How Did We Become a Fulltime Travel Family?
Deciding to sell everything, travel fulltime, and worldschool is most likely one of the biggest decisions we’ve ever made. While every family’s situation is different, I’ll give you a little insight into what led up to our decision to be a world traveling family, worldschool the kids, and ultimately, how we make it work. Hopefully, this work/travel/worldschool lifestyle will continue to be everything we imagined, and we will forge ahead on our journey.
Download our complete guide to planning YOUR Family Gap Year or Full Time Travel.
Read about how we prepared our kids for leaving and traveling full time as a family. Then, download our guide to preparing your kids for leaving.
How We Decided to Take The Plunge Into Worldschooling & Fulltime Traveling as a Family
We have decided to take the plunge into full time travel. World traveling and Worldschooling! We have always been world travelers. Even though we were working traditional jobs, on a traditional schedule, we have always made the effort to travel with our kids.
Just before finding out we were pregnant with our first daughter, we were visiting family in Sydney, Australia. A year later, I took PinkLady on her first trip to South Africa when she was just 4 months old! Stroller, car seat, baby crib, baby bag, bottles…oh my! It was a hoot. The gear alone was outrageous. Luckily, we have learned a fair amount since then about the best travel gear for infants.
Just Eighteen months later, SoccerGal came into our lives. Then, we were off to Italy, Monaco, Barbados, Canada, Mexico, New York, California, and more. We traveled to as many places to visit family and experience the world as possible. While we were not traveling fulltime, we always made it a priority!
Our Transition from Vacationing to Full time World Travel
So, how did we transition from traditional Vacationing to Full time World Travel?
Firstly, let’s back it up to March of 2020…before we knew the term COVID. On Saturday, March 14th, we celebrated my brother and sister-in-law’s engagement! What a party it was! As fate would have it, by Monday, we were told our school would be closed for 2 weeks for “cleaning and disinfecting.” It’s funny, actually, what the world didn’t know yet. At that time, PinkLady and SoccerGal were 6 and 8 years old (1st and 2nd grade).
Two weeks of school closures eventually turned into months, and then it was summer here in Atlanta! Certainly things would go back to normal soon, right? Evidently, no. Within just a few weeks of our school going “virtual,” my 8 year old informed me that she absolutely would not sit at the computer all day (and by the way, how do you use a computer anyway?). My response? I’m not either!! This sucks!!
From that day on, we withdrew from school and planned to spend the upcoming summer enjoying ourselves from home as much as possible. At the same time, I was (and still am) running my pediatric speech therapy practice. Read more about how I manage running a business while homeschooling, and now, worldschooling.
Now, since you don’t know me yet, I will tell you this. I am an obsessive reader and research junkie. I HAVE to know about every way to do everything, the best, the worst, the unusual. I take copious notes. On paper. With a pen. To the point that I bought myself a Rocketbook.
And, above all, I have never been afraid to be different, to go my own way, to live outside the box a little. I had created this very traditional life, yet it just didn’t feel right. I always felt like I was swimming upstream, against the current. I just couldn’t go with “normal.”
Then We Decided to Homeschool…
So, by June 2020 we had officially declared ourselves “homeschoolers.” Read about how to legally become a homeschooler in your state here. I jumped on the bandwagon, eager to know it all, and set up our own little “school at home.” PIC It only took about 6 months for me to realize that “school-at-home” was not for us.
I searched for gentler ways to impart knowledge, more exciting ways for my kids to experience the world. Within a year, I had moved from school-at-home, to Charlotte Mason, to eclectic. And in year 2, we went WAY over the edge to mostly an unschooling approach. Read more about unschooling here.
I feel more comfortable with the term “lifeschooling,” meaning we learn everyday, through just living life, and making a point to engage and interact with the world. Family, friends, older and younger people, strangers, locations, nature, educational opportunities and programs. You name it!
We read. A LOT. We read fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, art history, philosophy, Shakespeare, the classics…all the subjects we can. Find the top books for family read alouds and homeschooling here. I worked hard to make sure that the kids were exposed to it ALL. If they didn’t want to read, I read to them.
And I learned a valuable lesson in allowing my kids to be free and independent. To self direct as much as possible. To choose to do or NOT do something. And to stamp down my internally hard-wired responses (no, be careful, because I said so, you have to, we can’t get behind, etc). The more I zipped my mouth and reactions, the more willing they were to try new things, to engage. I have seen my girls blossom into independent, confident, curious and happy kids. I am still working on my own deschooling, though.
Why Wasn’t Homeschooling-in-place Enough For Us?
Homeschooling was fantastic! But it wasn’t enough. So what was wrong? As I am sure you are asking, if life was all roses and sunshine, then why did we decide to change it? Well, life was not always roses and sunshine. My hubby, BeachDad, was working in our larger family business. He worked physically and mentally hard, he commuted 2 hours+ a day. And while that comes with incredible perks and the absolute best family support system a gal could ask for, he was working long, long hours. BeachDad left the house at 6am, got home around 7pm, put the kids to bed with me and collapsed from exhaustion. He also worked most of the day Saturdays.
At the same time, I was running my speech therapy practice seeing clients and managing employees, which I had worked hard to keep afloat during COVID, while also homeschooling the kids, managing all household duties and family responsibilities…as well as the social calendar. And I am a strong introvert. Here’s how I travel and managing being introverted.
We were burning the candle at both ends, we were honestly completely exhausted by the end of the day, and after being immersed in an alternative community like homeschooling, I realized that there were truly so many ways to LIVE. However, I never believed we could or would live differently to the traditional American norm.
How We Finally Took The Plunge
When the American housing market exploded in early 2022, we realized a few things. We could make a nice profit on our house, it wouldn’t be a smart idea to buy in the current market, and most importantly, we needed our family to reconnect. We needed calm, unhurried, unstressed time and space to be together, and a little adventure in our lives!
Now here is where I shout out to the most incredible parents and family support system in the universe. My parents opened their home to us (not for the first time). Our plan was to sell our house, bank the money for a future home, and move in with the grandparents for 1 year. In that year, we hoped to save money for travel, since our expenses would not include a home anymore. And, the kids would get to spend time with their grandparents daily…bonus!
While away on full time world travels, I would continue to keep my practice running from the computer, but would knowingly be downsizing a bit to keep things manageable and the priority on our family time. Saving for a year would allow BeachDad to come along without having to worry about working. In that year, I secretly hoped I would find a way for us to continue to work or make income while worldschooling and traveling, which might open more doors for travel in the future.
So, here we go!
Some Posts You May Want To Check Out:
Preparing your children for leaving & traveling full time as a family
How to Find Cheap Flights for your Family Gap Year Travel
All About Worldschooling
This interview with Go Solo.