Feb
27

Explorations in Rainy England

The day we landed in England was a complete write-off. Only our youngest managed to sleep on the plane (for less than an hour) the rest of us had not a wink. Our captain had warned us that we would have a very bumpy landing. Winds were over 50 mph for the last half hour of our plane ride which jostled our plane around quite a bit. Being very prone to motion sickness, I did my best to hold down my cookies.

When we finally landed we could not get off the plane.  The crew was having technical difficulties getting the bridge to attach to the plane and we were literally stuck on the plane for about 30 minutes! Our Uncle, who was picking us up at the airport, was beginning to worry that our family had been detained. But passport control was a breeze, we had a very friendly and chatty agent welcome us to England. Then it was straight to our Uncle’s and straight to bed for all of us.

Jet lag only took us two days to get over. That is the fastest we have ever gotten over jet lag. It helps that England is only 8 hours ahead of our time zone. When we go to Thailand the difference is 13 hours which seems to take longer to get used to. The first morning we woke up at 4 am for the day and then PUSHED ourselves to stay up until 8 pm. Then we slept from 8 pm until 10 am and felt right as rain!

We have been busy exploring the city we are staying in, Portsmouth (pronounced Portsmith). It has a huge naval base so many of the activities are related to war. We visited “The Hard” which had some amazing museums and restored ships including the Victory which was the ship that Admiral Nelson died on in the Battle of Trafalgar and the Mary Rose which was a Henry VIII ship found at the bottom of the ocean a few decades ago. It had been underwater for over 400 years and is now on display along with many of the artifacts found with it. We are certainly getting a good dose of British history!

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The Mary Rose

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The Victory

victory1 victory2Our very first castle was Windsor Castle and the queen was in residence at the time of our visit. I like to picture her sipping her cuppa tea, looking out her window and wishing she could join us as our family skipped around the grounds. Unfortunatly, no photography is allowed inside the Castle but just imagine total opulence, gold inlays, jewels, plush carpet, hundreds of paintings and wall hangings, and, my children’s favorite, ornately detailed swords, guns, and armor on display.

Unfortunatly, no photography is allowed inside the Castle but just imagine total opulence, gold inlays, jewels, plush carpet, hundreds of paintings and wall hangings, and, my children’s favorite, ornately detailed swords, guns, and armor on display.

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Another highlight has been going to pubs…with children! Our kids were pretty stoked to be allowed to sit at the bar while they sipped their orange juice. Ha!

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Observations:

  • Even the new buildings look old to us. Everything is built with an old English style. Lots of bricks, details, and steep pitches.
  • The hot and cold faucets on every sink we have seen have been separate. This means that if you want to wash your hands in warm water you need to fill the sink first from both taps.
  • Everything is small. The cars are small. The roads are skinny. The houses are packed together (in the city).
  • The countryside is a patchwork of fields bordered by hedges just like you see in the movies. Quite pretty.

Feb
21

The Night Before Take Off

Tomorrow we fly to London.

I wonder if it ever gets easier. This traveling the world thing. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times we set off on another great adventure, I am always completely stressed out with high anxiety before each and every trip. On our very first international trip with children, I had an anxiety attack on our first night in Hong Kong. Ugh. Traveling can be hard.

There always seems to be those last minute unexpected circumstance.  We have had ear infections, sprained ankles, the flu, and strange rashes 24 hours before departures. This time around one of our sons woke up with a mild grade fever and a sore throat. Here is to hoping he gets better by tomorrow and the rest of us fail to catch the evil germs.

We are now tucked away in our hotel room for the night, eating our reality of staying on budget for three months in Europe. What does that mean? It means a pre-hotel stop at a grocery store to purchase frozen dinners and an easy breakfast. Spending $60 on a meal out is not in our forecast if we can help it. On the up side, our frozen curries weren’t all too bad and the kids have had their first introduction to Pizza Pops. Errrr. Maybe that is not a good thing.

Our frozen meals lacked cutlery. But don’t worry, we got creative. An empty creamer container doubled as a spoon and the coffee stir sticks became our chopsticks. And I will tell you there is a sensual pleasure to eating a microwaved meal out of a plastic container with your fingers.

When I tell people we are spending the next three months in Europe I feel silly. It’s like I need to explain that we aren’t actually rich but have really low expenses at home, have the ability to work online to make money while we travel, and we are careful on how we spend our money on the road. Like eating microwaved dinners in our hotel rooms using the coffee stir sticks as utensils. Glamourous.

stir stick

Feb
10

Creating Community At The Family Adventure Summit

If you have been following me on Facebook you may have seen that I have been involved in a really amazing project, the Family Adventure Summit. I am SO excited to be on the organizing team to bring this opportunity to traveling families and those who aspire to travel.

What is the Family Adventure Summit?

If you have not heard about it yet, the 2017 Family Adventure Summit is a three-day event being held in Penticton, BC, Canada from September 1st to 3rd, 2017. It is a gathering for families who have already created a traveling lifestyle as well as for those who are just starting out on their journies. It is an opportunity for families to connect in person around the topics of long-term travel and location independence, remote income, education, community, life fulfillment, and more. We’ll be discussing tips and tools, the ups, the downs, and everything in between.

There will be inspiring speakers,  hands-on workshops, informal discussions, and the incredible opportunity to meet like-minded families, all in a beautiful location with fun games and activities for all ages. Read the rest of this entry »

Jan
16

Travel Planning and Our Europe Itinerary

Travel planning. Maybe it sounds fun and exciting but in reality, it is a lot of work and quite a bit of stress.

Since we purchased our tickets to London we have been spending hours on the computer every day researching our options and making plans. When we started planning, the only thing we knew for sure was that our first stop was London (this was the cheapest place we could get flights to). We have family a few hours outside of London so we knew we would spend some time with them before heading to the mainland. Our only other plan was that we wanted to spend one month in Budapest. Mike’s father was born in Hungary and we have always wanted to go there. (And how cool is it to show our boys where their Grandpa was born!)

Our research began as a marathon. Where would we go? What would we do? How could we stay on budget?

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Jan
08

How We Fund Long-Term Family Travel

Money, money, money, money!

Of course, this is a topic that EVERYONE is curious about! I think one of the biggest hurdles to making travel part of your lifestyle is figuring out just how to fund it! I have actually been doing some research in this area for a project I am helping with and there is not a lot of information out there on exactly how all these traveling families earn their living. Big thanks for those of you who do share so you can inspire others!

A bit about our family travel lifestyle….

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When the kids were younger and we all could fit on the same scooter!

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Jan
03

Next Stop, Europe!

The inspiration started when I was playing around on Google Flights. Google Flights has this awesome feature where you can put in your departure city and leave your destination blank. You can then search the globe to find cheap flights! I was looking for travel inspiration when I came across a smoking deal for a Vancouver to London flight in March.

My traveling wheels started to turn. Europe has always been a destination that we have wanted to travel to, but we never entertained the thought too seriously as it is such an expensive part of the world. The cheap flights were for three months. Would it be possible?

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Dec
31

Setting an Intention for 2017

Each year at New Years I  like to look back at the past year to see what I have accomplished and what I have struggled with. I then look forward to the New Year, full of possibilities, and decide what dreams I would like to manifest for myself and my family. Each year I choose a word that encompasses an intention moving forward. Last year, my word was TRUST with the years previous being ACCEPT and INVITE.

I have a lot of lofty goals for 2017.

I want to dance more, sing more, love more, explore more, read more, learn more, and travel more, all the while finding the balance that has been missing in my life this year.

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Aug
26

10 Things I’ve Learned As An Unschooling Parent

My family started our unschooling journey 6 years ago when we decided not to put our first born child into Kindergarten. We made the decision without a deep understanding of homeschooling. We wanted to travel with our children and homeschooling seemed to be the right thing to do to support this lifestyle.

Since that fateful decision to keep our children out of public school, we have developed a strong philosophy in regards to home education and how children learn.  We believe that children are born curious and that if that curiosity is nurtured, it will continue.

What is Unschooling?  Unschooling can mean different things to different people.  What unschooling means to me is simply educating my children without the use of curriculum or coercion.

Here are 10 things that I have learned as an unschooling parent:

unschooling parent

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Mar
31

Jiggidy Jig

Home again home again, jiggly jig.

As always, it feels so good to be home. Sleeping in our own bed, a fully stocked kitchen, a flush toilet, a hot shower. These things we take for granted that are such incredible luxuries.  I am so grateful to be home. In our house we created, in a country that we love. As with any country, Canada has its problems, but I would choose a life in Canada over anywhere else in the world.

We are busy digging in. Both literally and figuratively. The spring garden has been planted, we are looking to add some ducks to our chicken flock and a couple of pigs to raise for meat.  We have come home full of energy and new ideas.  A new business is in the works and old ones are being vamped up.  We are visiting with friends and throwing parties.  Nothing makes you appreciate what you have more than travel.

DSCN4344 Read the rest of this entry »

Mar
23

Beautiful Utah

We had a hard time deciding which way we would go once we started to head North. We REALLY wanted to take the kids to the Red Wood Forests but the weather forecast for Northern California and Oregon called for extreme weather so mother nature made up our minds for us and we headed home through Utah!

We had never been to Utah before and did not know what to expect.  We were not disappointed.  Utah felt clean and crisp after the dust of the desert for the last few months.  Our first stop was Zion National Park.

We were so happy we came here early in the season as we learned that in the summer this park sees 5000 vehicle loads of tourists per day.  While the park was still touristed when we were there, we were allowed to drive our own vehicle in as the shuttles were not yet running (after mid-march you cannot drive in the park and must take the shuttle).  The campground at the park entrance was only 1/4 full.  A relief after our experience in Joshua Tree.  But the weather was just fine and the signs of spring were starting to emerge. Read the rest of this entry »

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