Contributor Spotlight: Isabel Harris
Travel provides countless opportunities and learning experiences to children and can shape many facets of their lives. In this Contributor Spotlight feature, we’ll introduce you to nugget contributor Isabel Harris and her family. As a mom to a child with autism, Isabel has seen firsthand the positive impacts that travel can have on both parents and children of all ages.
SHE IS A MOM TO...
A four-year-old boy and a one-year-old boy.
AND LIVES IN...
TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.
I’m a filmmaker and focus on making content for brands’ social feeds as well as travel films. My husband’s name is Johnny and he is a video journalist, who makes international mini-documentaries…so our jobs mesh pretty well! We have two kids, Henry who is four years old, and Oliver who is one. Our four-year-old has autism, among some other special needs, and has had a large part in shaping our family culture, especially in terms of travel. He loves chaos and change and transportation, so trips are basically his very favorite thing in the world.
I initially started traveling with my kids because I wanted my kids to see more than the bubble we live in, and to understand that the world is large and their options are endless.
THAT'S AMAZING! SO HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR FAMILY'S TRAVEL STYLE?
Our family travel style is go-go-go. It’s not uncommon for us to decide on a Saturday morning to set off to New York City, or Maryland to go camping and to be on our way only 45 minutes later. It has almost become a personal challenge to see how quickly we can get out the door!
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE THAT YOU'VE BEEN TO SO FAR WITH YOUR KIDS?
Oh gosh…such a hard question! I think I have to go with Lake Como, Italy. With Amsterdam as a close second! Lake Como was just pure magic. I have a major soft spot for real, genuine moments with locals, and in Lake Como this was constant! Everyone was so loving toward our kids and so excited to facilitate our family adventure. Plus, boating on a lake with a view of the Swiss Alps is a moment I will never forget.
It doesn’t always have to be a big extravagant adventure; a day trip or a weekend trip also keeps you in a routine of travel and makes it easier the next time you have to pack those bags, load up the diaper bag and get out the door.
WHAT'S ON YOUR FAMILY'S TRAVEL BUCKET LIST?
This year we’re headed to the south of Spain and Cuba, which were both places I wanted us to see. Beyond that…I have big dreams of renting a camper van and exploring all (or some) of the national parks Canada has to offer.
WHY DO YOU THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO TRAVEL WITH YOUR KIDS?
I initially started traveling with my kids because I wanted my kids to see more than the bubble we live in, and to understand that the world is large and their options are endless. However, fairly quickly after my son was diagnosed with autism, we started to notice that he would make huge gains each time we went on a trip. He’d come home with more language, eye contact, imaginary play and interaction in general. It seemed to teach him and stretch him in ways that no therapy or school ever could. We haven’t stopped since.
WHAT'S ONE NUGGET OF ADVICE THAT YOU HAVE FOR OTHER PARENTS TRAVELING WITH KIDS?
The more often you do it, the easier it becomes (except for airport security….does that EVER become easier!?) It doesn’t always have to be a big extravagant adventure; a day trip or a weekend trip also keeps you in a routine of travel and makes it easier the next time you have to pack those bags, load up the diaper bag and get out the door.