Sometimes I'm jealous of my younger self.

swimming in the pool with my sister

Which I realize makes absolutely no sense.

adventuring in Alaska as a teenager

The thing is…it's no secret that I came from a volatile home. But there was a brief period where I didn't connect the trouble in my house with life in general. I was fortunate that my mom's job took us around the world. Through my travels, I saw glimpses of good that I clung to fervently…to the extent that when I ultimately left the pain behind, I disconnected from it. I thought that the darkness in my life could be confined back there, in a place and time set apart from everything else. I was an optimist. I hoped that the rest of the world would offer up hope and joy and love.

I spent several summers traveling extensively and eventually learned that it's not all black and white. There are good and bad people everywhere. I thrust myself wholeheartedly into the world and I was slapped and stung with remarkable beauty and surprising deceit.

hanging out in Hong Kong

On my first big international trip, I was pickpocketed during the flight. There's nothing like stepping into a foreign land at 19 years old only to realize that your seatmate across the entire Pacific Ocean was a thief! I faltered, frustrated, but I went on to have a wonderful month in Hong Kong. I saw the intense dichotomy of the area: hustling, rich city life against a smattering of simple villages. I befriended workers who told me stories of years gone by without seeing family, of a life spent in servitude.

luck with a four leaf clover

I slowly came to understand that in this world, you have to cherish joy AND bar yourself against the selfish interests of others.

happy kids traveling

When I had children, I saw that familiar light in their eyes. They experience various destinations and cultures, and they see all the good. After the struggles we've endured to get to this place, Nate and I tend to err on the side of skepticism. But I refuse to let that stop us from framing our children's lives in a global perspective. These times, these travels, will shape who they become and inspire their hope for the future. I want them seeing the brightness of today without a shadow of worries about tomorrow.

new family

So we do everything we possibly can to protect that innocence and to protect our own precious lives. I serve as their traveling safety net, securing everything from our personal information to our belongings, safeguarding us at all times to ward off those people who might prey on the unsuspecting.

Tips to help safeguard family travel - and why you should travel, even though it can be dangerous

We’ve partnered with the high-tech LifeLock site service to help keep an eye on our accounts, especially during summer travels. They monitor our checking and savings accounts for unauthorized changes to personal information as well as monitoring new bank and credit applications for our details and giving us unlimited credit score access so we can stay alert and aware of any would-be identity thieves. Our readers can use code LifeLockSecure to get 10% off when they sign up on the Lifelock site to keep their own travels secure.