It may be a few years off yet, but I am starting to plan an extended round-the-world trip with my husband and two children. Much to the shock, horror and disbelief of family and friends, we plan to take our girls out of school for up to a year so we can explore various corners of the globe at a deeper, more meaningful pace than two-week vacations ever allow.
All sorts of objections are hurled at us: You’re going to have to win the lottery to do that. You’ll stunt the kids’ education if they miss that much school. Too much togetherness will strain your marriage. You’ll get bored a few weeks in. You must be crazy.
I have a push-back for every one of these objections (well, maybe not the last one), but I’m really not trying to convince anyone else that our plan is right for them. It’s our choice, our path, our dream.
And we’re not alone. There is a small but growing tribe of fellow family nomads out there who choose to wander the planet for months at a time to enrich their souls, strengthen their bonds and educate themselves about the world. Some are documenting their experiences online, which helps validate the dream and provide practical tips for like-minded people like me. Here are a few of my favorite RTW family inspirations.
This mom, dad and 8-year-old daughter are 3 years in to an open-ended global adventure, based half the year in small-town Spain and the other half “roadschooling” as they travel around, Europe, Africa and beyond. This sensibly frugal family is particularly inspiring as they do this on about 25K a year, proving that you don’t have to be independently wealthy to attain this dream.
These ambitious parents are biking from Alaska to Argentina with their 11-year-old twin boys – a feat that will give them the world record as the youngest people to cycle the Pan-American highway. This family is sharing their experiences with underprivileged students through Reach the World, a non-profit organization dedicated to using the internet to bring global expeditions like this into the classroom.
The Smith family of 4 is just a few months in to a worldwide yearlong journey (currently in South America). Their 11-year-old daughter also keeps a blog, which gives good insight into how this nomadic lifestyle feels from a kid’s perspective.
This Canadian family is mid-way through a half-year exploration around Asia. This piques my interest as this is one of the main regions of focus for our own family trip.
This lucky family got to have an Oprah moment when they were profiled on the show, putting the spotlight on the concept of extended world travels with children. Their big trip ended two years ago, but the site is a great archive of tips and insights for families considering their own journeys.
When our kids were 14,12 and 10, we took them out of school for (just) 3 months to travel in Asia and Australasia. Firstly that wasn’t enough time ! And just like you we heard all the critics, especially when it came to our kids’ schooling. Guess What? They did homework and assignments on the road and when they got back it was as if they’d been at school all along. They missed virtually nothing. If you look at how much time is wasted at school, and what a life experience travel can be, there’s no argument. Travel wins hands down !
It is so true what you write about all the objections. But as you say there are ways around them. And it is so worth it. I just wish more people would take the opportunity. You won’t regret it. We even wrote a Book on how to overcome the obstacles in order to help an inspire more people to actually go for it.
Have a great journey