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Anne & Eric Isom Family of 6 living in Nanjing China

Would You Move To China For Your Children? The Isom Family Did!(Series #9)

Most parents would do almost anything for their children. I know I would.  But to what extent would you go? Anne and Eric Isom, decided they wanted to say goodbye to their American life and move to China for the sake of their children. There’s just one thing. Anne and Eric are not Chinese. Find out why and how they made the move to China a reality.
nanjing china Isom Family

Isoms Lived in Mongolia for 6 months + Now Live in Nanjing China

Isom Family Snap Shot

  • Number Of Kids: 4 beautiful girls (16, 12, 9 and 7)
  • Educating Kids: Homeschool ( +Language Studies)
  • Type Of Travel: Living Abroad, Long Term,  International
  • Length Of Travel: Since 2011, 1 + Years
  • Where Travelled: :—> Mongolia, Nanjing China ( Anne + Eric Both grew up globe trotting)
  • Challenges: Money: unexpected expenses.
  • Finances: Money from selling stuff + House +saving for several years.
  • Budget: $66  day or $12 per person per day or $2,000 / month
  • Where To Find Them Online: Main Website www.islandschoolhouse.com, facebook: www.facebook.com/islandschoolhouseblog, Twitter: @islandschhouse; buy some of Anne’s photos at www.society6.com/IslandSchoolHouse

WHO ARE THEY?

islandschoolhouse.com-Isom2

Eric and Anne Isom have 4 beautiful girls who range in age from 7 to 16 ( as of 2012).

Eric (dad) has short blond hair and looks like the kind of dad you see on T.V.  Anne (mom) has dirty blond hair, fair skin and the most trusting smile I have ever seen. Their eldest daughter is 16 and is the perfect blend of mom and dad.

Then there are the three younger girls who have their moms contagious smile but share no other physical traits of their parents. Unlike their older sister, all three younger girls have straight jet black hair, olive skin and dark eyes.

If you haven’t guessed yet, Eric and Anne’s 3 younger daughters are adopted and were all born in China.

WHY DID THEY MOVE TO CHINA FOR THEIR CHILDREN?

islandschoolhouse.com-IsomGirls

The main reason Eric and Anne went to China is because they believe it is important to teach their adopted girls about their Chinese heritage.  They also believe it’s important that all members of their family learn about China and the Chinese culture.

But how does one go about teaching your adopted children from China about their Chinese culture when you have little to no first hand experience in that culture?

METHODS: How To Teach Kids About Their Chinese Heritage

Conventional Method

Eric and Anne could have joined one of the many organized subcultures that have developed around the growing number of Chinese children adopted by American families since 1991.

Do a quick internet search and you’ll find play groups, Chinese dance lessons, private Chinese lessons, tours of China and online support groups dedicated to supporting Chinese children adopted by American families.

Anne and Erics Method

But Eric and Anne didn’t just want their girls to learn about China through pictures , text books, Chinese dance classes and their limited knowledge of China. They wanted their girls to feel at home in their birth country.  They wanted all their girls, even their biological daughter to live and breath Chinese culture and they wanted to do it together as a family.

[alert style=”1″]According to the NYtimes, there are over 55,000 Chinese children ( mostly girls) who have been adopted by American families since 1991. (That’s when China loosened its adoption laws to address the growing number of children abandoned because of the one-child policy.) Most of the children are younger than 10.[/alert]

How Their Adventure Began..

For years Eric and Anne hoped Eric could get a job in China.  Unfortunately, even though Eric was highly skilled in his field and a manager at a global 500 company, he was never able to find a job in China due to his inability to speak Chinese.

THE MONGOLIAN JOB: Not What They Expected

Then in 2011, Eric’s company sent him and his family to Mongolia for a six month contract.  It wasn’t China but it was something.

After a few months, it became apparent that Mongolia was not what they wanted. Although living in Mongolia gave the Isom’s the international experience they were looking for, it wasn’t fulfilling their main goal which was to live and breath Chinese culture and to connect their adopted daughters to their Chinese heritage.

China Or Bust

At the end of Erics six month contract, the Isom family decided that in order to make their dream of living in China a reality, they needed to move to China NOW, on their own without corporate sponsorship.

Another driving force to move to China sooner rather than later was the fact that their eldest daughter was already 15. Soon she would be out in the world on her own and the Isoms wanted to make sure she didn’t miss this fantastic opportunity to learn about Chinese culture.

Logistically it made sense too. They had no mortgage, everything they owned was in their suitcases and China was the next country over. So Why not move? 

Their Apartment In Nanjing China

Anne Isom Family Flat in Nainjing China

The Isoms Sparsely furnished Flat before a few trips to Ikea

On the 5th of January, 2012, after some preparation, visa research and house hunting, they moved to Nanjing China where they now live in a 3 bedroom flat on the 17th floor of a high rise. The high rise is on a quiet street, where the kids can ride bikes, visit parks and even roller skate.

Language and Educational Goals

Eric is attending a 2 year intensive Chinese language program at Nanjing University so he can break the language barrier, become fluent in Chinese and find similar work to what he did before. (i.e. Consulting, Project Management, etc.)

Nanjing University Campus China

Nanjing University Campus in China

What’s really great is that the Isoms eldest and biological daughter is also attending the same intensive language program as her father and apparently is quite the linguist. She started attending when she was just 15 years old.

The Isom’s three adopted girls have a private Chinese tutor who comes to their home 4 days a week for three whole hours each day.

THE GIRLS EDUCATION: 

In addition to their language courses, Anne is homeschooling all the girls.  Anne used to home-school back in the US so it was a no brainer to continue homeschooling them while in China.

How Do They Pay For It All?

With the exception of some books and art pieces which are in a storage unit back in the US, the Isom’s sold everything they own including their home to fund their two year trip to China.  They also saved like crazy several years in advance.

Plus, it costs much less to live in China especially since they don’t have a mortgage, car payments and all the trappings of their old life.

Money Money Money

So how much does it actually cost for a family of 6 to live in China. 

The Isom’s spend less than 24K a year for everything including the university tuition for two people. That means, rent, utilities, transportation, travel insurance, visas, food, clothing, tutors, entertainment…. Everything.

That breaks down to  $66 per day or $13 bucks per person.

[alert style=”3″]For anyone planning a long term travel agenda, Anne suggests making a well planned budget and then add 20%. There are always unexpected expenses that you just can’t plan for.[/alert]

Camelback back pack ruck sack

LUGGAGE

Luggage wise, the Isoms brought two 50 lbs. suitcases each plus they each have a carry on bag and a camelback backpack each( the one with a water bladder inside of them). This is more than a lot of our other families who have to limit their possessions to a backpack because they are moving more often.

When Will The Isom Family Return To The US?

The Isoms intend to stay in China indefinitely. They are banking on the fact that Eric will be able to land a job once he masters the Chinese language.

Anne is proud of the fact that they are not living in the “expat bubble” as she liked to call it and says for the moment, they are enjoying their life in China but at some point, they plan on returning to their globe trotting ways and introduce their children to other countries and cultures several times a year.

Final Thoughts

The Isom’s story is a good reminder for all you wanderlusts spirits that just because you have children doesn’t mean that you must raise them a certain way.

You have to choose the path that best suits your values and goals.

[alert style=”3″]“We are actively creating our own future, not waiting any longer for employers or “chance” to provide us with the opportunities we desire “                                                              Annie Isom[/alert]

Would You Like To Live Abroad Someplace Like China Too?

If you are or would like to plan your own family adventure abroad, Anne has her top three bits of advice for you.

[alert style=”3″]

Anne and Eric Isom Advice

  1.  Get out of debt. 100% out of debt! You don’t want debt nagging at you in the back of your mind!
  2. If you are going “for the experience,” really experience it. Live, shop, eat, and study where the locals live, eat, shop and study.  Choose places to stay where you are not surrounded by expats and avoid having the “local expats” help you get settled. They will steer you to locations close to them, encourage you to shop at the import stores and will influence you to make choices you otherwise would not.
  3. Start teaching your children now that they must try every food at least once, and set an example for them!
  4. BONUS: Anne says that one of their biggest challenge has been unexpected expenses.  So before you trip, make a detailed budget and add 20% to it.
[/alert]

 So what do you think?

Leave your comments below…


The Isom family are are the 9th family to be featured in an ongoing series showcasing and featuring families and couples who are travelling full time or for extended periods of time.

Some people travel for just a year while others have been travelling for more than 5. These are not lottery winners or rich people. They are just ordinary people like you and me who made travel their goal and decided to work at that goal to make it happen. I hope it inspires you to do the same no matter what your goals are.

Want to get featured on this site like this family? Do you know of someone whom I should feature?  Please fill out this form and I’ll post the story here..

Millers travel the world with kids

How The Millers Lost Their Money And Still Travel The World With Kids. (Series #8)

edventureproject Travel The World With Kids
What if you and your spouse spent years saving and planning for THE trip of a lifetime which involved taking the kids to travel through Europe for a year and during that year long trip, THE STOCK MARKET CRASHED and you LOST ALL YOUR  MONEY?

This isn’t hypothetical. This is what happened to the Millers, A Family of 6 from the U.S. and Canada.

I bet the last thing you would do is travel the world with your kids after this catastrophic loss right? Not the Millers. Find out how the Millers used this terrifying experience as a Catalyst to create an extraordinary lifestyle, travelling and experiencing the world together as a family for almost five years straight.

Snap Shot: The Millers of www.EdventureProject.com

  • Number Of Kids: 4 kids  (16- Hannah, 14- Gabriel, 12- Elisha, 10- Ezra) this was back in 2012.
  • Educating Kids: Home-school
  • Type Of Travel: Long Term, Slow Travel, Semi-Nomadic, International
  • Length Of Travel: Since 2008, 4 + Years
  • Where They’ve Travelled:
    Europe:—> UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, France.
    Africa:—>Tunisia,
    N.America: –> Canada, USA (45 States),
    Mexico—> ( All but 4 states),
    Central America:—> Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Guatemala for 6 months,
    Asia:—> Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos (so far!).
  • Challenges: Finding freelance clients to fund their lives. (who doesn’t though right?)
  • Finances: Online workshops to help would-be travellers, kindle ebooks, Freelance clients: Filemaker database developer designer, freelance writing.
  • Budget: $100 / day or $16.60 per person per day
  • Where To Find Them Online: Twitter: Mom@edventuremama, Dad @edventuredad, Hannah @edventuregirl ,Gabe @edventuredude
  • Kids Blogs:  http://www.edventuregirl.com (Hannah’s blog) ttp://www.havebrotherswilltravel.com

WHERE

Since 2008, the Millers have travelled to over 20 countries and counting: including almost one year of cycling over 9,000 KM through parts of Europe. They have visited almost every state in the US, almost every Province in Canada, and all but four states in Mexico. They visited temples in Asia, rode elephants and camels and they did this with 4 kids in tow who were all under the age of 12 when they started their adventure.

The Millers are what you would call long term travellers because they travel for long periods.  They are also known as slow travellers. Slow travellers can spend up to a few months in one spot before moving on  to their next destination.  To date, they’re longest stint in one place has been 3 months in Tunisia and 6 months in Guatemala.

You might think that the Millers did a lot of pre-planning for this whirlwind 5 year adventure but they didn’t. It was by some pretty horrific and financially traumatic circumstances that they ended up travelling the way they do.

The One Year Cycling Across Europe Plan

In 2006, Tony and Jenn Miller started planning what would be a one year family gap year.

Not just any family gap year. A cycling gap year which involved cycling over 9,000 Kilometers across Europe to places like the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic …….with their 4 kids who were between the ages of 6 and 12 at the time.

By 2008, after two years of very careful budgeting and planning, they were finally ready to start moving slowly through Europe.

  • They had sold their house.
  • Sold or gave away most of their stuff and put what little precious things they wanted to keep in a little 8 x 10 storage unit somewhere in the U.S.
  • They also did a bunch of other logistical things for their trip.

They really thought they had it all figured out but the Millers didn’t plan for everything.

To be fair, they couldn’t have planned for what was about to happen.

Around the end of 2007 , jobs were slowly disappearing.

The economy was about to take a dive.

People would have a hard time finding jobs and the unemployment rate would reach record highs.

No one, including the Miller’s knew this was happening YET.

As far as the Millers were concerned, all was good and going as planned.

They left for their trip and then one day during their trip, in October of 2008, the stock market crashed and with the exception of a few thousand dollars in various checking accounts and their retirement funds, they lost all the money they had saved up and were supposed to live off of during the trip.

They lost all of their money.

Most people would be devastated by this but a funny thing happens to some people. They either shrivel up defeated or it brings out this internal tiger that wants to beat the odds and make you fight.

Time In Tunisia To Make A New Game Plan

The Millers didn’t run back to the United States to lick their wounds and try to rebuild their old lives. Instead they settled in Tunisia for the winter to regroup. They knew they didn’t want their adventure to end but they needed money to continue so they used their time in Tunisia to figure out how to make some money far for their adventures and beyond their one year gap year that has allowed them to travel the world with kids in tow.

MONEY How Much Do They Spend?

You might be surprised to learn that it costs the Millers less than $36,000 per year to travel the world with kids as they do.

That breaks down to about $100 a day, $3000 a month or $16.60 per day per person. They are almost always under that regardless of continent.  That’s less than most people spend in the U.S. who just stay put in one place. This surprises most people because, they think it’s expensive to travel.

I think the main reason people believe travelling must be expensive is because their only point of reference is from taking expensive vacations. Vacations are only expensive because it involves staying in expensive hotels, eating out every night and paying top dollar for costly tourist and site seeing activities in a short amount of time. But that’s a post for another day.

So how exactly do the Millers support themselves?

You could say that losing all that money in the stock market crash was pivotal for them because it forced them to create a location independent income stream that they didn’t have before.

In fact, Jenn and Tony said that they see that market crash as a blessing in disguise because it pushed them outside of their comfort zone and forced them to really evaluate what they wanted to do with their lives. During their 3 month stay in Tunisia to regroup, Tony and Jenn decided to turn the skills they had acquired from their former professions into a portable income that they could earn from anywhere in the world.

The Solution To Their Money Problems: It’s a team effort

The majority of their income comes from Tony’s work as a Filemaker Database developer and designer. He has contracts with big companies you’ve heard of, and little ones you haven’t. He also creates iOS and Android Apps for small companies.

Jennifer’s work converted nicely to travelling too.  She is a teacher by training but has done educational consulting and curriculum design for the alternative schooling market for over a decade.

Now she writes freelance for the home-school and travel markets, which really is great because it’s something she enjoys doing anyways but gets paid to do it. She also co-created an online class and workshop with another long term traveller; Nancy Vogel of FamilyOBikes.org. The course is called Dream: Reboot and it helps people define their dreams and then helps them turn those dreams into a reality.

BAGGAGE

Hannah-Beach

No surprise, the Millers have to travel light. No bags with wheels for the Miller’s.

They each have their proper travelling backpack and a smaller day-pack for the buses, ferries, trains and planes.

In their packs they each have three outfits, two swimsuits, a jacket and a rain coat. Computers for work and school. Toys for the kids, knitting for Jenn, a hand coffee grinder and press for Tony.

OH, I almost forgot, Hannah, their now 16 year old daughter plays instruments. They carry a guitar, a mandolin and a fiddle for her and she plays for hours each day. It’s amazing I tell you. I want to meet this girl.

What About The Kids?

edventurekids

Right the kids. I know a lot of you are thinking if it’s not the money then it’s the kids that are preventing you from living your travel dreams.

Honestly, I believe this is just a mental block that we are brainwashed into believing. I mean, if you want to travel with the kids but feel like you can’t because it might hurt the kids future think again.   As far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the best educations you can give your kids if you can do it.

The Millers obviously feel the same way because their main goal in travelling was the KIDS EDUCATION and to introduce their kids to the world. They want to make the most of every second they have with their kids because according to Jenn, childhood evaporates at an alarming rate and they don’t want to miss it. They want to walk the world with their kids and create memories together that will change lives.

Still not convinced?  Here is what the Millers had to say about home-schooling on the road.

“I think, if there’s one thing I’d like to say to parents who have the dream of traveling with their kids but are afraid to for some reason (education, socialization, relationship issues, whatever) it’s that they should step back from the fears and walk forward toward their dreams.

I was raised travelling and building log cabins and eating turtle and porcupine and black bear as a tiny child. My parents took me out of school as a little kid and again as a teen to travel extensively and it is the BEST thing they could ever have done for me. Your kids will LOVE you for the experiences the world gives them and THANK YOU for being brave enough to swim against the tide.

My teenagers love their life and already have the perspective to realize what a gift their uncommon childhood is. It’s hard when the whole world is doing “one thing” and your heart is pulling you in a totally different direction, but those dreams are inborn and unique and meant to be chased. Life is meant to be an epic Technicolor adventure, not a greyscale photocopy.
If my life broadcasts one message, I hope that’s it: Don’t be afraid, LIVE your dreams.”

Hannah and the boys each have their own blogs which you can go and visit. I just loved reading Hannah’s blog. She writes wonderful stories . http://www.edventuregirl.com (Hannah’s blog) ttp://www.havebrotherswilltravel.com (the boys’ blog)

Here is an excellent article that Jenn wrote which I think says it all about homeschooling.  http://www.vagabondfamily.org/blog/road-schooling/roadschooling-highschool/

When Will Their EdVenture (educational adventure) End?

According to Jenn, they plan to travel full-time for at least another two years.

After that, they plan on building a house in Canada on some property Jenn’s family has there. They even have their eye on a boat in Canada that the boys would like to spend some of their teen years sailing down into the Caribbean, perhaps.

What Will They Do After Their Travelling Adventure Is Over?

Jenn says that they may never work “real jobs” or live a “normal life nor do they have the desire to live the status-quo.

I really love this attitude myself. I think living the status quo is perfectly fine if that is what you really want. But more often than not, we follow the status quo because that is what we think we MUST follow.

Want To Slow Travel Around The World Like the Millers?

I asked Jenn to give me her top tips for families who wanted to travel like they are and here is what she said.

  1. Stop making excuses for why you can’t do it, and DO IT. Don’t waste time, live your dreams.
  2. Create a location independent career, or income streams. Funding is the biggest on going challenge, once you get that sorted, it’s easy.
  3. Surround yourself with the “right” people. Seek out people who are doing what you want to be doing and bravely introduce yourself and ask for help. You’ll be amazed at how many people will move mountains to help you forward on your dream. (I will. Ask me!)

The Miller’s are also very evangelical about encouraging other people to live their dreams and create a passion driven life for their families.

They spend a lot of time helping people forward on their dreams for free.

If you’re interesting in learning more about the Millers you can visit their blog  www.EdventureProject.com.  It really is a good read full of fascinating stories about their family and the lessons they learn on the road.

Jenner wrote an ebook. Bottles to Backpacks: The Gypsy Mama’s Guide to REAL Travel With Kids… with her friend Keri Wellman, in Germany and they are working on a second one that is in a totally different vein.

What Do You Think?

Personally, I just love the Millers story because they are yet ANOTHER great example of what the human spirit can accomplish when you really put your mind to it.


The Millers are my 8th family to be featured in an ongoing series showcasing and featuring families and couples who are travelling full time or for extended periods of time.

susan-michael whitehead family sabbatical mexico

Want To Live In Mexico? Find Out how An Adventurous Family Of 7 Did It.(Series #7)

Susan and Michael WhiteHead family sabbatical in Mexico

Have you ever dreamed of leaving it all behind to live in Mexico or Costa Rica?  Think you have to be rich or save a bunch of money to support that new life?  Think you need to spend years planning it? Think Again. The WhiteHeads are an ex military family of 7 who decided to take action on their dream of travel. Kids and all. Find out how they did it.

Lured by the warm weather and beautiful beaches, every year thousands of people from around the world travel to Costa Rico and Mexico for a vacation.

Many of those same people dream about what it would be like to trade in their lives for a new life in Mexico.

Very few actually take action because of all those pesky hurdles you have to jump over to make it happen. Things like how would you support yourself? How would you keep up with the kids education? Where would you live? Not to mention the fact that you would have to learn a whole new language (Spanish).m

I found a couple who jumped  over all the hurdles and through a few hoops. And they did it with 5 kids between the ages of 3 and 14.  They aren’t rich. They didn’t sell off a bunch of Google stocks to make it happen and they didn’t plan the move over several years either.  They hustled and were persistent.

Snap Shot

The WhiteHeads of www.familytravelbucketlist.com

  • Number Of Kids: 5 kids  (14, 11, 9, 6, 3)
  • Educating Kids: Homeschool and Spanish language tutor
  • Type Of Travel: Long Term, Slow Travel, International
  • Length Of Travel: Since 2011, 1 Year +
  • Where Travelled: Costa Rica, Mexico:—> Atenas, San Jose,  Chapala, Mexico.
  • Challenges: Initially adjusting  to a new location and learning to cook without all the convenience foods found in the US
  • Finances: internet marketing clients, sale of previous business, digital products, kindle books, new travel magazine, teaching English online.
  • Where To Find Them Online: Facebook: www.facebook.com/familytravelbucketlist, Online Travel Mag: www.realfamilytravel.com

 

FamilyTravel Bucketlist

Since 2011, Susan and Michael Whitehead and their 5 kids have been slow travelling in and around Mexico and Central America. So far they have lived in Costa Rica, Atenas, San Jose and now Chapala, Mexico.  

Their goal is to travel indefinitely and knock as many things off of their family bucket list as possible before the kids leave to conquer the world on their own.

Living in 4 places might seem like a lot in such a short amount of time, ~12 Month Period. But thanks to the U.S. military, the WhiteHeads are no strangers to moving around. This adventurous family of 7 has had the pleasure of living all over the U.S. starting in Wichita Kansas, then to Milton Florida, Arkansas, Texas, Georgia and then back to Texas again.

A Chance To Settle Down

It wasn’t until they broke ties with the military that they decided to plant some roots in one place.

That place was Eastern North Carolina. There they set up their version of “THE DREAM LIFE” which included a 9.56 acre rural farm, chicken coops, plenty of land for the kids to play on, fresh blueberries, apples, pears  and more. You get the picture right? Susan and Michael also home-schooled their kids. Life was pretty good.

You would think that they would welcome the routine and comfort of one permanent place after bouncing around to so many different locations.  So what happened? How did they end up living in Mexico?

The Travel Bug

Wanderlust happened.

It’s true, once the infectious travel bug bites, the uncontrollable urge to see and explore more of the world takes over. No matter how much you try to fight it, no matter how much you try to push it aside, it is always there. If you deny this urge, horrible things can happen like regret and wondering “what if… ”

At least that has been my experience and that is apparently how the Whiteheads feel too because  after 3 years of living their idea rural life, they felt that inevitable pull of their wanderlust spirit too.  They longed for somewhere new to explore AGAIN!

Time To Make A Dream Come True

At the time, the economy and the country seemed to be taking a turn and they no longer viewed the U.S. as the BEST place to raise their children. That is when they started to take action on a new dream which was actually an old dream that they had put off for a long time. Susan and Michael always dreamed of travelling and showing their children the world.

First Steps

So Susan and Michael began to actively take steps to reduce their possessions and the anchoring effect of having a lot of stuff has on a family. 

They also started to grow their online businesses that they hoped would eventually help support their lifestyle and life of travel.

Lightening Their Load

They sold most of their things, gave away the rest and stored some of their keepsake items like photos at Susan’s parents home.

They now own 99% less than what they used to own which makes it easier to travel the world as a family unhindered by “THINGS”.   They each have 1 backpack plus they carry an additional 3 suitcases for other miscellaneous items totaling a whopping 10 bags for 7 people. That’s pretty lean.

What About The Kids?

costa rica with kidsThe kids were already being homeschooled so education was not really an issue. Susan and Michael decided to get the kids a language tutor which has worked out pretty well.

Money Money Money

The biggest surprise Susan revealed to me is that when they embarked on their travels, they didn’t have a ton of savings and have had to really hustle to finance their lives.

Now they have more income streams than ever and plan to add more and more as time goes on which include internet marketing clients, sale of a previous business, digital products, kindle books, Travel Magazine and teaching English online.

The cost of living in Mexico is a lot less then the U.S. and they are able to live quite well for under $2,000 per month. That’s for everything; food, rent, medical, clothes, tutors, sight seeing… EVERYTHING.

Not too bad if you ask me.

Want To Live In Mexico Too?

I asked Susan to give me her top tips to families out there who wanted to travel like they are and here is what she said.

  1. Find some way of making money remotely before you go.
  2. sell your stuff and take a leap without letting dream stealers convince you that it can’t be done

So what do you think about the Whiteheads?  Do you think you could do what they are doing with 7 kids in tow to live in Mexico?  Leave your comments below. Ask Susan and Michael questions by leaving comments below as well.


The Whiteheads are one of many families featured on this site. See also other amazing Families & Couples Who Are Making Their Dream of Long Term Travel A Reality. 

Want to get featured on this site like the WhiteHeads? Do you know of someone whom I should feature?  Please fill out this form and I’ll post the story here..

Could You Slow Travel The World For 8 Years As A single parent? Lainie Can:Interview: (Series #6)

Lainie & Miro slow travel the world
Meet Lainie, a beautiful single mom and her son Miro who set out on a mission to slow travel the world letting inspiration be their compass. They started their travels in 2009 when Miro was just 10 years old and they intend to keep on travelling for a total of 8 years.

Lainie and Miro are my 6th family to be featured in an ongoing series showcasing and featuring families and couples who are travelling full time or for extended periods of time. Lainie, was nice enough to take time away from her busy travel schedule to answer a few probing questions I had for her.

Snap Shot of Lainie and Miro

You can follow along with their travels on their site www.RaisingMiro.com where they share their adventures from the road of life.

  • Number of kids: 1
  • Educating Kids: Un-schooling and world schooling
  • Type of travel: Slow Travel
  • Where: To date; Central and South America with inspiration as their compass.
  • Length of travel: Travelling since 2009 with the goal of travelling for a total of 8 years until Miro (son is 18 ish).
  • Challenges: letting go of the consumerist lifestyle, money.
  • Finances or how they fund their life: Started out with a couple of years of funds from savings and selling their stuff but now rely on donations and advertising from their site. Lainie also founded Project worldschool– a temporary learning community where you can send your teen to gain the benefits of a group educational experience. It mainly attracts un-schoolers and world schoolers but all children are welcome.

raisingMiro.com: slow travel the world

How long have you been travelling?

We have been slow travelling through Central and South America. To date, we have explored all of Central America and have visited Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Our three year anniversary will be on July 1st, 2012. Want to celebrate with us?

How long do you anticipate travelling for.

Wow, that’s like asking me to plan for the future and that’s something I really don’t like doing. We have said we will travel until Miro turns 18 (and I subsequently will turn 50) but that’s just because the mind wants to have some criteria of gauging things. But in actuality, it’s an open ended trip and we travel as long as we are inspired to do so. Miro may not want to travel with me after 18 or he will and neither of us have no way of predicting the future. But I can say with confidence, this is our lifestyle of choice and it works for us.

How Did Your 8 Year Travel Adventure Begin?

I am a former California business owner who had worked in the advertising, marketing and branding industry for 20 years in total. In 2000, I started my own agency focusing on brand strategy, graphic design and messaging exclusively for green-eco companies, non profits and conscious business.

One of the reasons I started my own agency was to remove myself from the destructive consumerist advertising world and do work for ‘good’.
In 2008, the economy sank in California, so instead of choosing to struggle, I decided to opt for a change for both me and my son. I closed my agency, gave away (or sold in some cases)  all of our possessions and set out to travel the world with my son. That was the opportunity we needed to live the life we were dreaming about, talking about and advocating for others. The real opportunity to make personal change. Today, 3 years in, we continue to choose travelling with no plans, no agenda, and inspiration as our only guide.

Why did you decide to live this way?

We sort of fell into the long term traveller’s lifestyle. Initially, we planned on travelling for one year, but as that year anniversary mark came closer and closer, we both decided to continue our travel lifestyle as long as we were inspired to do so.

Before we set out, our perception of travelling was very different.

Before we set out, we were in a ‘defining’ mind-set and it seemed very important for us to have a plan.

Before we set out, it seemed scary and unknown.

Before we set out we defined our travels ‘doing’, instead of ‘being’.

But being on the road, our perception of life actually shifted and we have learned to live in the moment without the need for plans, that life and traveling were not scary at all, and it was ok to live at a slower pace guided by inspiration and doing the thing that bring us joy.

What were or are your biggest challenges to living the way you do.

I am not sure how to answer this. I suppose the challenges have changed as we’ve changed. In the beginning it was letting go of the consumerist lifestyle we were once accustomed to. We no longer measure our value through what we have, now we are more interested in having experiences together. We are always challenged with money as it relates to freedom, but at the end of the day, we always have enough. Other than that, living a life based on inspiration, no plans, no schedule and no stress does not really allow for many challenges.

How do you deal with your day to day challenges?

As all things, we deal with things as they come. Miro and I have learned to be really open and communicative about our feelings, wants and desires. We are experiencing the world together and we rely on each other. We also make all decisions about what we are doing and where we are going together.

How would you describe the way you travel.. Slow travel, RTW travel, Nomadic or multiple ways?

We do slow travel. Sure, you can call it RTW travel or nomadic as well. I don’t mind. But we like to call our style of traveling as visiting locals. We are visiting, but we are living in local housing versus staying in tourist accommodations. We eat local and play local and have a full immersion experience. We stay as long are we are inspired to stay, and pack up and go, when we are inspired to go.

Single mom lainie and son miro slow travel the world

Can you tell me more about being a ‘global citizen’ (something you talk about a lot on your web site).

I truly believe borders and boundaries are a thing of the past. There is only one citizenship that holds value, and that is “global citizenship”.

I come from a background of activism, which I no longer subscribe to. In the past, I strived to change the world, make a dent is issues that mattered to me, usually surround civil rights, peace and the earth’s health. This activism was a huge part of my education in compassion. However activism strives to change the world from the outside. Through traveling with my son, I have discovered that all change happens from the inside out. In other words ‘being’ the compassion can effect the world just by virtue of being in the world. By being compassion and interacting and through interacting with the adults and children we encounter, we cannot help but to effect our collective future.

Whether someone chooses to extend that further and volunteer, that’s fine. But it’s definitely not necessary. For us, we both have a lot of passion for animals and my passion for nurturing children has rubbed off on Miro through our latest volunteering experience, where we actually spent two months reading to children, getting them excited about stories and imagination and learned that Miro is a very good teacher. All of our experiences have been in one form or another of serving as we try to immerse ourselves within the communities we settle in.

We live like visiting locals but no matter how hard we try we will never be mistaken as a local. So we embrace our differences and live each day with respect and gratitude for the communities we live in.

Another way we immerse our selves is through learning as much as we can about the history and culture and local rituals, sometimes in the form of cooking, or learning about the local crafts and other times through volunteering. Most of the time though, the best strategy for immersion has been to participate within a given community by being present and connecting through smiles.

How are you educating your son while you travel?

As we started our trip, I had no idea such a thing called Unschooling existed. However I noticed Miro was talking about geography, sociology, history, economics, mythology, language and second language, literature, math, science. I sat back one night and realized how brilliant the idea of having the world teach my son was! Engage in life and children (and adults) learn!

Soon thereafter, I discovered the formal name for what we were doing as ‘unschooling’. In some circles it’s called ‘Radically Unschooling’, ‘World schooling’ and Road schooling. There are similar principals to each of those ‘disciplines’ which is based on child-led learning. This is a radical departure form homeschooling circles that teach a formal curriculum only in the home environment.

The philosophy behind unschooling is that children will learn what they need to know when they are ready and want to learn it and this flows through every other aspect of life. The whole essence of unschooling is that children, when empowered, will learn based on their individual interests.

I’ve seen games spark Miro’s interest in mythology, quantum physics, history and culture. We’ve had an open platform to discuss humanity, violence, and choices because of video games. I’ve also seen Miro’s research skills improve as the internet and Google are second nature to him. I didn’t like going to the library to research when I was his age because it was so overwhelming for me. To have the library at your fingertips is a drastic change for this generation.

I have discovered first hand that by virtue of being in this world, we can’t help but to learn. Children learn naturally and retain so much more when they are engaged and leading the process themselves. I realized this just by observing an empowered Miro blossom daily. As a result of my unschooling education, I am growing as Miro teaches me how to be a better and more effective parent in the process.

I have written about unschooling extensively on our site, and I invite you and your readers to read more here.


Lainie and Miro are my 6th family to be featured in an ongoing series showcasing and featuring families and couples who are travelling full time or for extended periods of time.

An ongoing series showcasing and featuring families and couples who are travelling full time or for extended periods of time. Some travel just for a year while others have been travelling for more than 5. These are not lottery winners or rich people. They are just ordinary people like you and me who made travel their goal and decided to work at that goal to make it happen. I hope it inspires you to do the same no matter what your goals are.

What do you think of Lainie and Miro’s story?  Leave your comments below.

five amazing couples who travel the world

5 Inspirational Families Who travel long term with their kids: Series #1

Meet five amazing couples and families who travel full time (in this ongoing series).

Not only are they making their dream of extended and long term travel a reality. they are doing it despite having kids, despite not being rich and despite all their obstacles and challenges.

1- The Dennings of Discover Share Inspire

  • Number of kids:  5 kids ( Under 10 years old)
  • Type of travel: Road Trip In a Veggie powered truck and slow travel.
  • Where: Alaska to Argentina
  • Challenges: Internet connectivity. Balancing work time, education time etc..
  • Finances: Currently use their savings but their long term plan is to grow their online business.

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The Dennings are homeless on purpose. They are living in a veggie powered truck and are travelling from Alaska to Argentina with 5 kids in tow. That’s right, FIVE KIDS, Five. 

I think you are going to be in total awe with this amazing family and what they have done so far. The Dennings don’t just want to live abroad, they want to explore the world. Since 2007, they have been determined to create a location independent lifestyle so that they can live the way they want to. Who doesn’t right but they have gone to great lengths to make this happen and in a very interesting way i might add.

They’ve simplified their lives to the bare essentials. No mortgage, no utilities, nothing except their truck and what they can put in the truck. To fund their lifestyle originally, they were living off of an income but they lost that in 2008. Now they live off of their savings and have all they need to continue to live simply – which they are more than pleased with. However their long term strategy is to grown their online business which is already generating some money. They even have a few products teaching other people how to design their own lifestyle like they have.

The Dennings are a special case and it looks like there is no end in site for their adventure. Their latest adventure is taking them across North and South American. They ‘live’ in their truck when they are traveling in between places but whenever they get a chance, they stop and rent a place so they can stay longer. The last time i spoke to them they were renting a house in Panajachel, Guatemala and were there for almost two months. Before that they spent 7 weeks in Bacalar, Mexico. Go read about them at Discover Share Inspire and you’ll never say “i can’t again”.

2- The second family is the Burns Family of Our Travel Lifestyle

  • Number of kids: 2 (Under 8 years old)
  • Type of travel: Slow travel 6 months travel and six at home base in Malaysia
  • Where: Goal is to travel the world
  • Length of travel: 1+ years
  • Challenges:
  • Finances: They started their own a web programming company which the run completely online.

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The burns family say that they are a pretty average family of four who decided they weren’t happy with their lives in suburban Australia. They were trying to juggle careers, maintain a house, pay the bills, have a social life on the weekends and most importantly, still finding time for to be with their children. They decided they needed to do something different with their lives.

They considered a bunch of options including career changes, selling the house and moving from the suburbs to a smaller town and even considered  finding work overseas. But none of that seemed like the right answer. in late 2009 the Burns decided to take ACTION and act on a long-term fantasy of long term with their two young children.

The Burns didn’t have a huge savings so they opted to use the skills they had which was web programming and set up their own business online. Exactly two year after they decided to take action and pursue their dream of long term travel, they set up a house in Penang Malaysia to use as a base to travel the world from. They aim is to spend 6 months of the year in Malaysia and 6 months of the year travelling. They also have a great site for other travelling families and couples to meet called Vagabond Family.  I joined it myself and love connecting and reading about other families. It makes me feel less fringe and more normal.

3- 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure is our third family

  • Number of kids: 1 (Under 10 Years old.)
  • Type of travel: Slow travel
  • Where: South America, Asia, and who knows where else
  • Length of time: 1+ years
  • Challenges: Single Dad with a special needs son
  • Finances: Started teaching Scuba Diving, various jobs writing, photography and medical transcription

1 dad 1 kid 1 crazy adventure   Our next family is a father son team.  Talon is  a single dad to an amazing 10 year old boy named  Tigger.  The fact that he is a single dad travelling is simply amazing but what really blew me away was what he told me about his son. You see his son has special  needs. I’ll tell you more about something amazing that happened in a bit.

Let me first tell you how their journey began. Everyone has their reasons for wanting to travel or live abroad and their story is a great one.   In May 2011, after years of working in intensive care, trauma, and with the dying, Talon left his traditional work life to embark on a round-the-world trip. Now you would think that they at least had a ton of money in the bank right? NO!!!  Talon and Tigger began their journey with $900 in the bank. Talon has been very creative in how he manages to support he and his son from doing medical transcription and writing to photography.  He even became a scuba instructor while in Honduras which has helped them bring in some descent money. Talon says their expenses usually average about $1,000 USD a month and says he could even cut it down further if he wanted but doesn’t because they really enjoy eating out.

His son Tigger has done so well that he is now off all his meds. Talon attributes the marked improvement in his sons anxiety and sensory issues to the amount of time he spends with his son and “world schooling”. His sons progression has reaffirmed and eliminated all the doubts he used to have and he is now 100 percent positive that his decision to live abroad, travel and home-school his son was the best decision he could have made for his 2 man family.

4-  International Cravings

  • Number of kids: 2 ( Under 5 years old)
  • Type of travel: Expats living in one place.
  • Where: Guangzhou China
  • Length of time: 1+ years as of 2011
  • Finances: Dad works remotely as a web designer. Mom teaches English. Created a product online, teach and run a web based business.

image Our fourth story is another family and rather than living nomadically and constantly travelling, they chose to stay in one place, China.

Their story is similar to the Burns in terms of why they chose to live abroad. Basically they were a family that was tired of waiting for the right time to travel, the right time to experience things, enough money to do it all, and tired of waiting for the pieces to fall together so they took action to make it happen.

In Feb. 2011 they moved their family of four to Guangzhou China. With two small children (1 & 3 at the time) there were many things that they were unsure of but they knew one thing for sure and that was that they wanted to go on adventures with their children and experience the world as a family. They have made some amazing friends and have had some unforgettable experiences together.

Mom says that  the ability to give her her older child the opportunity to learn Mandarin and experience a culture at such a young age has been both fun and exciting. Now both of their children speak Mandarin and their almost 5 year old is fluent.  Mom told me a funny story; Their 2 yr old son has learned potty training “split pant” style and she just thinks it’s hilarious watching him flip back and forth.

Dad of the family is a web designer and asked his U.S. company if he could work remotely. Something that before they never would have dreamed of asking. Mom of the family completed an online TESOL certificate before moving to China so that she could teach English while living abroad. While living in China they lived on $16 a day per person….much cheaper than their U.S. cost of living.   They have also spent a month in Thailand and hope to experience more of Southeast Asia while we can. Check out their story at www.internationalcravings.com

5- Man vs. Debt, The Bakers

  • Number of kids: 1
  • Type of travel: Expats living in one place.
  • Where: Australia, Thailand, New Zealand, Thailand
  • Length of time: 1 + years
  • Challenges: Had over 18,000 us dollars in consumer debt that they paid off.
  • Finance: Sold his crap on eBay and got out of debt. Now makes a living online and can literally work anywhere he wants to when he wants to.

image   Adam Baker from Man vs. Debt  is probably the most famous modern day family i know who decided to leave it behind for a few years to travel. If you haven’t heard of Man vs. Debt than let me fill you in.

In 2008 after the birth of their daughter, Adam Baker and his wife Courtenay spent a year selling all their crap and paid off over 18,000 dollars in consumer debt. Then In June 2009, they left for what was to be a year in Australia, but quickly turned into more mobile travels through Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and finally back to Indiana.

Now Adam and his wife are running several business online, have several products that help other people do the same thing they did and he’s not done yet. That’s it for now. Stay tuned as i add to this growing list of amazing and inspirational families and couples who left it all behind to travel or live abroad.

What Do You WANT?

So…. do you WISH or do you WANT to lead a location independent lifestyle? Are you willing to TAKE ACTION and are you DETERMINED to follow through? The next time you say I wish I could travel but can’t,  I can’t, I hope you think of these five families who despite having kids, despite having debt, despite not being rich or whatever reason you keep telling you that you CAN’T, they did it. Because they did they took action and had determination.

 


Part of an ongoing series showcasing and featuring families and couples who are travelling full time or for extended periods of time. Some travel just for a year while others have been travelling for more than 5. These are not lottery winners or rich people. They are just ordinary people like you and me who made travel their goal and decided to work at that goal to make it happen. I hope it inspires you to do the same no matter what your goals are.

How To Teach Your Kids To Be Adventurous: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Not all gifts come wrapped with a bow. Some gifts are less tangible. Some gifts keep on giving years after we are dead and gone.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Each and every one of us has some combination of traits, characteristics and interests that make us who we are. But how did you turn out to be the way that you are? As far as I can tell it’s from a combination of your Parents and outside influences.

PARENTS

If you’re like me, than one of the single biggest influences in shaping you, your morality and your character development can be directly attributed to your parents, your family or some other mentor in you life.

Thanks Dad: My father shaped me into who I am and who gave me the greatest gift of all. A gift that I carry with me everywhere. This gift gives me the confidence to live my life to the fullest in a way that makes me the happiest.  My dad gave me ….The gift of an “ADVENTUROUS SPIRIT”.

His name was was Jean-Louis Andre and he was born on December 21st 1929. I always miss him the most right around Christmas time and remember this precious gift that I still carry around with me.

OUTSIDE INFLUENCES

Sure there were other outside forces that helped in the process of your character development like, school, church, friends, sports or other various activities. However, these other things most likely had a fractured influence on you.  The real meat of your essence probably comes from your parents or some parental like figure or mentor.

Passing On Values: The Secret Sauce

With regards to my own children, my biggest hope for them is to live their life to the fullest with fewer regrets in life? I think the best gift I can give them is to help shape them into humans who are not afraid to live a little adventurously once in a while. But how the heck DO you teach your kids to be adventurous, take risks and try new things?

To answer this question, I had to think back to my own childhood and examine my own fathers childhood too. 

Daddy’s Girl

The easiest way for me to explain how my father instilled an adventurous spirit is to show you by telling you a little about my father and my upbringing. Like most parents, my dad taught me the typical things parents wanted or expected of their children.

  • Be practical, pragmatic and well grounded
  • Don’t lie, steal or cheat.
  • Work hard, study hard, do you chores
  • Treat others the way you want to be treated and try to help others as much as you can
  • yada yada yada.

MODELING: Be a role model

What amazes me is that he was able to instill in me my adventurous sprit without using words. He never said  “Annie, I want you to travel and see the world”. Or “ You need to take more risks and try new things even if it’s scary”. In fact, he never said anything even remotely like that AT ALL.Yet, I always tried to be a little different as a girl. My first scary thing I did when I turned 18 was to pack a bag and move to Japan for 3 years.

I am convinced that it was my fathers actions and the way he lived his life outside of conventional wisdom that influenced me and shaped my adventurous side. NOT HIS WORDS

He didn’t know it, but by simply living his values and life the way he did, he was MODELING.  NO, not fashion modeling. Modeling is a phenomenon known in  social sciences where your actions are a bigger influence on someone than your actual words. For instance, there have been studies done that show that children are over 80% more likely to buckle up if their parents buckle up too. Yes, an actual study was done on this.

I’ve seen this same powerful influence of modeling happen with  my own kids.

When I was learning how to bake, that’s all I did for a month. I baked cookies from scratch day and night until I got the knack for it. Now my middle son and my 4 year old daughter love to bake too. They are really into the whole process of baking it’s kind of cute. My son Andre even thinks he might want to be a pastry chef one day. A mom can only dream.

When I taught myself to sew and started making cute little handmade sleeping masks for my business, my son took up crocheting. Yes, boys crochet too ok. Don’t hate! All my kids have a kind of DIY, tinkering nature about them. Which I think is FANTASTIC!

sleeping_panda eye mask

My own father influenced my adventurous side by living his life as a daring adventure. It had such an impact on me that it’s something that I have striven to do also for most of my life.

udon Thani Thailand

FOR EXAMPLE

My DAD: He was a world traveler who lived abroad in Thailand for over a decade back in the 60’s and 70’s. This was before it was considered cool and trendy and before the word lifestyle design became popular.

ME: From the age of 10, I already yearned to travel and see the world.

  • In high school I begged my father to send me to Montreal to live with my aunt so I could attend a French high school. Which I did. it was the next best thing to going to Europe for me.
  • At 18, I left to live in Japan where I worked doing odd jobs so that I could travel through Asia and Europe for 3 1/2 years.
  • Now after four years of college, over a decade in the corporate world, 3 kids and 2 marriages, my husband and I are living in France on a family sabbatical of sorts with our three kids.

Rewind: Dying the way you lived

It wasn’t just his travelling that influenced me. It was the things that he accomplished, the way he lived and even the way he died.

Death: Years ago, when I was 21, my dad tried to be a good Samaritan by stopping the getaway car of a robber who had just robbed our local grocery store.  He was struck and thrown 30 feet in the air and landed on his head. He died 3 days later from massive head trauma leaving me and  my then 14 year old brother alone in the world.

Life: he lived a life that he wanted to live and as a result, he was a bit unconventional in his ways.

Not only was he a world traveler, he also had a pilots license, owned a single engine plane, lived abroad in several Asian countries totalling almost 15 years and spoke 4 languages. French, English, mandarin Chinese and Thai. I have photos of my dad climbing coconut trees, holding snakes and doing things that most people from Canada or the U.S. just didn’t do in the 60’s and 70’s.

Being Adventurous in spite of…But how DID he get to be so adventurous?

As far as I can tell, my dad lived adventurously in spite of his parents. Maybe it was because of the times he grew up in that lead him to be more adventurous. At this point I am only speculating.

He grew up DIRT POOR in Quebec Canada. When I say poor I mean like depression era poor, where they only had one frying pan in their house and didn’t always have enough to eat.  At 15, he left his home to go live and work on his grandparents farm to earn some money. I think that one act alone,  of leaving his home as a teenager might have been the catalyst that propelled him and gave him the courage to travel even further and live his life more adventurously.

Around the age of 22, he left Canada and immigrated to Boston Massachusetts in the U.S. where he learned to speak English.  I still remember his funny Bostonian and French accent that was so uniquely him.

Eventually he joined the military to get an education in engineering. Somehow he ended up a pilot and working in Thailand for the airforce in a city called Udon Thani.  He lived in Thailand for over a decade and married my mother who was Thai. I was born a few years later in the 70’s and lived in Thailand until I was almost five years old. Ironically, my first language is Thai, but I no longer speak it. (Use it or lose it people)

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Fun fact: About my  place of birth:

If you are not familiar with Air America or Udon Thani Thailand, there was a movie loosely based off of this operation called…Surprise “Air America” starring Mel Gibson and Robert Downey JR. You can read more about the Air America operation here on Wikipedia.

Living Like An American

We left Thailand and settled in California after my mother passed away in a bus accident. Dad tried to live a conventional life. Perhaps more for my sake than his. Or maybe it was because he had had his fill of travel and adventure. I’ll never know.

Trying to blend in

Despite his best efforts to blend in, dad couldn’t resist the pull of his adventurous spirit because although we lived in the suburbs and he had a great job as an engineer working at National Semiconductor, we didn’t always live, act or look like typical Americans.

For starters, dad remarried a woman who he met in Taiwan. (Dad went to Taiwan often to train his counterparts.)  Her name was Shew Chang and she raised me until she passed away when I was 14. (Yes, there were a lot of deaths in our family.  It made for a very international and eclectic household: Try as they might, we didn’t always fit the classic image of the American household.

My Unconventional Childhood Home

Growing up all I ever wanted to be was normal. I thought we were anything but normal and I was embarrassed of my family because of our differences.  image

  • Birthday parties were horrible as far as I was concerned.  I hated the fact that my dad didn’t have hot dogs and hamburgers and cake at my birthday party like Vicki V. did at her party. Nooo, we had to have Pad Thai and garlic with black bean crab with a mung bean desert. Not exactly a child friendly meal in our neighborhood.
  • Instead of camping in the back yard or at camp sites, we spent summers in Thailand or Taiwan.
  • On one of our summer trips abroad,  Instead of a dog, I got a pet monkey. image
  • Exotic for us wasn’t Mexican food, but rather fish eyeball soup, chicken feet and turtle soup. “YES I know, not good”.
  • Instead of Billy Joel,  Bruce Springsteen and Pop music, I loved Asian Pop and Euro trash.
  • Instead of baking cookies, we made Asian dumplings and had Asian dumpling making parties.

I could go on and on.

Appreciating the difference

Needless to say, I wasn’t very popular in school. I didn’t really fit in with the Asians and I didn’t fit in with all the white kids. (that’s the major down fall of being a Hapa as the Hawaiians call it.) But I can appreciate it now for what it is.

I’m glad that I didn’t have a typical upbringing. Growing up different than others around me was in a way, my own little adventure and it gave me the confidence I have now to make life choices that might go against the social grains of our society.

What Can The Average Person Do With Their Kids

Which brings me back to my original question of “how the heck to teach kids to be more adventurous”.

Well, you don’t’ have to do anything extreme like travelling and spending summers in Thailand, Taiwan or move to France: unless that’s what tickles your fancy. You can do small little things everyday to instill a sense of adventure simply by doing new things or exploring the unknown. You might already be doing this without even knowing it Just like my parents did for me.

  • Introduce foreign foods to your kids. I’ve been feeding my kids cuisine from all over the world since they were born. As a result, I don’t have very many problems with my kids eating habits. They eat just about anything including Kimchee the stinky Korean cabbage.
  • Sign them up for a sport. My kids didn’t do much basketball or football. We lived by the San Francisco bay so they took part in a youth sailing program. Sports are a great way to instill a sense of outdoor sports adventure.
  • Learn a language together for the fun of it. Japanese, Arabic or ???? I was lucky, I already spoke French so I’ve been teaching it to my kids since they were young. My youngest daughter is fluent in French and probably speaks better French than English. Had I not spoken French, I might have learned a second language alongside with her. You can do a self paced lesson with software programs like Rosetta Stone.
  • Give your kids music lesson: Instead of piano, what about an accordion?  Ok, that’s my dream. That and the musical saw. Don’t ask.

These are just a few of the many things you can do to grow your kids adventurous spirit.

Not only will it be fun and interesting. It will give them the confidence to be more intentional with their life choices rather than letting life slip by.

I may also give them the confidence and guts to be adventurous and live outside of the conventional bell curve so that they can create a life based on who they are, not what society tells them they have to do or how they are supposed to live.

BEST GIFT EVER

My Family Photo Annie AndrePassing on my adventurous spirit to my kids is the best gift I can give them because I know they will remember it long after I’m long gone just I like I remember my own father.

Thanks Dad. I wish you were here today to see me and your 3 grandkids. I love you!

Merry Christmas Everyone From Our Family To Yours

French: Joyeux Noel, Chinese: (Mandarin) Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan, Thai: Sawadee Pee Mai, Japanese: Shinnen omedeto

 

Video showing what we travelled with for one year before moving to France

Back when we were transitioning from our comfy suburban lifestyle and before we decided to move to France, we had no permanent home for one year. Here is a look at how much stuff we travelled with.  

RECAP: HOW MUCH STUFF DO WE TRAVEL WITH?

In case you are new hear and don’t know our story, here’s a recap of our situation. It’s very, very, very condensed…..

After losing our jobs in California and being unemployed for a couple of years, we left our home in search of jobs on the east coast in August of 2010. We ended up selling a bunch of our stuff and putting the rest in storage until we could find jobs on the east coast. We set up camp with my aunt in Montreal for most a year looking for jobs.

We occasionally made the journey to see my husband sister in Maryland, about a 14 hour drive.  In this video I show you what our family of 5 travels with.

To get you up to speed: here are a few should read.

Why we decided to leave California

Breaking The Mould: How We Decided To Move To France: 

Travel Dream Come True: We Moved To The South Of France For A 1 Year Family Sabbatical

Selfish, Courageous or Stupid? Use Your Savings And Move To France For A Year With Your Family!

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