The Moment of Inspiration in Hoi An Vietnam

I remember the exact moment when the idea of backpacking the world with our future children took seed. 

Mike and I were in Hoi An Vietnam, half way through our 10 month honeymoon in South East Asia, when we saw a family with backpacks.  Looking back on it now I chuckle at my reaction.  I was floored.

You could do that?

You could do that kind of traveling with children?

Having children did not mean the end to the kind of travel we had grown to love?

You mean there is more to family travel than Disneyland?

Over the ensuing weeks, months, and years Mike and I started to hash out our plan.  All we  knew at the beginning was that when we came home from our honeymoon we wanted to start trying for a family and we wanted to take our future children traveling. The plan slowly evolved over time from the general idea that we would travel as a family to our current plan of traveling with our children on a two year Worldschool Adventure in Asia.

Now, almost eight years since Mike and I were married, that little idea inspired by that traveling family has morphed into such a huge part of our lives.

We kept our children out of  school for the flexibility to travel but now this has changed into an entire educational philosophy for us.

We have become passionate about unschooling except we will be  using the whole world as our classroom.  We will be worldschooling our children!

So many old paradigms have melted away for us as we get closer to making our dreams a reality.  Our old views on education, consumption, careers, ownership, and relationships have greatly changed and continue to evolve.

I wish I could thank that traveling family we saw in Vietnam but sadly we never even actually talked to them.

But I do hope, someday a backpacking couple will see our family traveling in some amazing locale and say to themselves “Wow, isn’t that fantastic?  Maybe we could do that someday too!”


What to hear how other traveling families made the decision to travel?

Living Outside of the Box – The Moments that Added Up

Bohemian Travelers- The first moment we decided to change our lives

Livin On The Road – Whose Idea Was It?

Tripping Mom – The moment I decided to live abroad for one year, just me and my child

The Great Family Escape – Capturing The Moment

Family on Bikes – One moment in time: A lifetime of adventures

Family Trek: The moment we knew we were made for more

Raising Miro on the Road of Life – ‘The Moment’ is all there is

Carried on the Wind- Moment




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  1. Justin says:

    I had such a similar moment in 2001 in China. A family of 5 wandering the streets with backpacks. They were so confident! The kids were little and I remember thinking WOW!

    I am glad you held on to the idea. Great Story! Can’t wait to read of stories of how you influenced some young backpackers when you hit SEA.

    1. worldschooled says:

      Thank you Justin. It really is amazing how one moment in time can shape your ideas about your future. Those families you and I saw have no idea how they have effected us. It is really cool to think about!

  2. Marilia says:

    Years before having my girl, I also remember watching a woman carrying a baby in a backpack in the Atacama Desert and thinking: ¨Wow, so people travel with babies like that!¨

    Now, traveling with my girl, just like you, it changed all my concepts of schooling. So it´s really nice for me to see how you do it with your boys, the new role models are on the internet 🙂

    1. worldschooled says:

      Thank you Marilla, the role models are on the internet and you are one of them! I love reading your posts on education and parenting. You are always so honest and refreshing and we share so many of the same philosophies.

  3. Clark Vandeventer says:

    When Monica was pregnant with our first so many people said to us, “your traveling days are behind you…” That says more about the parents than it does the kids!

    Your experience sounds so similar to our own. Our very intentional decision to arrange life to allow for travel has led to all sorts of new passions. I had not really thought much at all about educational philosophies until we started traveling with our kids (and our kids began to approach school age). I can’t decide what to call it. Homeschool, worldschool, roadschool, unschool?

    1. worldschooled says:

      Doesn’t matter what label we put on it, what matters is the intention of it. Letting the world be our teacher, what better schoolroom could we ask for?

  4. Rebeca says:

    That’s great that you started planning before you even had kids! I remember backpacking around SE Asia when I was single and running into a few families there too. Such a great gift to give kids!

    1. worldschooled says:

      I think it really is an amazing gift to give to kids. An extraordinary life right from the get go!

  5. Nancy from Family on Bikes says:

    They will – for sure! So much of living your dream is knowing it’s even a possibility to begin with. If it has never occurred to you that you can do something, you’ll certainly never try it. That’s why it’s so important that us traveling families are out there to show others it can be done!

    1. worldschooled says:

      And your family is such an inspiration to all of us who are working to make our dreams our reality. Cycling from Alaska to Argentina is such an epic journey, your family proves that we can all do everything we set our minds to!

  6. Lisa Wood says:

    Oh wow – I so had wished that we had seen something like that when our kids were younger 🙂
    The only thing that I ever wished we had done differently was to travel from day one with our boys – and to never have sent them to school!!!

    How lucky you got to see that family in Vietnam, and how amazing you are able to show others that World Schooling is better then normally schooling 🙂


    1. worldschooled says:

      We are very lucky to have started to lay the plan of travel before we even had children. And I am soooo grateful that we have never put them into school. They have never even been to preschool or been babysat by anyone other than family.

  7. Living Outside of the Box says:

    Love it! Thank goodness for families who snuff out the nay-sayers! I can’t believe how many times we have heard the “but you can’t do that with kids” speech, with our previous life plan of moving back and forth from/to Alaska. Now…even better…we’re out of there, and soon off to see so many other parts of the world! Our families have no idea that our idea of education has morphed (as yours has), and will be in shock when we break free from the school model in the next few years (after our kids have a very strong foundation in Spanish)! Go be that beacon of family traveling to the WORLD! Yahoo!! 😉

    1. worldschooled says:

      Ha Ha, love it! The beacon of family travel to the world!

      It really is something that when one of your precious ideas about life changes, it causes an avalanche of change. We have been examining so many things in our lives lately. Things that we thought we had the right answers to but now we are seeing that our ideas were not our own, they were society’s.

  8. Heidi says:

    Yes! I saw the family in China in 2001 too and it just seemed so cool to introduce kids into another, very different culture. And I love your thought about passing that same inspiration forward on your own travels. So great!

    1. worldschooled says:

      Thanks Heidi, I hope we do inspire others!

  9. amy says:

    I’m sure that there are already families who’ve looked at what you’re setting out to do that have drawn inspiration from it, Amy.

    1. worldschooled says:

      Thank you Amy, the same goes for you too!

  10. Kjersti says:

    Very inspiring, it’s great to see more people realizing that having kids is not the same as forever thinking all those travel plans must be postponed until retirement. I don’t have kids myself (partly because I still think it would slow me down, talk about double standards), but I am beginning to understand I could 🙂

    1. worldschooled says:

      Totally, kids will only stop you if you let them. The type of travel you do will definitely change though.

  11. Sally says:

    perhaps I am the exception but I knew travelling with children was something I would always do and when travelling before having my girls I would see other families and think ; yep that will be us one day. perhaps also having parents who were clearly before their time – as my mum and dad took me and my sisters out of school for 6 months(back in the ’70’s) to sail our boat around indonesia and the coast of australia. my mum home schooled us and it didn’t seem strange to us at all but when I mention it still I get surprised reactions.
    today the world is so much smaller and technology blows me away with what is possible but at the same time there is nothing like experiencing it all with your own eyes. approx 6 months and counting ’til we are off on our big adventure for longer than our regular 4 weeks annual leave. can’t wait.

    1. worldschooled says:

      That is so great that you had those experiences when you were young!

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