Boardshorts. Bikinis. Coconuts. Barrels. Sound like a reoccurring dream you’re having this winter/summer? Want to escape but not sure what to do with your spouse and kids?
Science says: bring them with you.
If you need bargaining chips to get your significant other on board or to convince yourself that taking your kids on your next surf trip is worth the hassle, here’s the hard evidence.
Family travel strengthens bonds and communication, develops young minds and, when you add water to the experience, increases overall happiness. So start packing your boards and sunscreen because a family surf trip is just what the doctor ordered.
Travel Improves Family Relationships
Studies show that family travel not only improves bonds and communication but can also reduce the likelihood of divorce. The memories made while on a family surf trip could even help your loved ones through tough times in the future. John McDonald, Director of the Family Holiday Association (which provides low-income families with free vacations in England), explains “We consider these to be a ‘happiness anchor’ – reflecting on our happiest memories of joyful time spent together as a family can be extremely powerful in bringing relief and respite when faced with the darker times that life can bring.”
You can travel with your family and you can surf with your family. But when you bring the two together in a surf trip, you’re creating a massive common ground of memories and experiences that will improve your family relationships for a lifetime.
Travel Causes Advanced Brain Development in Children
Surf travel as a family will help you on a nuclear level, but it will also expand everyone’s individual horizons, especially your kids’.
Your child’s brain is highly sensitive to change pretty much from infancy to adolescence. Therefore complete immersion in a new culture and place works a treat for developing young minds. New sights, sounds, smells, tastes, languages, and settings create cause your child’s neurons to fire and create new neural networks. Plus, exposure to different ways of life open your child’s mind about how life is “supposed to” be. Think greater appreciation of their own circumstances, more creativity in the face of boredom and an ability to engage with people from all backgrounds (for more, click here).
Any foreign surf destination will get your kid’s brain working overtime. Just imagine your child playing cricket with local kids on a beach in Sri Lanka after you spent the day surfing. Some would say your child would learn more here than in any classroom.
Water Make Us Happier, Science Says
If you’re a surfer, you already know the feeling. We get pure stoke because of our interaction with one of the earth’s most basic molecular structures: water. But it turns out it’s not just surfers. All humans get stoked on, near or in water. Contact with water, and more specifically surfing, has been shown to help Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) in soldiers and combat depression and anxiety in all kinds of people. If our positive association with water can be triggered by the sound of the ocean or merely looking at a painting of the sea, imagine what a whole trip centered around the ocean can do for you and your family?
Prioritize Experience Over Stuff
So, stop dreaming and start doing. If you are ever tossing up whether you should buy someone a gift or take them with you to do something, remember our experiences become a part of us while material objects will always be separate. Your family will talk about your trip to Indonesia, Costa Rica or even up the coast for years while all the toys, clothes and electronics rot in the landfill. Want to make an impact on your family that will stand the test of time? Take them with you on your next surf trip.