4 Worn PassportsOut of the bubble. Into the world.
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4 passports with a lot of passport stamps


Common Around-the-World (RTW)

Frequently Asked Questions:

When people learn that we are ditching middle school to travel around the world, most people have the same questions.

Please scroll down to read the answers.

What about your jobs?
What about school?
How much will this cost?
How do you pack?
What about your pets?
Where will you stay?

What about your jobs?

We are in the real estate field. As such, our income is cyclical. The peak season is spring and summer which rules out the possibility of long term travel during the summer months. By planning our trip during the slow season, we can minimize the financial impact. We have several trusted colleagues who are managing our business affairs while we’re away. Besides a time difference, we are just as accessible as if we were in town.

What about school?

The timing of our trip is quite intentional. We know that world-schooling middle schoolers will be much easier to manage than high schoolers. Our girls had some concern about being world-schooled by their parents until they realized that WE won’t actually be teaching them.

To set up the homeschool process, I did the following:

  • Met with school administrators,
  • Selected Rosewood Academy as our “umbrella” school (per Alabama state requirements),
  • Developed a country-specific reading list (thanks to teachers and school librarian),
  • Selected online homeschool curriculums that meet the state’s requirements, and
  • Met with each of the girls’ teachers to discuss what we needed to cover while away.

Here is how we are covering each subject:

Math: We’re using Thinkwell’s online curriculum for Pre-Algebra and Algebra I. It’s just like being in a classroom minus 25 other students. They watch a series of video lectures by Dr. Burger, and then do practice problems and tests. I am out of the teaching/grading loop completely, which everyone prefers. Dr. Burger is an excellent teacher with a great sense of humor. I often hear the girls laughing out loud during their math lessons. An online math curriculum that is laugh-out-loud funny is pretty impressive.

Science: We’re using the Plato online curriculum for Life Science (7th grade) and Physical Science (8th grade). When we aren’t experiencing technical difficulties, it’s a good program.

Social studies: Every day of our journey is one big social studies lesson. We are learning about different cultures, religions, governments, languages, currencies, geography and more. The girls are writing about these experiences for our blog.

English: Thanks to our school’s librarian and one of their English teachers, we have an extensive reading list of non-fiction and historical fiction relevant to the places we are going. Additionally, writing for the blog is part of our English curriculum.

We are traveling with one MacBook Air and one Acer netbook for online lessons since most don’t work with iPads. We also each have an iPad or tablet for surfing the web, checking email, and watching NetFlix whenever we’re lucky enough to have free WIFI.

It turns out we aren’t the only ones who think travel has huge educational benefits.  Frommer’s just published the results of a study proving the benefits of educational travel by teens and tweens.

How much will this cost?

Asking how much a RTW trip costs is a little like asking how much a house or a car costs…it depends.

However, what we realized after visiting Thailand and Cambodia for less than three weeks two years ago was this:

It costs much less to keep traveling once you get somewhere,
than to go on a series of 2-3 week trips each year.

That is the expensive way to see the world. When we crunched the numbers after our first Thailand/Cambodia trip, we realized that almost half of the total trip cost was on our flights to and from Thailand. In other words, being there wasn’t expensive, getting there was. Couple that with a 30 hour door-to-door journey, and we figured there must be a better way.

Then we looked at our bucket list of places to visit before the girls finished high school (more of SE Asia, Australia, and New Zealand) and calculated how much time and money it would take to visit those places independently. It became very clear that it would cost much less, and we could see much more, if we just took a family gap year. Go big or go home!

By being flexible and taking advantage of regional low cost airlines, our total airfare for a 5 month, RTW journey will be just slightly higher than what we spent on airfare during our three week SE Asia trip two years ago.

How do you pack?

Since we are visiting both hot and cold climates, we are packing a little bit of everything but not much of anything.  Even with one medium suitcase, I brought too much.

Here is everything I’m taking for 5 months:

Tip: Packing cubes are essential, and resist the urge to overpack!

What about your pets?

Without a doubt, leaving our pets is the most difficult part of the entire process.  However, we have found two fantastic families to foster our cat and dog while we are away.  We get regular pictures and updates.  We even FaceTime with them occasionally.

Where will you stay?

We are staying in $24 hotel rooms (Vietnam), $180 hostels (Sydney), and everything in between.  Our three requirements are: 1) Location, 2) Cleanliness, and 3) Safety.  As long as it ticks those three boxes, we can make it work.  We try very hard to find family rooms, guest houses, and apartments that allow the girls to have separate beds, and it is a huge bonus when we get two bathrooms.

If you have other any questions, please submit them in the comments below.  We will do our best to answer them!







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