As an army brat, Dallas-resident TeAndra Taylor learned early on about the positive effects that exposing children to travel can have. Her family spent some time living in Europe when she was young, and she still remembers the train rides her mother would take her and her sister on to see neighboring cities and countries.
“I just felt so blessed, that even as a young child I was able to see and experience new traditions and cultures,” TeAndra told Travel Noire. ” I learned so many things that I was never taught in a classroom, even to this day.”
This exposure made her realize that once she became a mother, she would also travel with her children.
Fast forward to now, and TeAndra is the mom to an adorable 3-year son named Carson. Their first trip together was to Denver when Carson was only 4-months old. His first international trip came at a year and a half when they visited Cuba.
“Ever since we started traveling, I have made the decision to do trips over parties for his birthday, and he loves it.”
The mother and son duo have now seen 11 countries together and they were slated for 11 more before COVID-19 swept. TeAndra describes Carson as an excited traveler and says that he simply enjoys seeing new places, no matter the mode of transportation.
Of course, she also finds ways to incorporate education and teachable moments on each trip. She wanted to find and read books to him so that he could better understand the impact that travel has. But, no matter where she looked, she could never find books featuring characters that looked like her son.
“It was really hard to find books with characters who looked like him, so I decided to write my own based on the places he has traveled to,” TeAndra said. “My goal is to inspire other kids, especially kids who look like him, to want to see the world.”
The first book, ‘Captain Carson Goes To Bali,’ is currently available on Amazon. TeAndra enlisted the help of her Tuskegee University sister Samayyah Smith, as an illustrator, and they are already working on the second Captain Carson book to be released later this year.
Since the pandemic, Carson has turned the living room sectional into his own TSA security area. He rolls his suitcase around daily, as a way to curb his travel itch. To help a little, the two have taken several road trips but plan to hit the skies once it is safe again. Their first stop will be to Africa.
We asked TeAndra to offer her number one piece of advice to parents of young children, wrestling with the idea of whether to travel with them young— here’s what she said:
“Don’t wait! Many parents have expressed to me that they want to “wait” to travel with their kids when they are older so that they remember. Kids remember way more than you think they do about the things that they have experienced. One phrase that I live by and teach Carson is “in the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.” I teach Carson even at three, that life is fragile. When you are in those last minutes of life, it’s not the items you bought that you think about, it’s experiences that you have had and the memories that you have made.”
To catch more of TeAndra and Carson’s adventures or to get more tips on traveling with a child, you can follow them on Instagram: @travelingwith_thetaylors. You can also visit the website: travelingwiththetaylors.org.