Jun 18

Family Vagabonding: The Preface

by in Road School

top of notre dameFamily Vagabonding.  For us, it means “family bonding.”   Authentic experiences.  Field trips around the corner and around the globe.  It’s getting to know the planet on which we live and the people with whom we share it.

As with most major life changes, it just happened.  Having spent the first half of our adult lives in suburban Virginia, just outside Washington DC, the events of 9/11 caused us to take pause.  We loved DC — and still do — but decided we wanted our children to know the world beyond the beltway and suburban life, and we wanted to be close to family.  We had a choice:  family members in both Indianapolis and Kailua, Hawaii . . . midwest values, 24/7 sports & lots of cousins, or some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, a bit more far flung,  and a few less cousins.  We decided we could visit Indy from time to time.

Today, “home” is one of the most idyllic, sleepy beach towns in the country, maybe the world.  A corner market where everyone gathers for coffee in the mornings, and beach burgers on the weekends.  Our children’s lives are spent between paddling clubs and soccer, hula lessons and art class.  We gather with friends to watch the full moon slip into the night sky over the ocean each month, then enjoy a bottle of wine while our children and their friends go crabbing and build sand castles by moonlight.  We are blessed to live here, and we know it.  It’s a place where magic happens, and if you pause long enough to hear the still, quiet voice from within, you know you are home.

It’s from this special place that we launch our Family Vagabonding adventures.   First, of course, we explored our new home: the beaches of Maui and its spectacular “up country” rural countryside; the volcano and farmlands on the Big Island, and the jungles, rainforests and beaches of Kauai.  Then it was on to Alaska, down the Pacific Northwest Coast into California; later, oLunch under the Oliver Treento Indy (remember, we promised we’d visit), then the ubiquitous “are-we-there-yet” car travel odyssey across the mainland US, through Canada, the Adirondacks and finally, New York City.

Later, our vagabonding spanned the Atlantic, where we spent a month trekking across Europe.    Thirty days, 9 countries, 6 languages, 3 currencies, and countless memories.  With our homemade, personalized  travel guidebook in hand — equal parts history, geography, travel guide and a few games — we watched as our children navigated the streets, trams, trains, and subways of  cities large and small across Europe.  They adapted to local communities, tried new foods, respected new cultures and customs, and came to understand the interconnectivity of global affairs.  It was at some point in Europe — most likely under an olive tree in Rome, with a particularly lovely glass of red wine in hand — that we knew we were onto something remarkable.  What our kids learned in Europe came home with us in very personal and meaningful ways.   When Sacagawea’s 3rd grade class studied ancient civilizations, she helped lead the discussions and brought in the study guides.  When an earthquake rattled Italy a few months back, it wasn’t some far-away place; it was the neighboring village to places we’d traveled, and she and Dundee intently followed each development as though they knew everyone in the village.  The world was no longer an impersonal blue and green globe in their classroom; the world was their classroom, and its people their new neighbors and friends.

So here we are:  bags packed, compass in hand, and new adventures before us.   We want our children to know the world in which they live, and we want to be there at their side as we discover it, one place at  a time.  They are the stewards of the 21st century — a new and exciting world much different than its 20th century predecessor — and it’s our job to help them navigate it with wisdom, perspective and personal experience.

We hope you’ll come along for the ride from time to time!

No Responses to “Family Vagabonding: The Preface”

  1. From Christina G:


    Posted on June 19, 2009 at 7:55 am #
  2. From Barbara Angotti:

    This is fantastic. What a warm-up for the great Autratlian adventure to come. Keep writing and sending pictures please.

    Posted on June 22, 2009 at 1:45 pm #
  3. From Paul Franklin:

    Fantastic. Kudos! It is rare that people get to attain this level of adventure. You are truly doing what life is about. I will be following you on your adventures, reading intently and wishing to be along for the ride.


    Posted on December 15, 2009 at 1:18 am #
  4. From Robert St. John:

    Brilliant. Organic learning. I can think of no better way to teach all of the Lessons of Life than to get out and LIVE IT. Makes me want to quit my teaching job and come along. I know my wife would agree. It’s my job that keeps us anchored here, more than anything, and isn’t that a fine, ironic kettle of fish? Certainly your experience puts all critics of home schooling to rest. Is Owen jealous? As his teacher for all of his high school years, I don’t think anything we did came close to this, even in Drama class! I especially love the lessons about giving back.

    Posted on March 8, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

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