Category Archives: Travel and School

It may sound a bit provocative, but our own experience from traveling with our kids for extended periods during many years has shown us how awfully much kids learn during travels. And most of the learning takes place in ways which a normal school situation never would be able to provide to them.
Of course traveling isn’t, for many reasons, something that suites everybody, and also in view of how our society is constructed, schools still fills a function. Nevertheless, what I really want to point out is the huge amount of learning that takes place in a child (and adult as well of course) when you’re out there traveling the world.
We have run across many parents who are concerned about what would happen to their kid’s education if they’d follow their desire to go on a longer journey. Would they fall behind? Would they not be educated “enough”?
Well, what’s the meaning of education in the first place? Is it not to learn about the world we live in and to prepare children for life? To educate them about how to function and how to survive – and thrive? How to socialize and cooperate and how to make this world a better place?
Anyway, the other day this was a subject for discussion in our family. It began with someone reminding us that they, the kids, learnt their basic English – in Spain! The discussion continued about other experiences they’d had while being on the road that provided them with lots of learning and the list got rather impressive.
Here are a few of the things they brought up:
Being invited to a family in India who had he most amazing herb garden you could ever imagine with all the medicinal herbs in the world
Going on the train from Tanger to Marrakesh for eight hours and discussing life with all the Moroccans who shared our compartment
Assisting friends with the olive harvest in Spain and then taking the olives to the mill to be cold pressed and bringing our own super tasty oil back home to Sweden
Chatting with a local in Akaroa, New Zealand, who was a descendant from the French colonizing ships, and hearing all about the history.
Participating in a Bar Mitzwah in the old town Augsburg, Germany, in the only synagogue that survived World War 2.
Volunteering at a children’s book festival in Nanaimo, Vancover Island BC, Canada, with friends
Traversing the USA by train and interacting with a whole wagon full of Amish
Being stopped by a police in New Zealand for speeding and listening to him telling us all the local Maori legends
Gossiping with the locals on a small island in Fiji while making baskets out of palm leaves
Visiting a SOS children’s village in Kerala, India, which we are sponsoring and meeting the mothers and the children who live there
Entering Australia with a phobia for snakes and being cured by hearing Crikey – Steve Irwin –  himself telling you all about these “beautiful” animals
Going on a whale safari in Vancouver, Canada, and experiencing the Grey Whales just a few meters away from our little boat
I was happy to hear the kids talk about these memories with such joy and passion and I’m convinced these experiences will be with them for the rest of their lives.
By the way, what would you like your kids toIt may sound a bit provocative, but our own experience from traveling with our kids for extended periods during many years has shown us how awfully much kids learn during travels. And most of the learning takes place in ways which a normal school situation never would be able to provide to them.
Of course traveling isn’t, for many reasons, something that suites everybody, and also in view of how our society is constructed, schools still fills a function. Nevertheless, what I really want to point out is the huge amount of learning that takes place in a child (and adult as well of course) when you’re out there traveling the world.
We have run across many parents who are concerned about what would happen to their kid’s education if they’d follow their desire to go on a longer journey. Would they fall behind? Would they not be educated “enough”?
Well, what’s the meaning of education in the first place? Is it not to learn about the world we live in and to prepare children for life? To educate them about how to function and how to survive – and thrive? How to socialize and cooperate and how to make this world a better place?
Anyway, the other day this was a subject for discussion in our family. It began with someone reminding us that they, the kids, learnt their basic English – in Spain! The discussion continued about other experiences they’d had while being on the road that provided them with lots of learning and the list got rather impressive.
Here are a few of the things they brought up:
Being invited to a family in India who had he most amazing herb garden you could ever imagine with all the medicinal herbs in the world
Going on the train from Tanger to Marrakesh for eight hours and discussing life with all the Moroccans who shared our compartment
Assisting friends with the olive harvest in Spain and then taking the olives to the mill to be cold pressed and bringing our own super tasty oil back home to Sweden
Chatting with a local in Akaroa, New Zealand, who was a descendant from the French colonizing ships, and hearing all about the history.
Participating in a Bar Mitzwah in the old town Augsburg, Germany, in the only synagogue that survived World War 2.
Volunteering at a children’s book festival in Nanaimo, Vancover Island BC, Canada, with friends
Traversing the USA by train and interacting with a whole wagon full of Amish
Being stopped by a police in New Zealand for speeding and listening to him telling us all the local Maori legends
Gossiping with the locals on a small island in Fiji while making baskets out of palm leaves
Visiting a SOS children’s village in Kerala, India, which we are sponsoring and meeting the mothers and the children who live there
Entering Australia with a phobia for snakes and being cured by hearing Crikey – Steve Irwin –  himself telling you all about these “beautiful” animals
Going on a whale safari in Vancouver, Canada, and experiencing the Grey Whales just a few meters away from our little boat
I was happy to hear the kids talk about these memories with such joy and passion and I’m convinced these experiences will be with them for the rest of their lives.
By the way, what would you like your kids to experience and learn when you’ll go traveling the world?
experience and learn when you’ll go traveling the world?

Well, maybe we don’t have to take it to the extreme here:), but our own experience from traveling with our kids for extended periods during many years has shown us how awfully much kids learn during travels. And most of the learning takes place in ways which a normal school situation never would be able to provide to them.

Of course traveling isn’t, for many reasons, something that suites everybody, and also in view of how our society is constructed, schools still fills a function. Nevertheless, what I really want to point out is the huge amount of learning that takes place in a child (and adult as well of course) when you’re out there traveling the world.

We have run across many parents who are concerned about what would happen to their kid’s education if they’d follow their desire to go on a longer journey. Would they fall behind? Would they not be educated “enough”?

Well, what’s the meaning of education in the first place? Is it not to learn about the world we live in and to prepare children for life? To educate them about how to function and how to survive – and thrive? How to socialize and cooperate and how to make this world a better place?

Anyway, the other day this was a subject for discussion in our family. It began with someone reminding us that they, the kids, learnt their basic English – in Spain! The discussion continued about other experiences they’d had while being on the road that provided them with lots of learning and the list got rather impressive.

Aurora with a bread fruit in Kerala, India

Aurora with a bread fruit in Kerala, India

Helping friends with the olive harvest in the mountains north of Marbella, Spain

Helping friends with the olive harvest in the mountains north of Marbella, Spain

Aron in the ”French” part of New Zealand – the cute little town Akaroa

Aron in the ”French” part of New Zealand – the cute little town Akaroa

Here are a few of the things they mentioned:

  • Being invited to a family in India who had he most amazing herb garden you could ever imagine with all the medicinal herbs in the world
  • Going on the train from Tanger to Marrakesh for eight hours and discussing life with all the Moroccans who shared our compartment
  • Assisting friends with the olive harvest in Spain and then taking the olives to the mill to be cold pressed and bringing our own super tasty oil back home to Sweden
  • Chatting with a local in Akaroa, New Zealand, who was a descendant from the French colonizing ships, and hearing all about the history.
  • Participating in a Bar Mitzwah in the old town Augsburg, Germany, in the only synagogue that survived World War 2.
  • Volunteering at a children’s book festival in Nanaimo, Vancover Island BC, Canada, with friends
  • Traversing the USA by train and interacting with a whole carriage full of Amish
  • Being stopped by a police in New Zealand for speeding and listening to him telling us all the local Maori legends
  • Gossiping with the locals on a small island in Fiji while making baskets out of palm leaves
  • Visiting a SOS children’s village in Kerala, India, which we are sponsoring and meeting the mothers and the children who live there
  • Entering Australia with a phobia for snakes and being cured by hearing Crikey – Steve Irwin –  himself telling you all about these “beautiful” animals
  • Going on a whale safari in Vancouver, Canada, and experiencing the Grey Whales just a few meters away from our little boat
The girls with friends participating as volunteers at the Children’s Book Festival, Nanaimo, Canada

The girls with friends participating as volunteers at the Children’s Book Festival, Nanaimo, Canada

I was happy to hear the kids talk about these memories with such joy and passion and I’m convinced these experiences will be with them for the rest of their lives.

By the way, what would you like your kids to experience and learn when you’ll go traveling the world?

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A while ago we asked the question why is families that do long term travel so uncommon? Judging from the feedback we got, school and money are definitely the most common reasons that stand in the way. Well , for most people money is usually the most popular reason but when it comes to families , then school is just as important.

Long term travel offers many real life opportunities for learning <br> Today we learn about the Alhambra...

Long term travel offers many real life opportunities for learning - Today the Alhambra, Tomorrow???


This hasn’t been the case for us since we have homeschooled most of the time even when we haven’t been traveling but we can very well understand the worries that may arise since we ran into the same kind of concerns when we started homeschooling our children. Could we do it? Would they learn anything? How about friends? And on and on… Not to mentioned how family, friends and even authorities here in Sweden were questioning our decision.

Being questioned like that we of course had to take a closer look at all these worries to see if it made sense to us or if we were just being crazy. We spent a lot of time, years and years, reading and studying the subject of schooling and how children (well ,everybody) learns.

To be honest the conclusion we came to is that school is probably not the best place for an ideal learning situation. We don’t want to be disrespectful of all the teachers and all the people working so hard in schools trying their best to teach children. It is just that the school system in itself is not the perfect set up.

Learning is a natural ability. We learn all the time from everything that is around us and from all that happens to us. We learn from seeing, doing, hearing, reading, and experiencing things. We learn from our failures as well as from our successes. We learn by asking as well as by answering questions. We learn by free will without even being asked to. We learn all the time without even thinking about it. Learning is a lot of fun and not a struggle.

In my personal opinion , by making school compulsory and forcing children to learn against their will, you start off on the wrong foot. You run into a constant uphill battle where the teachers try to motivate the children to learn by offering rewards or threatening with punishments. A human natural behavior is turned into a forced one and the joy of learning goes out the window. And the sad thing is, I believe, that is what happens when children start school. They start first grade happy and eager to learn and after a year or two the light in their eyes have gone out and learning is boring.

I could see this in my own life. And it was not until we started homeschooling our own children and saw the enthusiasm with which they embraced learning that I rediscovered my own joy for learning.

Sorry if I got a bit carried away there. It’s just that learning has become a subject that is very close to my heart. It makes me happy to see kids enjoy learning. And I also want to inspire others to rediscover their joy of learning just like I did

Am I getting of topic here? Not really because what we also discovered is that traveling is a great way of learning, probably one of the best. When traveling, you are constantly faced with new situations and circumstances. And every new situation is a new learning opportunity. The amount of learning that happens when you are out traveling can never be achieved in a classroom. And the amazing thing is that we have had reports from families saying that even if the children for instance have done no math exercises during their whole 6 month journey their understanding of math have still improved and they have no problem keeping up. Rather the opposite, they have very often moved ahead of the rest of the class!

So what I am trying to say here is: Don’t let school be a reason that stops you from long term travel. On the contrary, let your children’s education be the reasons why you need to go on that journey. Give them a real understanding of the world which I am sorry to say they won’t find in text books in a class room.

Somewhere you can find a lot of good stuff about long term travel and learning is on the Soultravelers3 blog.

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I was talking the other day to a friend who’s having problems with her son. The boy, who is 15 is sick of school and just doesn’t want to go there anymore. The mother is looking for and trying different solutions and was asking for my point of view and ideas which I was trying to offer the best I could. And then, it just dawned on me: “Maybe it is time to change your life…”
I am tired
Here I am blogging about the wonders of long term travel and almost forgetting to tell my friend what a wonderful tool it is if you ever feel stuck in your life.

I mean, to me it’s quite obvious that this single mother and her only son are so stuck in their routines and habits that it’s almost impossible to make a change by still remaining in that same situation.

As Albert Einstein says:
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

I have heard this quote many, many times before but never, before really understood what it means in real life. But now, after this conversation, I do. I can see how much easier it would be for our friend and her son to get out of the situation they’re stuck in by changing their surroundings and circumstances.

And of course to me one of the absolute best ways of doing this is through long term traveling because:

• It takes you out of your deep routed habits

• It puts you in new situations where old routines are of no use

• It forces you to live more in the present and go from there

• The new situations demands you to create new habits and routines

I remember when I myself was the same age as our friends’ boy. I was so sick of school and my grades were so bad that I was forced to do the same school year over again. The general verdict over me was more or less that I had not been able to understand what I was taught and that I needed a second go to really grasp it. But to everyone’s surprise and frustration, my grades the second time were even worse! Even my teachers started to believe, and also to tell me, that I was un-teachable and that I would never “become” anything. The scary thing is that I almost believed them!

But luckily, instead of trying to “fix me within the system that was creating my problem” I was permitted to leave school for a year and instead worked for a year. After that things had changed and I was able and motivated to go back and finish my high school education. Later on I also did 4 years at University.

So yes, I am convinced that our friend and especially the boy do need a change and something that shakes them out of their present block that is in fact slowly killing them.

For this purpose my preferred choice is of course long term traveling. Not only because it is so effective but it is also so fun and creates memories that will last a life time. And how many more chances will our friend have to create such a memorable experience with her son before he takes off on his own life adventure?

Whether or not my suggestion to “change your life” in order to solve the “sick of school” syndrome for the boy is an advice our friend will adopt, remains to be seen. For her, like for most people faced with the idea of extended travel – But’s – were popping up like mushrooms in the fall.

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We have spent a weekend together with a whole bunch of wonderful people of all ages at the annual meeting of the Swedish Homeschooling association. When we were driving back home, we talked about how being in charge of the children’s time and education has made it so much easier for us to do long term travel and to do whatever we’ve wanted. We have never needed to ask for permission from a teacher to go away, or to stay a bit longer if our plans have changed along the way.

Swedish Home School Organization

Swedish Home School Organization


Actually, a big part of why we have been doing long term travel in the first place has been the children’s education and to give them the possibility to learn as much as possible about the world and about people.

We have come across some expressions lately that now are used for this kind of education: travel schooling and world schooling for example.

I really like that. “We’re out travel schooling!” or “We spend time away from home world schooling!” It gives you a feeling for what it’s all about, doesn’t it? You’re out there in the world learning.

Visiting a school in a different culture can be great fun – here in a small village in the Yasava Islands, Fiji

Visiting a school in a different culture can be great fun – here in a small village in the Yasava Islands, Fiji


Of course, you don’t need to be home schooling full time to travel. Or you don’t need to be home schooling at all.

We know families who have traveled and stayed in a specific place where the children then have joined the local school for a while. And families where the children have gone to several different schools along the way.

Most families who travel long term though, just take the children out for a while, some months, half a year or a year and continue to work together with the teacher at home in different ways. They bring material to work on and keep in contact with the teacher through the internet.

We write some more about this subject on the Children and School pages.

Just remember that having children of school age doesn’t have to be a reason to stay at home – it’s actually a great reason not to stay at home!

Here’s a film from another family who travels and learns. You can also learn more about them on their website www.soultravelers3.com

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There always seem to be something stopping us from going on that long term journey. For some of the families we meet, the reason is that their children are too young. “It will be better when the kids are older and can manage more by themselves and will be old enough to enjoy the experience”. Ironically though, for the next family we encounter the reason can be quite the opposite, that the kids are too old. “They have their school work and their friends which they don’t want to leave”.

Writing in the olive tree in Spain

Writing in the olive tree in Spain

For us personally, school has never been an issue since we’ve been homeschooling. Well, that is not perfectly true. At the time of our first long term journey, our oldest daughter, Viktoria, was actually attending school and it was a bit of an issue for her to leave her friends there.

For us the parents, it was a surprise to be confronted with what power the idea of schooling has over our society. When we told the teacher that we were taking Viktoria out of school to go on a 6 month journey, we were told that we needed his as well as the school boards permission! Realizing that the school authorities could claim to overrule our decision was chocking to us. How ignorant we were…

Anyway, what was more interesting for us during that first long term journey, was the possibility we got to compare class learning to real life learning. Like most people we were convinced that school was something that everyone had to go through in order to learn anything. We had never even really questioned the fact that learning was something that had to be done in a school setting, more or less.

That first long term journey changed it all for us. Just to witness all the fantastic learning that happened was an awakening for us. All the different languages, cultures, climate, nature, wildlife, distances, currencies, exchange rates, social behaviors and lots of other things. And all the different people we met and their varying customs we experienced was definitely a crash course in socialization.

Who says you have to be sitting in a room on a chair to study? The options are endless, reading in a pool in Fiji for instance.

Who says you have to be sitting in a room on a chair to study? The options are endless, reading in a pool in Fiji for instance.

The biggest insight for us though, was when we got back home and Viktoria returned to her school. We then realized, that while Viktoria and our whole family had been out exploring and learning in the world, her classmates had spent all their time in the same class room. That’s when it became clear to us how limited the school world can be and that was when we started our search for something else.

We are not saying that homeschooling, our choice, is the right way for everybody. But we do believe that school by no means should be an obstacle for taking your children for a long term journey and exploring the world. The question is not if you dare to take them on this adventure but rather if you dare not to.

To find out more read our Children and School and School Ideas page.

Taking Viktoria out of school at that time impacted our lives and our whole way of living. We’re very glad we did it and grateful for having had the opportunity to do it. To travel as a family is a fantastic way of connecting and of learning and we just wish and hope more families could experience this.

So, if you dream about traveling with your family – just go for it.:grin:


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