Traveling Lives: Meet Francesca Mazurkiewicz
Chicago native Francesca Mazurkiewicz is a traveling super woman. Not only is she a wife and a mother to two young children, she works a full-time job AND makes travel a priority for herself and her family. You can read more about their adventures at The Working Mom’s Travels!
NAME: Francesca Mazurkiewicz
RESIDENCE: Chicago, IL
OCCUPATION: Emergency Communications
How have you made your life a “traveling life” and why?
With two young children, we view every-day life as an adventure. There’s always something to learn, something new to see. So we take that approach and view travel as a state of mind: we don’t need to cross time zones in order for it to “count.” That being said, we do try to get out of town as much as possible, whether it’s a long weekend away or a day trip to a nearby town.
Why is travel important to you?
Travel has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Now with kids of my own, I see travel as the optimal means by which to teach them about the world. No amount of classroom instruction will ever beat seeing and experiencing cultural and historical sites first-hand.
How did you first get the travel bug?
Starting when I was age 10, my family took off from Chicago to Florida for 4-6 weeks during the summer. It wasn’t all Disney, all the time, though. My parents sought out cultural events and outdoor recreation for our family. It was during those trips that I was first introduced to things like Cuban cuisine, deep-sea fishing and Flamenco dancing. We did make several trips to EPCOT, my favorite attraction being the World Showcase. It was like taking a mini-trip around the world, and I was captivated! My favorite “countries” were Norway and Canada. Much later when I was in college, I did a semester abroad in Australia. That’s really when the travel bug set in; I haven’t been the same since.
What is your most significant travel memory and why?
Along with my study abroad experience in Australia, another significant travel memory is from about 10 years ago when I traveled to Africa by myself to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and go on a Serengeti safari. It was my first international trip in some time, and it re-ignited my wanderlust.
Another one is my daughter’s first airplane trip when she was 8 weeks old. She’s 6 now and has been to Europe twice, along with countless domestic trips. She’s turning into a little traveler and I couldn’t be prouder!
What are some misconceptions friends & family have about your travels?
Because my husband and I value travel as a form of education, we have no problem taking our kids out of school to go on trips. This is frowned upon by many, for others think we’re taking them out of school “to go on vacation.” Some friends & family don’t understand the distinction between “travel” and “vacation,” and don’t realize that we all – not only the kids – are learning and gaining knowledge during our travels. We’re not just visiting amusement parks or playing on beaches (there are times when we do that, too, but that’s not something we’d take the kids out of school for).
What advice do you have for others who want to incorporate more travel into their lives?
Travel can happen anywhere. You can travel in your own hometown. Visit a neighborhood you’ve never been to. Try new restaurants and different cuisines. Take an overnight or weekend trip to a nearby town. Like I said, it’s a state of mind, an attitude. Not all travel requires boarding a plane and flying across the ocean.
Where are you headed next? The next month or so is going to be jam-packed with travel. I’ve got Bristol & Knoxville, Tennessee; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Grand Rapids, Michigan.