The itineraries and experiences empowering families traveling with adventure tour operator and FTA Member Intrepid Travel, often result from the personal experiences of employees like Family Brand and Product Manager, Dyan McKie.
Based in Melbourne, Australia, McKie has been in the travel industry for 20 years, but today uses her personal insight as the mother of a 5 ½-year-old daughter to help her create trips.
How has being a parent influenced your work for Intrepid in shaping the activities that you seek to add to your tours?
The Family Product Manager role at Intrepid combines my passion for product and being a parent – the perfect job for me! I ask myself “Would I book this trip?” and “What would I want to see and experience with my daughter while in ‘X’ place?”
These questions help to shape the product range, like enabling parents and their children to make friends with warriors of a Maasai tribe in Kenya, or explore ancient pyramids in Egypt. These are experiences I know my daughter and I would both enjoy. Taking it a step further, as a parent, I also know the importance of safety, travel times, and finding an exceptional leader on my trips who can relate to both parents and children.
Traveling with my daughter has allowed both of us to experience what I design. I have a chance to refine the product and see the success of small group family travel. It’s a very special experience to explore the world with my daughter on Intrepid trips; it has grown our relationship and it has grown our outlook on the world.
Has being a parent changed the way you look at the purpose of travel?
I always traveled to learn and experience something new. Travel isn’t about ticking boxes and getting a stamp in your passport; travel has a real purpose. But traveling with my daughter has taught me more than I would’ve experienced alone. She isn’t afraid to ask the “why and what” questions: “Why is that temple gold?” “Why doesn’t Intrepid ride elephants?” “What is in those noodles?” She learns something new every day while we are travelling, interacts with people from other cultures with no preconceived bias. She tries new foods, learns new skills and makes new friends around the world. My hope is that my daughter knows that the world is a bigger place than just our farm cottage in the Yarra Valley and that she embraces it all, with the hope it sets her up to be a well-rounded adult.
What has been the most inspirational moment for you as a parent, or a traveling parent?
Last year we visited Morocco. I travelled there 13 years ago and was delighted that I could return with my daughter. When I was first in Morocco, I met a young mountain guide in the Atlas Mountains. I found some photos of him and decided to take them back to the region in the hopes he was still in the area. Much to my delight, he now owns and runs the mountain Gite that Intrepid groups stay at. My daughter and I gave him the photos we had and shared them with his family. His daughters squealed with delight at the image of their father. In the afternoon my daughter sat at the dining room table with his two girls and started crafting. She couldn’t speak Berber and they couldn’t speak English, but they bonded over paper, pencils and scissors. It was then I knew traveling is the greatest gift I can ever give my child.
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