Lots of people are sightseers, there is nothing wrong with that- they want pictures of their family on the Eiffel Tour... they will wait hours for it. Then, move on to the Arc De Triomphe. You can circle the globe collecting holiday card photos and expensive tchotchkes. That's cool- stay out of our way... we'll be in an alley in the 17th arrondissement eating brain and drinking wine that the bistro owner promises we'll like, or he'll buy us something else. That is traveling... and we are raising travelers. I won't lie- there are landmarks that make my heart flutter- things I've read about, and dreamed about and then suddenly see. It is overwhelming, and wonderful. It's the reason we drag kids through airports, and color for hours on trains... it's why we go anywhere. But really traveling means finding that feeling in the joy of shopping in a local market too.
I'm not going to let my kids look back at a trip and be disappointed that they missed seeing the major sites because I am too faux sophisticated. But I am going to make sure they experience the actual culture of the places we go. Starbucks is great- if you are homesick, it tastes like home... it's the same everywhere. But pain au chocolat from a stand wins out hands down. N'est-ce pas?