Please introduce yourselves and your family and where you are from?
Hi, we are Shane, Chris T and Anna (10) from the Big Island of Hawaii.
Are you worldschoolers traveling full time or taking many long trips?
We slow-traveled around the world full-time from 2016 – 2018, when our daughter was 7-9 years old. For the past 10 months, we’ve been back “home” on the Big Island. Last week, we hit the road again. After spending a few days on Maui and Oahu, this evening we’re going to take a red eye flight to Los Angeles.
Tomorrow morning, after we land in LA, we’re planning to buy a car we arranged online and drive it around the US for the summer, before ending up in Pennsylvania in late August, where our daughter is going to attend a small, alternative school we learned about from another member of the the FB Worldschoolers group for the 2019-2020 school year.
Can you share with us a few of your most memorable trips and destinations ?
Our daughter tells everyone who asks that her favorite trip, so far, was the two months we spent in Japan, back in late 2016, early 2017. A Japanese friend helped us find a small apartment in a small town in western Japan and arranged for our daughter, then 7 years old, to attend second grade at the local elementary school where he worked as a teacher.
Our daughter’s classroom teacher spoke English fairly well, and our friend was in the classroom right next door, so, between the two of them, they could usually figure out what our daughter was talking about. At the time, our daughter seemed pretty stressed about always being the center of attention and constantly having to interact with students and teachers, most of whom couldn’t speak much, if any, English.
In hindsight, apparently, Japan was the highlight of her trip. When pressed to explain what she liked most about Japan, our daughter always says it was the “snow,” which she hadn’t seen much of growing up in Hawaii.
The big question, how do you prepare and sustain yourselves financially to be able to live this lifestyle ?
Before we left to go traveling, we sold everything we owned: house, car, truck, tools, furniture, etc, and just lived off savings while traveling, usually spending US$2K-US$4K/month.
What are the best tips you can give other families wanting to do the same?
Don’t stress too much about the details. Just do it. Everyone’s different but, for us, getting rid of 20+ years worth of accumulated stuff felt great! Although we loved building and owning our own homes, neither of us has any strong inclination to ever do it again.
We’ve moved on from that part of our lives. Although I love helping friends, family, and random people we meet traveling with their properties, I’m grateful to no longer have the responsibility and stress that comes with being the owner of real property.
Airbnb is our friend! It feels great to be able to rent a nice place in a new city for a month, or so, and then move on. Each place we stay, there are some things we really like about the physical apartment or house, the neighborhood, etc, but there are always some things we don’t care for that much. It’s great to be able to just move to a new place every month or so.
When things about an apartment, house or neighborhood bother us, we can always console ourselves with the thought that we’ll only have to put up with whatever it is that’s bothering us for another 25 days, or whatever.
How different is your life now that you are traveling and what are the most positive results you can share with us?
We actually just spent the past 10 months back at “home” on the Big Island, where we were caretakers of a beautiful 4 acre property <1km from where we lived for 20 years. It was great to see old friends, eat at favorite restaurants, go to beaches we love, etc. Everything and everyone felt really familiar, which was nice.
Our daughter enjoyed reconnecting with some of her old classmates from kindergarten and 1st grade. It was interesting, though. Some of our daughter’s best friends, who she talked about and always said she missed the most while we were on the road full time, had already moved on to other schools or just, somehow, drifted away.
New kids in her 4th grade class had replaced them, though. Our daughter ended up being best friends this school year with one of the new girls, who she hadn’t even known before we came back in 2018. I think that experience taught our daughter a good lesson. Moving forward, she seems a lot more confident that wherever we go, whatever we do, she’ll be able to make new friends and a new life.
For our daughter, experiencing landing in a new country every month or so for a couple of years, where we didn’t speak the language, weren’t familiar with the culture, didn’t know anyone, and seeing that, somehow, we managed to figure things out, has taught our daughter to be more resilient, I think.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers to inspire them to take the leap?
Not sure I really want to inspire anybody who doesn’t already want to, to travel full time. Most people probably aren’t cut out for it. They’re either too scared, too set in their ways, or just too normal to leave everything and everyone they know behind and just hit the road.
For anyone who wants to do it, though, my advice would be to save up some money, and just go for it.
Do you have any blogs, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or other social media we can follow you on?