Seven years ago, we, Marianne and Juliet, started talking about ways to help parents travel with small children. From the beginning, we felt that it was important to spend time on our mission statement and our core values. We believe the more kids learn about other kids who come from different backgrounds, the more they will discover they are more alike than different. That has always been at the heart of Bébé Voyage and along the way we’ve been thrilled to find like-minded people who have built up our community.
When Covid-19 put the world on lockdown two years ago and has since upturned many aspects of our daily lives, travel and tourism were some of the sectors that were most impacted. While many travel-related businesses went dark, Bébé Voyage and our Club stayed strong.
Curiosity, Authenticity, Fun, Community, Peace – Bébé Voyage’s core values found new expressions during the pandemic.
Our community was eager to find creative ways to travel the world from home with their kids. In a recent poll in the community, our members shared how they kept the travel spirit alive when traveling had become nearly impossible.
“We just continue talking about the world and different places with our kids. We remind them of different countries where we have friends and relatives living,”
—Ashley Daley, mother of 3.
Many traveling families took advantage of the time to explore the local outdoors:
“We had to take a step back from international travel when Covid started and had to come up with creative ideas of how to continue to explore. So we got into camping and renting cabins and explored our neighboring states.”
Some of our members got really creative:
“For every trip we had planned that was canceled, we tried to use our imagination to explore it in our house… for example, for Japan, we took YouTube video tours of the places we wanted to see, watched or read kids documentaries to learn about the culture and we did some themed arts and crafts (painting cherry blossoms) and food (ramen). We eventually wrote a fun little children’s book with our kids and published it about using our imagination to travel… that helped get us through the tedium of lockdown and still connecting to something we all enjoy.”
— Kara Brotemarkle
“We got [our daughter] a globe and referenced it all the time. We watch Molly from Denali, and every time they have a clip from a kid somewhere, we look them up on the globe. We get books from the library about kids in other countries and look them up on the globe. We signed up for virtual Airbnb experiences (like a walk in the woods of Northern Spain while making a bird feeder) and we looked up that place on the globe Lastly, we’re fortunate to have friends in other countries, and when we do Skype or Marco Polo with them, we look it up on the globe.”
- Monica VanVegan
While traveling across the world was no longer possible, many took this as an opportunity to slow down and explore local cultures closer to home:
“So we’re not jet setting every weekend (arguably a good change for the planet) but we are still soaking up life every day with new and exciting cultural experiences. Living life with eyes open to the world and people around us I believe that’s the spirit of Club Bebe Voyage after all.”
- Amy Garett
Indeed, the pandemic forced us to reevaluate what it meant to travel and brought forth some of the gross inequities that exist in the US and in the rest of the world, including access to travel and tourism. It pushed us to reckon with our own shortcomings and develop an anti-racism statement.
We’re still learning and we’ve certainly made mistakes along the way.
In many ways, what is going on in Bébé Voyage is a reflection of the debates and conversations in the larger world. And we hope that at least in the little corner of the internet we influence that we are pushing things in a positive direction.
We doubled down on more content around socially and environmentally conscious travel.
Our community moderators had to make tough decisions about how to balance freedom of expression vs spreading misinformation.
To that end, we’re excited for the opportunities to learn and grow in the coming year. In particular, we are looking forward to:
- More collaborations with like-minded brands, especially ones that are doing their part to make lives easier for parents while making the world a better place.
- More conscious travel. Our community members are sharing all kinds of ways that they are minimizing environmental impact and seeking out positive social interactions in their travels.
- People are no longer taking travel for granted. There seems to be more of a desire for authenticity and connection as well as a preference for meaningful over frivolous travel.
These all resonate with the mission statement we came up with seven years ago!
Bébé Voyage empowers parents to raise children to be curious, open-minded, and global citizens. We encourage parents to bring up lifelong explorers by exposing them to new cultures and experiences to build a better, more peaceful world for all.
We could have decided to give up when the pandemic hit. After all, our core business was seemingly tied directly to the travel industry which had come to a halt.
Instead, we doubled down on our mission by thinking of how else we could educate our children about their peers around the planet.
With recent events like those in Ukraine, Bébé Voyage’s raison d’être is more important now than ever. Our world needs us to come together and to collaborate so that we can come up with solutions to the big problems we face.