I, Robin, am an educator and research scientist by training. I am passionate about bridging the gap between research and practice to improve the lives of children and families. I spent years coaching youth and young adults on how to achieve their dreams. A lot of things lined up and we knew the time was right for me to “walk my talk.”
We were constantly asked, “Why are you doing this?”
So, we wrote a blog post about it here
We left Seattle in August 2017 to begin our world schooling adventure. My son is 14 and although apprehensive at first, he is starting to enjoy traveling the more we experience. My husband is documenting our journey using his extraordinary photography skills. Our two dogs are having the time of their lives!
This year, I am focusing on blogging, crafting my first young adult novel, and creating a career as a non-academic writer. A main goal is to translate my academic articles into content that reaches a wider audience – particularly parents, teachers, and social workers! I also just started providing 1:1 parenting support (available via video-chat to parents/caregivers anywhere in the world).
Where abouts in the world are you right now?
We are currently traveling around Mexico. We plan to be here at least another month or so. The beautiful thing is that we don’t actually have to decide. We plan on heading to Europe next because I haven’t been to many countries there; but we are also feeling a pull towards experiencing Belize, Costa Rica, or perhaps Guatemala before heading across the ocean.
What do you love about this place?
There is so much to love about Mexico. I love how friendly everyone is and that even the youth look me in the eye and say “Buenas Tardes” as we pass each other on the street. It warms my heart to see multigenerational families spending time together in the parks, at dinner, and during festivals (which are plentiful). Too many people in the US are suffering from a deep lack of connection. Family and spending time with those you love is a priority for many here!
The food is also amazing. There is music constantly. I also love the crowing roosters and braying burros. Mexico is also the most colorful place I have ever been; many of the houses are painted in bold colors. There is art everywhere. The longer we stay, the harder it is to leave.
Anything you don’t like?!
I will admit, I do not like the scorpions or lack of hot showers in many places we’ve stayed.
What are the three most challenging aspects that stand out?
The biggest challenge for us has been finding consistent internet. As I try to build an online business, internet is critical. Our US phone company said we were “roaming” too long and even though we upgraded to the International plan they suspended our service (Yes, it was T-mobile).
The second biggest challenge is travelling with the dogs. It limits our choices when it comes to places to stay and ends up costing more. We also travel by van because they take up a whole row, so extra room was needed. However, they are family so leaving them behind is not an option.
The last challenge is making sure that my son has his social needs met. Although my husband and I are fine just hanging together we realize that my son might get tired of us and like to see some people his own age from time to time.
Tell us more about the food!
Farmers markets and roadside stands make getting fresh fruit and veggies incredible easy. Since the produce isn’t trucked thousands of miles it tastes garden fresh. The sweetness of the berries, mangos, pineapples, and guayabas are unbelievable. I love getting to know the people that grow our food and coffee! We have also found many “favorite spots” where dining is affordable and the food is exceptional. It is also fun learning about the regional differences in the way dishes are prepared.
Any funny, interesting or daunting experiences along the way?
Some of the most daunting experiences have been when trying to maneuver our van through the extremely narrow streets in small villages. One time the road ended abruptly and the street was so narrow the only option was to back up!! And there was that one time that we made a wrong turn and ended up IN a parade with no way out have a look!
Can you give us 3 tips for making it work?
Communicate! Talk to each other. Do not assume. Traveling can be stressful and difficult! Make sure you are checking in with each other and that everyone has an opportunity to express what they need for the journey to be successful.
Everyone gets a turn! It is impossible to find places and things to do that everyone in the family will love all the time. We take turns picking out activities, places to stay, and where to visit. Everyone agrees that even if they don’t love it… when it is not your turn, it is not about you. Don’t steal the joy from the family member that is digging it!
Don’t set huge expectations. If you remain open to whatever you experience instead of having your heart set on things being a certain way, you are much less likely to be disappointed. And more likely to be pleasantly surprised.
Do you have any financial tips for travelling?
You can live with far less than you think you can. Get out of your comfort zone, don’t waste money on things designed for tourists (resorts, swanky restaurants, overpriced tours). Eat where the locals do. Stay places that have a kitchen. We generally eat breakfast and dinner at “home” and go out for lunch. Travel with small bags or backpacks; then you won’t be tempted to buy unnecessary things because you have no place to store them! Make sure you have a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.
What do you miss, if anything?
I miss the rain, gray skies, and snow covered mountains of the Pacific Northwest. I also miss drinking water straight from the sink. And I miss my daughter, who launched into adulthood and is following her own journey in the UK now.
What advice would you give to other Mamas planning on travelling with their family?
(Note: I removed tribe from this question. I have tribal ancestry and many friends are current tribal members - the connotation means something very different to me. There was a time when our ancestors truly travelled with their tribes, then there was genocide, relocation, and reservations…)
Follow your heart and your dreams. Know that some days will be hard, just like when you aren’t traveling. Sometimes you will all be tired and sometimes it will be awesome. It is not a lifestyle for everyone, but for some of us it is what we need. Both are ok. Let your children lead sometimes and watch the world unfold through their eyes. Children can be our best teachers.
Where can we find you?!
LetGo: Grab Opportunity