Does education fit within a nomadic life?
I am sitting here, in my parents home while my daughter is at preschool, wondering for what feels like the millionth time, whether this is where we really want to be. I am talking about living here, in this city, in this country, living this life. I know that this is common when coming back from a trip and I absolutely love what I do and my home, but there is something that isn't sitting right with me.
We have spent almost the entirety of the past 3 months travelling. What is crazy is that I realised that it is cheaper for me to travel the world than it is to live at home. I am from Sydney so the real estate market is on steroids. Granted, the prices are slowly going down but for a single mother to be able to afford to live and offer quality of life to her child (and herself), it is too hard.
I am sure that you are wondering how it is more expensive to be home when travelling includes the costs of flights and accommodation, amongst other things. To be honest, I wonder the same thing! Paying for a weeks accommodation in any of the places that we have visited is cheaper than a weeks mortgage for me in Sydney. Paying for a weeks worth of food is also cheaper, regardless of whether I buy takeaway or food to cook in our accommodation. In fact, if I include the costs that I have paid for flights, I may just be getting on par with the costs that I spend weekly while at home, but I would say that amount would decrease if we didn't come home between trips or if we flew from places that were more central as Australia is a long way from the rest of the world ;) . It seems insane to me.
My daughter is due to start school next year and as much as I know she is ready, I know that it is good for her and I know that she needs the social and intellectual stimulation, I am just having trouble coming to terms with that being the direction our lives will take. She starts school and then we spend the next 13 years stuck in that cycle, slaves to the school term... really?! I know that we are lucky to live in a country where we have such high educational standards, where the healthcare is brilliant etc but surely there has to be more to life than the rat race we all end up getting stuck in. Some people may think that I am selfish for wanting my daughter to receive a world education, that I am wanting her to live my dreams instead of having the option to live out and choose her own. To be honest, I don't even know if it is what I want or if it is something that I am able to do. It is something that I like the thought of. I think that a part of the reason why I am feeling this way is that I feel like I have only just begun to feel free, like I am finally heading in the right direction. To know that over a decade of a fixed location due to schooling is ahead of me feels suffocating.
I hear people talking about home-schooling and unschooling. I haven't read enough to be able to make an informed decision on either but I don't know whether their concepts feel right for us. Maybe the answer is a a slightly less structured school, somewhere that is focused on the abilities and interests. All I know for sure is that this has been a year of learning and growth. I feel like I have unlearned things and broken the practice of so many things in my life and I am stronger and more aware of myself and my surroundings as a result. My daughter and I have become so in tune with each other, we always have been but there is more depth. We have worldly experiences that we have shared, we have learned about new religions, new countries and new cultures together and experienced them, together. We have been through our most trying times as a duo and come out stronger as a result. For these reasons and many more, I feel suffocated at the thought of being restricted to school holidays to be able to experience our freedom. The travels we take are not holidays, we are working. I am working on building my business and constantly trying to source more local handicrafts, I am teaching my daughter along the way. Teaching numbers, phonics and sight words as well as about the places and people that we are visiting, including snippets of the local languages. I tell my daughter that she is my business partner so she has to sit with me through meeting with new suppliers, sounds boring but I think that it is all a part of her world education. I am a strong believer in education through experience and teaching through travel. I hope that she will take many important life lessons away from these experiences, I know I certainly do. I am constantly learning about my place in the world, my role as a mother, her role as a person within the world. We will find the path that is right for us and if we don't listen to the signs that the universe is showing us, I am sure the rug will be pulled from under us again to make us listen :)