& How we are using Nat Geo as our best tool on the road
One of the most vivid, core memories I have as a child is running down the hallway of my grandparents house. Their dark blue, psychedelic carpet and powder blue bathroom sink stamped forever in my brain.
As my cousins and I play hide and go seek, I head to my favourite place to hide. A waist-high closet you had to crawl up in to at the end of the hall.
As I pop open the closet door, a secret world reveals itself to me. Stacks upon stacks of yellow bordered magazines sit at the base of the closet and I suck in my breath out of sheer wonder of it all .
I’m not sure if my grandparents realized the gift they bestowed on us. Years of a National Geographic magazine subscription opened so many doors to discovery. Different cultures, natural phenomenons, extraordinary animals and a global group of people & their ways of life kept me company for hours. I was hooked. Every time I stayed over at their house I would sit in the closet, eagerly devouring so many incredible stories of our world.
Our love as a family for National Geographic runs deep.
For my husband and I, it feels as much a part of our youth as pet rocks and smelly stickers.
For our children, the legacy has continued both traditionally and in an entirely new way.
For them, this whole wealth of information was introduced through a series of National Geographic Kids books on everything from ocean life, blue whales, sea turtles and Weird but True facts. These books are phenomenal and I can’t express enough how good they are for learning with your kids. We weren’t able to take the books on the road (*ahem*: 2 backpacks people..2 backpacks only for 8 months) but when we do have wifi, we are in fact tuning in from the road to the National Geographic Weird But True TV series that recently launched as both kids continue to love these quirky facts & are making it a game in searching their own on the trip.
Why blame National Geographic?
A beautiful piece of Autism is to become so deeply enamoured with a subject matter that you can’t hardly talk about anything else. Through the years of managing Autism with our son, we have seen many an obsession. When he started exploring those National Geographic Kids books, it created a love so deep for our oceans, for Blue Whales and for those “cool facts”, it became his go-to topic of discussion. It was a phenomenon to witness and one that we were happy to support his exploration of.
DYK: The highest density of Blue Whales is off the coast of Sri Lanka?
Neither did we. Until we heard about it for many, many months.
When the dialogue started about this round the world trip, that fact, was one of the first parts of the conversation. “What if we could take Spence to Sri Lanka to SEE the Blue Whales first hand? Can you imagine?” “How can we utilize both kids love of animals as a way to connect and engage with them?” “What if ….”
And so it began.
The New Way
If you want to get creative and engage kids, I can’t recommend enough following National Geographic on Instagram and SnapChat. Living and working in social media, I have to say their social engagement is some of some of the most impressive brand work I have ever seen in the social stratosphere. I started showing our daughter the incredible imagery & stories they post daily. As a 9 year old who is nowhere close to having an Instagram account (but thinks it’s wicked cool), it has become a way for us to get her engaged and create meaningful dialogue on different elements of the world.
I was lucky to meet the team from National Geographic at the Mom 2.0 Summit conference last year. In sharing stories of our plan for this Global adventure, we had the incredible fortune of being named one of this year’s National Geographic Kids Ambassadors. This role is a cornerstone in our global adventure and in fact has made far more of an impact than we ever thought possible.
We have already begun to change.
The only way I can describe it is noticing that everybody is pregnant when you become pregnant. I sense us already far more AWARE of the impact we as humans can have. Everything from how we travel, cultures, environment, climate, mother nature & more, we are discussing it often. Exciting and uncomfortable all at the same time, it feels like a necessary part of our journey to feel this discomfort in order to learn how we might be able to make a difference.
I jokingly blame National Geographic for all of this but I couldn’t be more grateful. Somehow connecting with them this early in the trip has opened our eyes to a more significant and deeper experience. So yeah, I blame you, National Geographic and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.