American Girl has announced their Girl of the Year — Lea Clark — who is an aspiring and talented photographer with a heart for travel and wildlife. Will the doll encourage hoards of little girls (and boys) inspired by the popular doll brand to seek adventure this year? We hope so.
Travel Inspiration for Children
The roots of travel enthusiasts can usually be linked to fond memories of adventure and exploration in childhood — at least, that’s how my story and many a traveling mom’s stories go. I remember fondly the things that didn’t go as planned on road trips from my rural Midwestern hometown to places around far-flung corners of North America. My mother was our painstaking planner and though she’d try to have our itinerary accounted for down to the very last pit stop, inevitably surprises (good and bad) would crop up.
These early memories are some of the nearest and dearest to my heart and they no doubt helped to shape the avid traveler and traveling mom I am today. I have deep appreciation and gratitude toward my parents for enduring the backseat brawls my brother and I would have each time we rolled our minivan out of the driveway. Memories of wanting my own Polaroid camera to document these fun trips are also in the forefront of my mind. I have one early memory of Barbie and her gigantic RV parked in my bedroom, a few of her friends tagging along, Ken included, and me and my best friend playing for hours, pretending to take Barbie and her besties all over the countryside. I must have been around six.
Of course we didn’t have American Girl dolls back then, but I think if they were on the market and I happened to get a glimpse of Lea Clark, the American Girl “Girl of the Year” for 2016, I’d definitely feel the need to have the pint-size wildlife photographer in my bedroom for hours of imaginative travel-inspired fun! Not to mention the three stories penned to go with her character sound all-too interesting: the doll’s character is said to have been influenced by a trip to Brazil and visiting her brother in the Amazon rainforest! Who wishes that was their own backstory?!