian Sea | Puglia Italy

Take a three-hour tour with Santa Caterina Sea Kayak

The world looks different floating inches above the waves and aquamarine water. And when in this lovely corner of Italy, you should consider taking a kayaking tour. We adored Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot. But with August temperatures slightly steamier than where we lived in Scandinavia, being near the water – a plus. We booked a three-hour sunset tour with Santa Caterina Sea Kayak online and in advance. Never kayaked before? No worries, a quick technique, and safety lesson from our charming guide Marco Garbetta and our group eight was off, maneuvering the gently rocking waves up the coast.

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The Defiant History of the Adorable Dwarfs in Wrocław Poland

Quirky little bronze sculptures are memorials to a Polish anti-communist resistance past.

Stroll down the roads and alleys of Wrocław, Poland and it may feel like someone is watching you. At your feet, spying from shop ledges or clinging to lamp posts – funny little figures “hide” in the wide open. These are the dwarfs of Wrocław. Krasnale in Polish. Over 600 of the little dwarfs (or gnomes if you prefer) adorn the city’s landscape. Doing everyday jobs and activities, each while wearing funny little hats and requisite pointy shoes. Blink and you could miss ’em. But once you take notice, it’s hard not to spot the little bronze sculptures all over town.

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What not to ask a repat, but you will anyway

Have you lived around the world? Beyond your passport country? Have you repatriated? Have you moved back?

This list is for you.

This list is also for those of you who know someone moving back from living elsewhere in the world. You may not know these questions, but we do. We hear them OFTEN. And usually in a semi-specific order. You think I jest. But there is a fairly standard set of inquiries repats get when returning from their life lived abroad.

Note I did not say – return home. To have any measure of success when choosing to thrive in a place different from where you grew up, one must consider it “home” in each place they land. I said – move back. To return. To a place. Repatriate.

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