” We are a family of four from the city of Toronto in Canada. Our children are 9 and 3 and we are traveling for one year. Like most family travellers our wish was to introduce our kids to other cultures for the differences as well as for the similarities ”.
Sometimes the parents are just not enough – kids travelling for a longer time miss their peers, hobbies and even school. Company of other children is vital to them, and no tourist attraction can compensate that.
“When we first suggested homestays our son was firmly against it” Erin tells us.
Erin’s family had travelled for four months when they arrived in Thailand. Their 9-year-old son missed his life back home and became tired of walking and “exploring”. Slowly he started refusing to do anything suggested – Erin’s family had to rethink their trip, they needed to slow down and find kids!
“When we first suggested homestays our son was firmly against it” Erin tells us. “To be fair I was nervous as well, living in a home without being able to properly communicate”.
But a family stay in a village was just the right thing. The family arrived in Pha Mon, a Karen hill tribe village in Northern Thailand. The village lies on the slopes of Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s highest mountain, in a national park with stunning views and friendly people.
“We were welcomed warmly by our hosts and our guide and connection to the village were so supportive and helpful. Everything just flowed along so smoothly.”
Erin’s host family had children of the same age, which was a real lifesaver. The kids played and worked together, even though they didn’t have common language. Some epic games of barefoot soccer were played at dusk, and new friends were made.
“We tasted the Karen way of life: picked and packed flowers, which was our host’s business, tasted coffee produced in the region and played with local children. So many neighbours and other villagers kept popping by to say 'hi’. Everyone was just as eager to see us and learn about the Canadian family staying with locals.”
“The entire experience was wonderful and remarkably easy. All my doubts about homestays were wiped away. We were even able to see three different weddings! Everywhere we went people opened their homes, brought us food and showed us their hearts. We can’t wait to do the other homestay when we get to Indonesia this July – even our son is excited to go!”