I had a fantastic trip with my son this past week. We saw otters, fish, snakes, sharks, turtles, and kraken. We ate burgers, pizza, fresh pastries, and gelato. We spent a full day at Science World trying out anything and everything, sometimes twice. We traveled by Greyhound, city bus, Canada Line, and of course by our all-time favourite, the AquaBus. We exhausted ourselves and made memories. It was awesome.

Solomon on the Aquabus
Solomon on the Aquabus
After four such trips, with four equally interesting and fascinating 10 year olds, I have learned a few things.

I learned that:

  • If there is a photo to be taken, they will NEED to take it.
  • You will take photos of them taking photos.
Ineke taking photos of frogs
Ineke taking photos of frogs
  • You will NEED to be in some of the photos.
Lego Mum
Lego Mum photo by Ineke
  • When you look through their photos, you may be surprised.  10 year olds look at the world differently, they take photos of things you might not have noticed and you may (as I do) enjoy being able to look through 10 year old eyes again.
“I have to take of photo of his mouth!” photo by Solomon
  • If you let go of the idea that they need to learn anything – they will learn things despite all evidence that they are not paying attention and they will surprise you with what they already know.  Listen and you will be amazed.
Emma at the Museum of Anthropology, UBC
Emma at the Museum of Anthropology, UBC
  • Letting your 10 year old set the pace and lead the way may try your patience and sometimes feel very counter intuitive but following in their footsteps is a good reminder that they are usually the followers.
Sophie watching the beluga whales -- still after 20 minutes.
Sophie watching the beluga whales — still after 20 minutes.
  • Leading might go to their heads – you may need to “gently” remind them you are still the parent.
  • They are “big” kids but they still get overtired and overwhelmed and need to be reminded they need sleep and rest.
A very tired boy on the trip home
A very tired boy on the trip home
  • They will always want the hot chocolate and the gelato even if they just ate a huge dinner.


  • You will learn that they have bad habits that need attention – each kid, a different bad habit.  You might learn you have a couple as well.
  • They still need you – they need your physical closeness, your guidance and your experience but not all the time.
  • You will not regret the time spent with your 10 year old.  They make you laugh, they can push your buttons, but they are amazing, curious, eager participants in the world and they want to share it all with you.


In my humble opinion, 10 year olds make fantastic travel companions, and I would do it all again, but I can’t. However, I am curious about what it might be like to travel with a 15 year old?  Perhaps, I will have to try it out 🙂