On our recent trip to Kauai we had Sydney, our 6-year old daughter, keep a travel journal as part of her school work. Here is what she wrote:
After spending the day flying to the Hawaiian island of Kauai from the mainland we made our way to Costco and Safeway to buy groceries for our stay. While the food is really expensive in Hawaii, Costco’s prices are generally the same prices as they are on the mainland. We filled every nook and cranny of our rental car with luggage and groceries and then made our way to the north shore of the island where we would be staying 7 peaceful days, or so we hoped.
We checked into our accommodation in Princeville and unloaded our luggage and groceries and called it a night. Around 2am we were awakened by a most annoying sound; a rooster crowing right outside our window. Kauai is infamous for its annoying roosters, but on our previous visit, we had never actually been woken up by them. The rooster’s crowing continued until 6am when our daughter Sydney started crowing that she wanted to get up. So, we were all up.
After breakfast we packed a lunch and grabbed our snorkel gear and headed down the road to ‘Anini Beach, a kid friendly beach with good snorkeling and not too many people. After spending some time snorkeling and not seeing much we returned to the beach and decided it was time for school. To take this trip we pulled Sydney out of school. We feel travel can be as educating as any classroom, but the basics still need to be taught. Being a master in geography is always useful, but not knowing how to read or do math is just not going to cut it. So, before leaving we spoke to her kindergarten teacher about what she was working on and what they would be working on while she was gone. This was going to be our first experience homeschooling Sydney and something that will be more common once we start our round the world trip. We have always read to her and had been purchasing educational workbooks the last few years to jump start her education, but now we had specific requirements to be met; and already we failed. In our haste, we forgot to bring paper. But who needs paper when we have a sandy beach and a stick. So, she did her writing assignments in the sand with a stick, and it worked out well. And it was much more fun than sitting in a classroom with paper and a pencil.
After her writing assignment was done we started on sandcastle engineering, a very important subject. But during the process of building, Sydney found the one and only bee on the beach and stepped on it with her bare foot experiencing her first bee sting. Surprisingly, she did not cry and only complained that her foot REALLY hurt. Kerri pulled the stinger out and we scratched our heads as to how to stop the pain. We had nothing with us, other than ice. So we applied the ice, packed up all of our stuff, and drove to the nearest market and bought some bee sting relief and paper.
So now, Sydney has finished the rest of her school work and is hopping around on one foot complaining that her swollen foot still REALLY hurts. We are planning on doing a hike to a secluded beach in a couple of days, so hopefully her foot is feeling better.
Recently on a travel forum, somebody asked the question in regards to going on a round the world trip, “How long do you stay in any one place?” The answers were 3-5 days average. For us, that sounds exhausting! We consider the day you arrive and the day you leave as travel days as they rarely give you enough time to explore and you are usually busy focusing on other things to enjoy a place. So that would leave 1-3 days on average to explore. Not nearly enough time to really get to know a place. That little amount of time would be okay for vacations, but doing that for a whole year would be crazy!
A few years ago we travelled to England and Scotland. In 9 days time we drove 1500 miles and tried to see everything. It was exciting to just keep moving and try to take it all in. But, it was also exhausting and we were left feeling like we did not get to experience the places as we would have if we had stayed in one place for the entire time. We saw most of England through a windshield. I can easily see the addiction to just keep moving; the rush of traveling. I think for some people, the journey is more important than the destination. But when you are traveling with a young child, you need stability.
For our round the world trip we are planning to stay at least a month in each location to really get to know the place and to keep expenses down. Transportation and housing costs are going to be the most expensive part of the trip, so by traveling less, and getting discounts for long stay rentals, we can travel longer.
It will also be important to have a schedule in which to homeschool Sydney. Homeschooling would be really difficult if you are always on the run. The other benefit of staying longer in one place is that it gives Sydney a chance to make local friends, which we feel is very important for a child. I mean, who would want to be stuck with their parents for a year or two without anyone their own age to play with?