Over the past seven years, as we’ve traveled from Australia to Spain and everywhere in between, we are asked far too frequently, “Don’t you want to travel alone?” Or, the variant, “I’d never have thought of bringing my children to (insert country here).” Uh, nope. Bringing young, innocent, fresh eyes and ears enriches the experience for us. Not only do we get to witness all of these amazing adventures as an adult with perspective and awareness, but we also get to experience the same adventure through the eyes of a child learning about the world and cultures and people for the first time.
We don’t want our children burdened by the suffocating idea that the world is too big to be explored, and they are better left staying at home. Being an emotive personality it pains me to think they might have the thought that they aren’t big enough, old enough, mature enough, or special enough to come with us. Of course, staying with Grandma and Grandpa is super fun too, but for us in our home, we want to share these precious experiences together alongside the children we chose to bring into this big beautiful world that is full of increasing wonder and splendor that cannot be contained.
The other three main questions that we get asked over and over and over again as we journey from continent to continent follow along the same sort of vein. How do you afford it? Don’t you miss your family, and how do you educate your children? We often find ourselves spouting off the same rehearsed answers, but the more we think about it, and the more we internalize our experiences we find the answers become both more complicated and more simple.
Diapers On A Plane
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:
How Do you Afford it?
Our budget is based on the fact that we value the experience of world travel and culture as highly important. When I started working for an airline we all developed a major case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). I couldn’t imagine looking back on my time spent working for a company that provided transportation to every sparse corner of the Earth and not taking advantage of it. We wanted to experience everything, and we knew we may not have this opportunity forever. And really, in the end, the value of money is entirely subjective based on your needs and wants.
In terms of cost, we save incredible amounts on airfare. The flip side of this is that we don’t always get to where we want to go, and we rarely get to plan ahead. Flying standby is never guaranteed, but it is always an adventure. That is a blessing, truly. Being able to choose an adventure based on open seats on a flight alone is empowering and exciting!
There are definitely other ways to afford traveling that doesn’t include working for an airline, or having rich parents. The three main expenses on a trip are airfare, lodging and food. If you don’t follow The Points Guy, you should start now! He covers the best ways to utilize credit cards to your advantage. Our entire hotel during our week long trip to Boston was covered through credit cards points, as was our trip to Hong Kong, and our trip to Aruba.
When we don’t use points for hotels, we utilize vacation rentals. Vacation rentals are often the same nightly price as a hotel with a lot more space, and the opportunity to save money on food by preparing meals at home. If you are like us, you don’t go on vacation to cook and do laundry, but if you are like us, and you want to travel a lot, you make exceptions on occasion. Even making breakfast will save a huge chunk of your budget. We plan a huge breakfast, take snacks throughout the day, and then just have to pay for a nightly dinner.
Don’t You Miss Your Family?
Of course! We love our parents, our siblings, our nieces and nephews, our aunts and uncles and our cousins. We are both the youngest in our families and have five siblings a piece. We have 30 nieces and nephews between the two of us, and many of those nieces and nephews are now marrying and beginning families of their own. We are all at different stages in our lives.
We cherish the time we get to spend with the people we love, and that includes friends and extended family. We make every effort not to take any experience for granted, both at home and away, and we attend everything we can. We are not a full time traveling family – yet – so this makes it easier at this stage, but should that time come we will embrace the new opportunities that it brings. We hope our families and friends will join us in our adventures on occasion and we know that if nothing else time is fluid and nothing ever stays the same.
How Do You Educate Your Children?
Both Gabriel and I attended public school, and we both went on to earn Bachelor Degrees. I earned two Bachelor Degrees in English and Philosophy with a minor in Psychology and Gabriel earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and a terminal Master’s of Fine Arts. And yet, we find primary school arbitrary. Children want to learn, in fact, they are desperate for it. When given complete freedom to explore boundaries in every subject and all aspects of life, children thrive. They lead far richer lives than when confined to a classroom. Not to mention, at home, parents are able to embed ethics, morals and conscience into their lessons where God serves as a cornerstone in the curriculum as opposed to the whims of a teacher, a principal or the condoms being thrown on them on the grade school playground as was my personal experience.
When we are on a trip, we always bring a map of the country we are visiting. We find the city we are staying in and the route we are traveling. We study some of the language, the local customs, and we eat the local food. What better way than to learn about any subject than to experience it firsthand!?
People tend to have a very narrow vision of what homeschooled, unschooled, or world schooled children are because of sensationalized media reports, but the majority of that is just not true. Boundless studies have proven that home school children excel in every facet of life. Prior to the first World War children never went to school. They were apprentices to their mother and father and learned far more skills than our children have now even though they were more illiterate when it comes to reading and writing.
Out of 34 countries in the world who participate in the OECD educational rankings amongst industrialized countries, the United States of America continuously ranks depressingly low. In Math we come in 27th, in Science 21st, and in Reading 17th. The bar is pretty low. World schooling provides our children with an opportunity to view the world as it really is, rather than the way that movies or mainstream media tell them it is – which is highly inaccurate. They learn that the true reality of the world is colorful, vibrant, diverse and loving. They don’t develop a comfort zone, and they don’t fear people or experiences.
So, what do you think? How would you answer these three questions? Are you more of a travel solo type, or take the entire tribe type? What other questions do you have? We’d love to hear what you have to say and start a discussion!