It’s a personal mission of mine to promote diversity in family travel. Online and in social media, the world of family travel can seem a bit homogeneous, even though in real life, families come in all shapes, sizes, skin color, beliefs, configurations, orientations, income brackets, and abilities.
Fortunately, there are a number of bloggers out there who don’t necessarily fit the status quo profile. They can be families of color, LGBT families, single parent families, or any other variation of family. Back in February, I reached out to a blogger friend of mine and had a fun chat on the phone about travel philosophies, diversity, and our hopes for the family travel industry.
Rob Taylor, from 2 Travel Dads is a family travel blogger that I’ve been following for quite some time. A fellow Pacific Northwest parent, he and his family are always traveling to interesting locations, both within the Pacific Northwest and around the world, and sharing their experiences on their blog.
I love that he represents a unique perspective in family travel, but I love even more that his goal with travel is to ultimately expand his kids’ world view. That is essentially every parent’s goal when they take their kids on a trip.
“You experience the world by being out in it,” he explained to me on the phone, “and I think it’s our job as parents to use travel as a means of fun, but also a tool for teaching our kids to be human beings.”
For Rob, travel plays an important role in teaching his kids to be flexible and resilient. It also helps his family as a whole be more adaptable and minimize stress.
“Repetitive travel has really helped us learn to travel with kids,” he said, “If you only do it once or twice a year, it becomes a stressful thing, and the kids also feel stressed. Traveling frequently has really taught us how to be efficient and also not to stress about the little things. When you’re traveling, anything can go wrong at any time, so why worry?”
Not that travel is always easy for Rob and his husband. Being an LGBT family, there are certain challenges that arise that other families may not necessarily experience.
“The challenge we face sometimes is being comfortable in our own skin when we travel in certain places,” reveals Rob.
He recounted to me times when he and his husband would be offered separate rooms, or separate beds. And there were even times when they would get stares or comments thrown at them while walking down the street.
“Knowing that we are indeed different than the majority of people in certain regions is very nerve-wracking,” Rob confided, “but it’s gotten better the more we travel with our kids, and knowing where we can go. It’s about traveling with caution, but also traveling with pride, and not letting nasty comments or stares deter us from going out to see the world and experiencing things.”
It’s this idea of seeing the world that drives many of us family travel bloggers to want to share what we experience with others. Rob and I talked at length about what it means to have diversity in the family travel industry, and why it’s important for diverse voices like ours to be heard.
Rob remarks, “The need for us to be out there and to be visible is much stronger now because when you think about media coverage and what people are reading, it’s so crazy important for people to have something strong and fun and powerful to identify with.”
And 2 Travel Dads certainly embodies the idea of strong and fun and powerful. Whether it’s their many Instagram posts of hiking or kayaking or playing on the beach, or their Facebook Live posts documenting their travel adventures, Rob and his husband are showing other LGBT families that travel is possible.
“Having representation really speaks to people, and it pulls people,” he goes on to say, “it’s the visibility of more than one color skin or more than one exact type of family that’s important.”
“I’d like to see more people like us in the family travel blog scene,” he adds, “people who are ethnically diverse, people who have different families, people with adoptive kids. We are still so under-represented. Thinking about the business of blogging, a lot of brands are starting to understand that investing in family marketing is really smart. I think that it’s important to have that diversity showing now, and to really have quality in family travel blogging.”
I couldn’t agree more. As woman and a person of Asian descent, with skin that is on the darker end of the melanin spectrum, I feel it’s my personal duty to show other people like me that travel is possible. It doesn’t have to be limited to a certain demographic.
At the same time, Rob understands that there are certain things about family travel that are universal, no matter what your skin tone or sexual orientation.
“Whenever we create content,” he explains, “we try to present it from the family perspective, and not just the gay family perspective. It makes it more accessible to people. It makes it so that they are hearing about what we’re doing as a family, and not what we’re doing as gay dads who have kids.”
In the end, we are all just parents, trying to share the amazing wonders that the world has to offer with our kids. No matter what our backgrounds, we all understand the value that travel can bring to our lives.
The family travel industry is not going to change overnight, but little by little, we can make steps towards inclusion and promoting diversity in family travel. Come join me in making this happen!
Note: All photos in this post are credited to Rob Taylor and 2 Travel Dads
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