World Travel as a Kid’s Classroom: Interview with 1Dad1Kid

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1Dad1Kid

1Dad1Kid (posted with permission)

This father and 9-year old son team are leaving for a round-the-world trip in a week on May 4th.

Their adventure will start in Cozumel, Mexico and will lead them through Central America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the South Pacific.

Follow 1Dad1Kid’s adventure on:
Twitter: @1Dad1Kid
Their blog: 1dad1kid.com
Facebook: facebook.com/1Dad1KidFB


What inspired you to plan this time off?

I have always wanted to raise my children in a foreign country so they could be exposed to other cultures and be more of a global citizen.

I also love to explore new places and thoroughly enjoy having the ability to absorb another culture. My son, aka Tigger, often says “You’re addicted to exploring!” Guilty as charged.

Through the years I have worked in different capacities in the trauma, intensive care, and hospice fields of health care. I have come to know so many people who had all kinds of aspirations that were left unfulfilled.

For instance, right now I have a patient whose lifelong dream was to take an Alaskan cruise. This year she was going to retire and do just that. Until she got hit with a massive stroke. Now she spends her days in a bed in a nursing home while she is slowly dying. She never took her cruise. This is what I want to avoid.

I have dreams and I have decided to live them now instead of hoping for some distant day that may never come.

If I’m conscious near my death, instead of sharing all the things I never got to do, I’d rather relive the memories of all the amazing adventures I did while I still could. I also want to get more living into my life, and I want my son to see that work is something you do to enable you to fully live, not to simply buy more things.

 

How much are you budgetting for this trip?

To be honest I haven’t saved much. We did tighten our belts a bit. When eating out would cost the same as living in SE Asia for 3 days, it’s not hard to skip some restaurant meals and eat at home.

When I wanted to buy something, I’d ask myself “Will you take it on your trip?” Usually the answer was no, so the money went into savings instead. Selling all of our stuff has helped earn extra money, too. As our trip is indefinite, we can’t really budget.

I’m planning on living on $1000 USD or less a month.

This is very doable in many of the countries we’ll be visiting. In more expensive countries we simply won’t be able to stay there as long, or I’ll need to put in more hours on my job to increase our income.

 

Where are you going on this trip?

We begin our trip on May 4th.

Our initial stop is Cozumel, Mexico. We are doing something I typically don’t do and that’s basically not planning beyond this point. The current idea is we will do slow travel (stay 1-3 months in most locations, occasionally longer or shorter) through Central & South America. I would like to visit Easter Island as well.

Then we’ll go to Antartica before heading to Europe and beginning on that side of the world. We will explore some countries there before heading to the Middle East.

We will most likely spend about a year in Africa before moving on to Asia, with some side trips/stays built in to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuata.

Then we’ll either keep exploring, return to favorite places to spend more time, or decide we found a place that feels like home and use that as our base for more continued world adventures.

My son is 9, so we should have lots of time to globetrot before he decides he needs his own adventures without his dad.

 

What do family, teachers think about taking 9-year-old Tigger on this trip?

Amazingly, everyone has been super supportive.

My friends are used to me doing adventurous, unusual things, so I think for them it wasn’t a shock. I expected a LOT of kickback from Tigger’s teachers and got NONE.

Even his teachers said “He’ll learn more doing travel with you than he will from sitting behind a desk.” Another teacher felt travel was “the best education a person can get.” Mostly people express jealousy and disbelief in their own abilities to do a similar trip.

The most interesting responses occur when I mention we’re getting rid of all our stuff. So many people can’t imagine parting with their “things.”

 

Will you be ‘homeschooling’ while you travel?

I like the principle of unschooling.

That is more child-directed education rather than “you need to learn this because the government says you do.”

He has a netbook so that he can access the Internet to study & research, and we’ll also use some online curriculum for the areas I don’t feel as strong in, or for things that interest him that he would benefit more from by doing his own study.

He is interested in marine life. We’ll be living on plenty of islands and near the ocean. He plans on getting his scuba certification on his 10th birthday, so he will have those activities to help his study.

Very long bus rides will help his desire to read more, I’m sure. I already use everyday teaching moments to teach him new things, and he learns them much more quickly since they’re practical situations rather than reading a problem on a piece of paper and doing it. For instance when we went to the Grand Canyon, he learned a lot more about earth sciences from 3-minute lessons than he gets from projects at school.

 

Your top 5 tips for families who want to travel with kids?

  • 1. DO IT. Don’t let obstacles and excuses get in your path. You CAN do this.
  • 2. Slow travel. Try to stay in 1 city for at least a few weeks to a month, more if you love it. You and your children will gain far more from the experience, and it’s easier on kids when the pace isn’t as frenetic.
  • 3. Involve your kids in the trip planning/brainstorming. They will learn logistics, currency exchange, budgeting, geography, transportation modes, and in the process you will learn invaluable lessons from them. Seeing through a child’s eyes can blow your mind sometimes. In fact, our first stop of Cozumel was at Tigger’s request. I’ve spent a lot of time in Mexico so hadn’t planned on a stop there. Instead I wanted to start with Guatemala, but this adventure belongs to both of us, so we act as a team as much as possible.
  • 4. Start introducing your kids to different foods now. Much to my son’s horror, mac & cheese is not considered a food in many places of the world. It can be fun and can be a lesson in itself if you add some cultural info in there, among other things, when you eat the meal.
  • 5. Be more flexible than you’ve ever been in your entire life. I’ve had incredible experiences because something “went wrong” during a trip, I took the wrong turn and just kept walking, or because I took extra time sipping my mango-banana shake. When you leave yourself open to experiences above schedules, itineraries, and plans, you end up with so much more.

>> Would you consider taking your kids on a round-the-world trip? If you did a lot of travelling when you were young, did that positively affect your life later on? Leave your comment below!

 

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553620673 Peggy Patterson

    I LOVE that you are doing this with your son – he will definitely learn more traveling with you -what a lucky guy (both of you) Taking my daughter to the Grand Canyon for Spring Break, any cool tips you want to give me? I’m super excited about it!

    • 1dad1kid

      Hi Peggy. Thanks so much! I sent you a message in response to the one you left on our FB page. So glad you’ve decided to do this!

  • http://www.rebeccaandtheworld.com Rebecca

    Can’t begin to contain my jealousy – what an amazing way to grow up, seeing the world!

  • Lois

    I love this new concept. To educate your child by traveling. I can already see myself doing this in the future. I’ll be sure to check out their site as they just started their trip.

  • http://locationvillabegur.locationvillaespagne.com/findAllVillas.php?filter=Begur&lang=fr location begur

    Really this interview deserves our hats off…..Also best of luck to both of you guys,the father ans the kid too for their world trip…Hoping that after the trip we can have a lot of new things to learn from your experience…

  • http://travel-junkies.com Jason

    Great interview! We feel the same way about the reasons on going. I look forward to reading about their journey as we prepare for ours.

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Jason,

      Thanks for stopping by. I just visited your blog and saw your family’s plans for an RTW next year – I’m following you on Twitter, so I’m looking forward to your updates!

      Best wishes,
      – Lily

  • http://www.so-many-places.com Kim

    Great interview. Brian and I don’t have kids but assuming our upcoming RTW goes well we want to do it again when we do have them.

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Kim,

      I don’t have any kids either, but travel I agree that travel would be a great learning medium for kids, whether it’s a long round-the-world or shorter trips. Even as an adult I’ve gained so much perspective from travel.

      – Lily

  • Anonymous

    I think this is awesome. So many times you hear people use kids as an excuse not to world travel, so it is refreshing to see the education of a young man as the purpose for the adventure.

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Ted,

      I think it’s awesome too. I know what you mean about “people use kids as an excuse not to world travel”, except not just kids, but also mortgages, work and many other seemingly logical reasons. Anything can be an excuse if you let it!

      – Lily

  • http://www.budgettraveladventures.com/ Jeremy B

    Great interview! Before I even clicked on the post, I knew who this was about! I admire his willingness to take his son on a trip like this. This will be an education he could never get in a classroom. And it will have a much bigger impact on his life as well!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Jeremy,

      Agreed, I really admire their courage (both father & son’s!) to take this adventure. The world is a huge classroom for young and old :)

      – Lily

  • http://www.bluegreenresortsblog.com Bluegreen Kirk

    The one thing that really hits home is living for now and instead of some distant hope. i think I have live that way for too much.

    • Anonymous

      I have spent too much time with too many people full of regrets. So important to live now. I love a bumper sticker I saw once: I believe in life before death.

  • http://alotofwind.com Robin

    Powerful interview!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Thank Robin!

  • Nancy @Familyonbikes

    Great interview with one of my favorite families!

    We are a family of four who just returned home to the USA after 3 years bicycling from Alaska to Argentina. Our boys learned more in those three years on the road than they ever could have in three years in even the best classroom – it was a phenomenal experience.

    So – in answer to your question ‘Would you travel RTW with your children?’ A resounding YES! Life is too short not to.

    Nancy
    familyonbikes.org