My husband and I are sitting on our couch. There are books on the floor, our national geographic collection is boxed and ready to be taped, ready to be put in our friend’s attic. We are both writing emails, finishing our publishing ordeals, and making sure that things are done before our big date. Our small library, consisting of almost three hundred books, waits for our attention. The children are sleeping, and as we look at each other, we realize that we are getting closer to finally beginning our life on the road. After so much planning, so much mapping out and so much fixing up of our house on wheels, we were getting really close. And all I can think of is, how can this Cuban and this Canadian agree to such an extreme decision? What are the common values that have put us in agreement about traveling while educating our children?
The first time we talked about this we felt like teenagers about to embark on an expedition, unprepared and in awe of its possibilities. There were so many questions. The hours we had to invest in research piled up like books in a library, there was no stop to those first stages of wanting to become a traveling family. We realized during those early days that although it seemed hard, everything our dream proposed was who we were. And the same research we were doing was also helping us in remembering the individuals we both were before we committed to building a family, a cross cultural family. So, the pursuit of that dream strengthened our relationship, as we individually started to realize the amount of common values we shared.
The boldness of the task, the sense of adventure, and that optimism that comes from imagining where you are going next molded the way we planned exactly what we wanted to do. One thing was clear, homeschooling had to be the go-to resource for educating our children. And in this particular topic, we both had the same thing in mind: having the world as the school playground for teaching our children is the most advantageous option for us.
How many subjects can you cover while traveling?
Honestly, think about this. If you take justice for instance, immediately you have to add principals, morals, honesty which as you know are also the corner stones of developing character, personality and social awareness.
You add a little bit of service before self, kindness and self-respect to that mix and you have material to cover one whole month of civics science, and that is just one subject and its ramifications.
How many times on a daily basis are we exposed to social circumstances where justice and its allies play a major role?
Do you feel the rhythm I’m getting to? Conversations with your children that nurture their ability to be more critical in their thinking, more humane in their own approach to life than whatever it is they may have learned that day in school are more common than we think.
We live in such a contemporary global integration of values and cultural discrepancies, that you really don’t need to go far to put schooling into an active mode. And it is then easy to appreciate how our children are constantly absorbing knowledge completely independently from a classroom. And what better way to expose our children to those experiences than with traveling. We both agreed from the start that educating our children was our responsibility. We are more than just parents. We consider ourselves “guides.”
Knowing that our children will never lack an ever-changing ground for learning, our next step was to ask: are we ready for this leap? And do we have the respect, openness, honesty and commitment towards each other to last on a journey like this? The responsibility of being parents on-the-go weighted on us quite heavily. Of course not long after having those conversations, we one day looked at each other and realized that we exemplified those values already, even before we became a family. The amount of openness and honesty we had for each other was only as strong as the amount of respect and kindness we already had for the other. So the question for us was more the how we get there, than the why are we going there.
Now we are seriously close to that gate, and as I sit here listening to my husband talking in Spanish over the telephone, I realize that the biggest value I have learned these last years from my own cross cultural relationship is about being open to change. Which means, get ready, “the east winds are beginning to blow.”