#Father'sDay: How Traveling the World with My Son Brought Us Closer
The author and his son visiting Bali. (All photos courtesy of George Rush)
My dad took our family on typical vacations when I was growing up – Gettysburg, Williamsburg, the Wisconsin Dells. We stopped for clamwiches at Howard Johnson’s. It wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I left the United States.
When I finally procured a passport, I lit out with friends on a three-month trip around the world. We were in Kashmir, riding horses through the Himalayan foothills, when we crossed paths with an American couple and their two children. I found it incredible that these kids were experiencing such an ethereal place. Then and there, I said to myself, “If I ever have a kid, he or she is coming with me!”
My son, Eamon, was 1 year old when he got his passport. He picked up his first few immigration stamps in Europe and the Caribbean. Later, my wife, Joanna, and I, who are both journalists, started taking him farther afield – to Tunisia and Indonesia.
Eamon, 10, in Ghana.
One year, I got an assignment in Ghana. Joanna couldn’t break away from work. I asked Eamon, then 10, if he wanted to go. He said, “Sure,” though he later claimed he thought I’d said, “We’re gonna go on a vacation!”
I wanted to push the boundaries this time. So, besides touring the West African nation, we volunteered with Globe Aware, an organization that helps build schools. Eamon had never been a big chore-doer. But, in Ghana, he carried lumber, mixed cement, and sawed iron rods. He played soccer with village kids and showed them American football. He went to a voodoo ceremony, where, he likes to recall, I got a little carried away with the trance drumming and ritual libations. It was his longest time away from his mom. But he came home with some stories – like the day he scared a toddler who’d never seen a white boy.