Property is unstable, and youth perishes in a moment. Life itself is held in the grinning fangs of Death, Yet men delay to obtain release from the world. –Plautus
The last mythbuster post covered some ways to be more confident with traveling as a lone ranger. Today we want to swing the pendulum in the opposite direction and answer the question: “What about those of us who have a family?”
Let me start out by saying that I wholeheartedly agree with those of you who believe it would be a big challenge to accept the rigors that traveling with a family would entail.
Traveling full-time as a couple has required both adaptability and patience. Just as we start to get comfortable, the plot twists, elongates, or contracts and our mental fortitude is tested accordingly.
The challenge is in accepting. It is not a matter of ability…it is a matter of choice.
Debunking any myth, travel-related or otherwise, comes down to two things: Reminding yourself that if others have done it, it’s definitely not a myth. Changing the language you use from “I can’t, I could never, I can’t imagine…” or some variation thereof, to “I can do it. I just haven’t yet chosen to do it.”
Here we share with you some links to other travelers who have made the choice to move their families abroad, traveling the world, and educating their kids by homeschooling them along the way or enrolling them in international schools.
It may give you some added insight as to why it might be an excellent idea to bring your family abroad for a stint of long-term travel.
A Real Life History and Geography Lesson.
Your children will learn quite a bit of world history during the course of their education. For the vast majority of them, that learning will stop when school is over.
Why not give them a leg up on the rest of their classmates back home by exposing them to the real deal? How cool would it be for them to do a report on the Mekong River culture…after having actually gone down it?
That’s exactly what Shannon O’Donnell did when she moved her 12-year old niece Ana from Florida to SE Asia for 6 months.
Ana got to see temples, rivers, waterfalls. She met local farmers who grew their own fair trade coffee. She saw sugar made in the old way, and even got to interact up close and personal with elephants and tigers…and they weren’t in a cage or circus ring.
Four countries, loads of adventure, a half-marathon/10K in Chiang Mai(where we bumped into them last Christmas), and experiences to last a lifetime.
Teach Your Family To Work As A Team
The Vogels have been on the road traveling for four years straight…on bicycles.
They’ve written three books about their various adventures on the road across multiple continents. And they look to be having the time of their life while they are at it.
The biggest takeaway I’ve gotten from reading about their journey is that they work as a team to get through just about any circumstance that presents itself while out on the road.
Travel kind of forces that issue…especially when you don’t give yourself an “escape hatch” to run back home. I see this as a good thing, as it makes you confront the disparities in your family dynamics and overcome them if you are to survive on the open road.
It’s the whole “We’re in this together, and we won’t get through it unless we work together” paradigm, and the Vogels clearly have it down to an art.
Do you want to strengthen the cohesiveness of your family? Go on a wide-eyed adventure to a faraway land, and find out what it feels like to rely on each other to make it through whatever obstacles the road throws at you.
Think of it as “The Amazing Race”, except you get to call the shots. There’s no audition. You pick yourselves!
Kindness, Compassion, And Gratitude
We live in a day and age when society and the media are teaching young people that the most important thing in life is to earn a ton of money so you can have the most awesome car, gadgets, and grab all the spotlight that you can….ala the Kardashians, the Hiltons, the Jersey Shore!
The media juggernaut is so powerful, that even the best-laid plans of parenting children with proper values can seem like an exercise in futility.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Would you like to teach your kids to be kind, compassionate, and grateful? Sure, you can do that at home…but the distraction of media and peers will constantly cloud what you are trying to instill.
Travel long-term with your children. Elsewhere in the world, you’ll have a real-life learning lab to show them what you mean when you want them to be thankful for what they have.
And the media machine will at least for a moment, be silenced so that you and your kids can take in the reality of the world we live in, and the lessons it has to teach those of us who go out of our way to seek out the knowledge.
The Dennings did this with their family of seven. They’ve filled libraries with books in Dominican Republic, educated the children of lepers in India, and are right now on a journey from Alaska to Argentina…in a vegetable-oil powered truck!
Courage And Empowerment To Change The World
When they are young, we tell children “You can do anything you set your mind to.” Yet, so many only pay lip service to this notion, while very few actually demonstrate it in actual practice.
And as they grow up, life, peers, other grownups, and even the child’s own experiences start to make them believe that the world at large is for others to explore, but not them. They need someone to keep the fire alive.
Their greatest example, and their biggest hero isn’t found on TV, a comic book, or a movie. The greatest superhero they have(and the one they are most willing to emulate) is YOU.
The greatest gift you can give them is not the college fund, not that fancy ipad, or that trip to disney world. I’m not saying it’s wrong to give them these. I mean that there is a more valuable gift in tempering their imaginations with the real life discovery of the world at large.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” –Albert Einstein
To show your children that there is a big world out there just waiting for them to conquer and change is the ultimate gift. Take them on one or two extended trips to some faraway place in the world, and you will have equipped them with the confidence that there truly is no limit to the possibilities in their life.
My friend Annie and her husband Blake have a similar story to ours. They both were laid off from their lucrative jobs in the Silicon Valley in Northern California. To have one person’s income eliminated is a big enough challenge…but how do you deal with a double-whammy?
Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.
You move to the East coast, hang out a little while in Canada, and ultimately set yourself up in the South of France! Oh, and while you’re at it…you get yourself featured on the 500th episode of HGTV’s House Hunters International show.
Seriously, I couldn’t make this stuff up even if I tried! It is true. Annie and Blake’s courage to follow their hearts and not rush back into the rat race of life is a testament to the spirit of courage and empowerment that we are spreading here on Intrepid Motion.
With a 15, 14, and 4-year old in tow…they’ve created a new life for themselves out of the hailstorm of the economic crisis that hit hard in the U.S. over the past few years.
No one can tell you whether it is right or wrong to up and leave the comforts of your life to pursue adventures on the open road.
But if it is something you have considered, we hope these examples of families who have done it will inspire you to take that dream trip to explore the world.
Your best life isn’t waiting for you at 65…it is happening right before you! Your kids eyes will never be more open than they are right now. Show them that imagination isn’t something they need to grow out of, and you’ll make doers out of dreamers.