I travel a good bit for business. As part of my digital marketing consulting work, I teach Social Media Bootcamp and Google Online Marketing Bootcamp classes for ASPE-ROI. Both classes are three-day sessions and they have taken me all over the US as well as teaching them online in Canada and Jamaica. The result: I’m on the road and away from my family a few weeks during the year. And as you can imagine, that kind of travel can be challenging and difficult on a young family. My challenge: how do I soften the difficulty AND help my children understand more about the places I’m traveling to? The answer: Alaska Bear
Meet Alaska Bear
About a year ago, I hit upon an idea to let my children “go with me” when I travel. I was heading out to places such as Chicago, Minneapolis, Tampa, Dallas, St. Louis and the like. It was impossible for my kids to travel with me, but I pulled them all together one day before a trip and asked them to work together (and what family isn’t trying to encourage that behavior?!) and select one stuffed animal that I could take with me on an upcoming trip. The idea was that this stuffed animal would travel with me, I’d take photos of the animal in the cities I traveled to and I’d send the photos back so they could see the cities I was in. They quickly put their heads together and selected “Alaska Bear” to be the special traveling companion. Alaska Bear is a stuffed animal that their Mimi and Papa T (my in-laws) brought back for them from a trip to Alaska. “AB,” as we’ve come to call him, fit the bill perfectly. He had already traveled a great distance from Alaska to get to them and he had his own sleeveless fleece jacket. He was all set and ready to go!
Alaska Bear’s Travels
The very first trip Alaska Bear went on with me was to Minneapolis. While there, he got to head over to St. Paul and pose for photos in front of the Minnesota State Capitol Building. He also hung out with some of the people in the class I taught and had a great time. But the best part was the reaction from my kids. When I returned home, they had already seen the photos (I emailed them to my wife) and had begun learning all about Minneapolis. It worked perfectly!
In the time since that first trip, AB has visited the St. Louis Gateway Arch, been out to the causeway across the Tampa Bay, hung out at Minute Maid Park in Houston and gotten into great, mischievous adventures while visiting lots of hotels across the land.
This week, AB and I are headed out to Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. Right now, Philly is a little more like the snowy terrain of AB’s home state of Alaska. In fact, we’re sitting here in RDU waiting for our flight to head out after a long delay. But that’s OK. AB and I will get there and we’ll take some cool photos this week to send back to the kids. Our target: Valley Forge, PA. The home of General George Washington’s troops during one of the long winters during the Revolutionary War.
And who said business travel was boring? 🙂