This is part of a series on travel. To read more, click here.
When you’ve not typed a word on your blog in ages and are not sure if you even know the login and password of your site, it’s a sign that you are not really being a responsible blog owner. Whoops. What can I say? Life is busy. There are a million blogs out there and I’m never convinced that anyone would want to read mine.
Our family and church life has kept me busy enough that writing on a blog has been the last thing on my mind. But recently I’ve been asked multiple times to write blog posts. What has garnered a lot of attention as of late is the travel we’ve been able take with our boys in tow in 2018-2019. It’s hard for me to believe that our six-year-old has more stamps in his passport than I had when I was 21, and that the trio of boys has traveled to Europe, Asia, and Africa within the past year.
Pinch me, are we dreaming?
In a lot of ways, we are. It’s a dream come true and we feel very grateful.
After this last trip, especially, we’ve had the same question time and time again: How are you doing this for your family? How do you afford it? Did you receive an inheritance?
I find some of these questions to be a bit too much, if you want me to be totally honest. I don’t ask my neighbor how he affords his new car, and how my friend affords her child’s expensive lessons, etc. But I guess travel is unique enough and it calls people to take note.
Truth is: we all make choices in our life, in the way we give and in the way we spend our money.
I don’t want to go overboard and list out all the ways we save money for travel, because we can always compare ourselves to someone and think they have it better.
But to be simple, we save to travel. Our cars are old. We don’t have cable, Netflix (gasp!), any memberships or monthly subscriptions. We have no debt, outside of a home mortgage. We barely eat out (our average total dining out for the whole family, including Starbucks, annually is 80% less than the average American family).
We try to keep our spending simple. I watch for deals at Goodwill for clothes. If we buy new items, we make intentional purchases that are quality, long-term purchases rather than throw-away impulse items. And I always pray for an extra measure of self-control when I walk in to Target.
Another area that is different for our family is that we don’t have the kids in a ton of lessons or sports. I want to be quick to say that I think that lessons and sports are great. Fantastic. I know sports can be so fun for kids and parents alike. But every soccer league, random class and lesson, etc., is a lot of time in our week and adds up financially.
We save for travel because we value travel. For our family, we want to focus our money towards a different sort of education. We want them to experience different cultures. Understand history beyond a textbook. Get a real grasp on geography.
For me personally, no matter what my kids do with their life, I have these goals for them related to our travel years:
I want them to see that the world is bigger than what’s inside their normal “bubble”.
I want them to know that just because someone does something different than we do it, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It means it’s different (possibly even better).
I want them to always know, deep within their soul, that people of different cultures and origins are valued and important. Each person is a lovely soul, created in the image of the Creator.
I have observed in our country (and elsewhere) that there is a fear of people that are different than us. Whether it’s their language, their culture, or their background, we as humans often focus on the difference and it makes us fearful.
I don’t want my kids to be afraid of different. I want them to embrace different and value different.
What would change for the better in our world if we could be okay with different?
Travel as part of our educational philosophy is unusual, but we believe it to be worthwhile. It’s not the only way, rather, it’s our family’s way (yay for the choice to homeschool).
There may be reasons why an individual or family cannot travel, whether it be health, financial, or just simply the choice to not travel. Travel isn’t for everyone and not everyone will enjoy the challenges that travel presents. And that’s okay!
For our family, for this season, we are taking advantage of travel as a way to expand our hearts, minds, and understanding of this world. It’s not always cheap, it’s not always easy, but I pray it’s richly rewarding and worldview-shaping for our boy’s future.
More to come on this subject….
Thanks for reading, Sarah & the boys