In just a few hours my two children and I will embark on a trip around the world. In the next seven weeks we will visit 8 countries (9 if you count Vatican City, as my son would tell you). As an intrepid traveler this is another in a long list of firsts for me. I’m thrilled to have come this far. All that’s left now is the doing.
The seed was planted about a year ago when our family decided to give homeschooling a try. There were many reasons (another blog post altogether), but suffice to say I knew that we could meet all our educational requirements and travel, giving us a chance to learn what we could not in a classroom or from books or the Internet. Only I didn’t want to just travel. I wanted to circumnavigate the globe! The dream part.
Having been inspired by other families who had done roadschool, as it’s called, I believed that I was just savvy enough (some would say ‘crazy’) to make this very ambitious trip happen. As an experienced Global Village Team Leader for Habitat for Humanity with a true passion for connecting across cultures, I felt this was the right next level of challenge for me. Officially, my mind was made up. I was going to do what I had dreamed of and talked about for the last year. Now what? The reality part.
About six months before I wanted to depart I began to plan. How much would it cost? How much time would we have? Where should we go? How in the world does one plan such a trip? I set about coming up with a budget, a timeline and a route. According to my research this was the logical place to start. I dove in with my usual vigor, born of wanderlust. I loved the plotting and planning and for the most part I enjoyed figuring it all out.
We would begin our journey in May as our school year was winding down after our homeschool co-op had finished. Living on the east coast of the USA I chose to travel west, because the weather in the Southern Hemisphere would be growing colder and I didn’t want to have to pack winter gear. I also wanted my husband to join us for the end of the trip and it would be easier for him to fly east. Fortunately, we have friends in both New Zealand and Australia and I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to spend time with them. We’d studied ancient history in homeschool so I thought it would be pretty awesome to see some of the things we’d read about. The Great Pyramids? Why not? The Colosseum? You bet!
I decided to purchase our around the world airfare from a travel agent. I couldn’t find flights cheaper on my own and the benefit to having a conversation with an actual person with loads of travel experience and access to flight data was an invaluable resource for me. I remember the day I bought the airfare. I thought I’d be relieved. Unexpectedly, a feeling of intense anxiety swept over me. Where in the world are we going to stay? How will we fill our days? That night I couldn’t sleep, constantly turning over in my mind all the things I’d left to figure out. [Stay tuned for the “My Tools” to learn how I did it.]
And so, for the next five weeks, it will be just me and the kids before dad joins the brigade. We are all very excited to see what God has in store for us. While the tickets, the accommodations and the tours are booked, we have yet to make more memories with old friends, follow new friends on Instagram, help strangers and be helped by strangers, give and receive gifts both tangible and those we can only feel. To see, hear, taste, smell, feel – to live – what we do not yet know, this is the journey ahead.
I’d say that qualifies as education.