Tag Archives: families

“We’d love if you would like to enter our competition. We want to nominate you as one of the most adventurous families!”
LOTR all
That’s the email we got the other day from this travel magazine, one of the biggest here in Sweden. It’s actually called “Adventurous Families” and that’s what they write about, families who take a break from their everyday struggles and do something else together. Often this “something else” includes travel but it doesn’t have to.

Of course you can be adventurous anywhere. And what is “adventurous” is of course relative. For some, like the “Smallbigexpedition” that we recently wrote about here, the adventure can be to travel through Europe and Africa with a Land Rover. For others, it can involve things like climbing Kilimanjaro or swimming with white sharks. For yet others, the adventure can be to just leave your familiar surrounding and all the people you know and experience a totally new place for a while. For some, the real adventure can be to just be together, as a family, 24/7, something you may never have experienced and have no idea how it will work out.

For me, I think adventurous is when you challenge yourself and take a step, or several, outside of your comfort zone. And since we all have our own (perceived) limits around ourselves, this is very personal. What’s adventurous for some, is just a piece of cake for others and vice versa.

So, regarding the competition, of course we accepted! They then wanted to come and do an “adventurous photo shoot” and, since we had mentioned our “Lord of the Rings” tour around New Zealand, they suggested that theme for the photos.

So, the other day they came, with props and everything (swords, nice dresses…) from the Swedish television. They even had us asking around our neighbors for a white horse that we could use. And we found one! Here are some photos from the shoot, our own of course, the professional ones will be in the magazine. Viktoria, our oldest daughter is unfortunately missing though. She’s in England at the moment, doing her own adventurous things.

So, fingers crossed for winning (it’s a nice big travel check). And if we don’t, it’s still a great opportunity to spread the word about our new book (soon to be printed)!

And, by the way, what would be adventurous for your family?
LOTR aam
LOTR Aurora
LOTR Maria
LOTR Magnus

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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It just strikes me how rare it is to find families who actually travel long term. Looking at the travel community on the Internet you pretty soon realize that families are very rare. Sure there are some to be found but in comparison with all the young backpackers or single couples they are for sure a minority.

To travel long term could mean waiting for a bus in Byron Bay, Australia...

To travel long term could mean waiting for a bus in Byron Bay, Australia...

Why is this? Can it be that the common belief that you have to be young and single to be able to travel long term is so strong that families just don’t think it is possible for them? Or is it the lack of financial resources that stops families from taking off? Maybe it is the strong belief that kids has to be in school in order to be able to learn anything at all that is the main obstacle? Perhaps it could be that families just aren’t interested in longer journeys? Or is there some other reason that we haven’t mentioned?

We would really like to know what you believe is the main reason.

As you may know from previous blog posts we strongly believe that to travel long term can be very good for you and this definitely goes for families as well. Personally we are just so grateful that we as a family took off on that first longer journey many years ago. It had a major and, in our point of view, positive impact on our whole life. And we are convinced that many more families would benefit if they did something similar.

But I guess not everyone is as convinced about these benefits as I am or we would definitely find a lot more families on the road. Maybe our whole point of view on life and society in general is just very differently from most other families? Maybe what we see as benefits are obstacles for others?

• We just love spending a lot of time with our kids. Other parents my think they would go crazy if they had to spend that much time with their kids.

• We believe that long term traveling is great for strengthening the family bonds. Others may worry that their family couldn’t survive a longer journey and that they would end up “killing” each other.

• We think that the real life education that our traveling has given our kids is invaluable and nothing any school could ever offer. Others could worry that their kids will fall behind if they miss a couple of month of schooling.

• We think that the freedom and break from the very common peer pressure in schools gives the kids a good and well needed chance to develop their own personality. Others may think that time away from their friends could be harmful for them.

We would really appreciate if you took the time and gave us your opinion in the comments below on why so few families are actually embracing the opportunity of long term travel. The more families and kids that get to experience the world firsthand the better it is I believe.

Just to finish off I want to offer a couple of quotes. First this from the book “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss:

“Far from being a reason not to travel and seek adventure, children are perhaps the best reason of all to do both”.

And then Nancy from www.FamilyonBikes.org who said something similar the other day when we spoke to her and asked her why they were doing this, traveling with their twin boys on bikes from Alaska to the south of Argentina. She said:

“We wanted to take advantage of their childhood and go out and do something now.”

That opportunity won’t ever come back for sure!:lol:

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