BLOG | WE SHARE OUR THOUGHTS ALONG THE WAY

We’re certainly not the only family who have left the rat-race to travel the world, but might be one of the few who did it with older kids and a tag-along-teacher. Our travels caught the attention of blogger and podcaster Jason Jenkins of An Epic Education. In his recently published podcast we discuss travel resources, spreadsheets, coffee makers, Rick Steves, library cards and the challenges of family travel with teens.

 

 

 

Some highlights about world-schooling while traveling (cited from An Epic Education’s show notes):

 

EPIC INSIGHT
They knew they were coming back, so researched their state’s laws regarding homeschooling.
Enrolled Bella into specific online courses associated with...

Every long-term traveler we've met or follow thinks differently about how they spend their hard-earned travel-funds. Some want to eat at fancy restaurants, but will skip hiring a guide to show them the city. Others will stay in a premier hotel, but won't buy souvenirs. Many have different financial priorities during different parts of their trips. (We wrote about our point of view here.)

 

Lodging can be one of the most expensive parts of a long-term trip, but we've read about people who spend hardly anything in this category; they house-sit, couch-surf, and trade-work-for-lodging. For our family of five we rarely scrimped here, but we also couldn't afford hotels. Our prio...

In this new series we are sharing our exact costs for some of the larger, more famous cities we stayed in. We’ll also share a tip or two about finances in the city, things we wish we’d realized before we arrived. For a more details about what we spent in all of Argentina, read our post: We were introduced to Argentina’s Dollar-Hungry, Blue-Market, Ever-Fluid Economy.

 

Buenos Aires Stats

10 nights. 8 in a 3-bedroom short-term rental apartment, 2 in a hotel (we rented 2 rooms).

 

5 people. (We are almost always 5 people.)

 

We were there in November of 2014.

 

Total cost: $3572.58

 

Cost per day: $357.26

 

Per person per day: $71.45

 

Buenos Aires Sense

We found that we would have received 50% better return on o...

I had my first cemetery-history-lesson in Bastos, a rural town in Sao Paulo state. My host, a young 3rd generation Japanese-Brazilian, took me on a chronological tour to show how the immigrant-founded community changed over time. Early graves were Buddhist with obelisk tombstones covered in Kanji and framed photos of the deceased. In the 1950s and 60s, names like Eduardo Fujisaki and Beatrice Suzuki began appearing on tombstones, demonstrating that the townspeople had begun identifying as Brazilian. The newest headstones’ text were Portuguese with Christian elements like crosses and angels, signaling further cultural integration. It was an eye-opening experience that prompted a habit of visiting ceme...

This is my fifth time returning home from a year abroad. The first was after being an exchange student to Brazil with Rotary. The next several times I was in my twenties. And yes, I experienced reverse culture-shock and felt directionless and went through many other emotions as I reintegrated home. And I’m feeling those things again. And so is my husband. And my kids. And Heather. And I could write about all of that, but Michael Huxley nailed it in his article last December: It Really is a Lonely Planet.

 

This year’s re-entry is different. I’m older. I own property and must feed, clothe and care for two teens and a dog. Figuring out what to do next is not just about me. Register for school? Check. Buy...

We’d been driving along South Africa’s gorgeous southern coastline and the famous Garden Route for 10 days. Heather was my trusty navigator, spotting road signs, tracking our mileage, and guiding me through the turns. I’d gotten comfortable driving on the left side of the road from the right side of the car, but still appreciated her reminders to “hug, hug, hug the curb” when turning left.

 

Approaching Port Elizabeth we veered north, following signs for Addo National Elephant Park. Heather read our travel agent’s instructions aloud, guiding us towards River Bend Lodge, a private game reserve where we would stay for two nights and three days. We finally reached the massive gates and buzzed for permissi...

Our teens are great travelers, but they’ll be the first to tell you that they hate being tourists. They cringe when they see package-deal-holiday busloads unloading at site entrances. They’ll skittle away from groups in museums, lest someone think we’re with them. After almost a year traveling around the world with a 12-year-old and a 16-year-old, we’ve identified three types of not-so-touristy teen travel by tapping in to our kids’ passions and focusing on immersive activities.

 

First, consider language learning. In almost every major city we’ve been, from Mendoza to Madrid to Montpellier, we’ve seen language schools for older kids and teens. Many of these offer 1- 2- and 4-week summer camps with opt...

I hesitate to include a budget report about South Africa, as it was the only country where we stopped being independent travelers and hired both a travel agent and a safari company. Determining a plan for Africa took longer and was more difficult, somehow, than the other countries on our itinerary. Perhaps this was because Africa felt more unknown and dangerous than South America and Europe. (Read my blog post “South Africa: we are already looking forward to the day we return” for more details.)

 

Subsequently, South Africa was far more expensive than any other country and is not easily broken down into the categories I normally report on. That being said, a financial accounting of our trip would not b...

I shared our RTW plan with a long-time friend and mentor over coffee one day. He was surprised, incredulous even. His response was something like, “What?! You’re going to do what? That’s crazy! Aren’t you afraid you’re going to screw up your kids?” It was the first time someone had expressed doubts about what we were doing, he was genuinely concerned that quitting school and traveling for a year would negatively affect our tween son and teen daughter. “No way!” I replied confidently. “They love travel. They’ll be fine!” 

 

Well, the truth is, it’s been harder on them than I expected. The bottom line is that they ARE fine and they HAVE learned a lot and they WOULD tell you the trip was worth it. But the...

We love the experience of temporarily living like locals that we get by renting homes through VRBO.com, Homeaway and Airbnb. We double-love how easy it has become over the past 10 years to find and pay for rental online. With the exception of one apartment – I’m looking at you, Santiago! – most of the homes we’ve rented have been great. But invariably there has been one or two things amiss, so we’d like to share our thoughts with current and future owners of short-term rentals.

First and foremost, have enough stuff. If you list your house as “sleeping 6”, then, you need to have six spoons, six cups, six plates, six towels, six pillows, etc. Several years ago we rented an apartment “for 8” in the histo...

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