Have you ever worked so hard on reaching a goal, and then when you actually reached it you didn't know what to do next?
Ever since we decided to take the leap into full-time traveling 3 years ago, I have always dreamed of taking our family overseas to travel to different countries.
I wanted our family to experience other cultures, different ways of life, and to then come back to the US feeling humbled and changed.
Well, over the last 6 months we did that. We reached the top, we succeeded, and oh my goodness Tony and I felt lost.
You see, we've always been working hard to find the 'next thing'. So, while we were over in Malaysia, Tony and I came to the conclusion that we honestly didn't know what to do next.
We had so many choices and no clue which direction to make.
1. Should we keep world-traveling and explore more countries?
2. Should we go back to the USA and get back into our Class C RV
3. Or, should we look for a larger RV? (as we really liked the space we felt in the Airbnbs in Asia)
Then, something happened that changed our direction altogether.
Our son, Riley, came to us in a very grown-up way and spoke to us from the heart.
He said that he knew he was lucky to be able to travel the world with his family and homeschool, but he really just wanted to try to be a 'normal' kid and try going to a real school.
That night, Tony and I talked for hours and decided that we wanted to give him that chance.
You see, we have always worked hard to encourage our kids to talk to us about anything. As most parents, we try hard to really listen to them.
So, there we were in Malaysia with no travel plans booked the following month, and decisions to make.
I started to panic.
Then, I talked with Tony a lot. Then I started to research.
The way I cope with stress is to find solutions and talk it out, a lot.
But first, I began to journal a bit and make some lists. Tony was struggling with how much I wanted to talk about the future with him each day, so I needed to write it down.
I listed my top priorities for 2020 in a small journal:
Later, Tony realized that he had similar top priorities.
Wellness to me includes eating healthy, sleeping well, exercising and focusing on great mental health. Overseas, I was struggling with most of these things.
The second priority I listed in my journal is 'Family'. This includes making sure that all 6 of us are healthy, happy, and learning every day. Change needed to happen here, and I knew it.
As we were world traveling, I was trying to maintain our online business as content creators here at Let's Travel Family, but I was also pulling back a bit so I could focus more on homeschooling and world traveling with our family.
What I really wanted to do was share more with all of you, continue to grow our income, and apply all of the blogging techniques I've learned to continue to see results. From improving my photography on Instagram and writing more for our blog to improving our video production on YouTube and reaching out to brands to work with. I had SO many ideas and goals, but not a consistent working schedule.
It wasn't until I spoke with my good friend Clementine that I finally believed that whatever decision we did make about our next steps, did not have to be permanent.
It also doesn't have to change us completely.
We are world travelers, RVers, and a digital nomad family. Those things are not changing no matter what we did next.
Once I accepted this, it was so much easier to take the next steps moving forward.
If you know us, you know that our kids have never been to a school. Ever.
We have always worldschooled or homeschooled.
The first time they actually stepped foot into a classroom was during our visit to Lombok, Indonesia in October when our friend and housekeeper Rena took us to visit her daughter at school.
It was 90 degrees, with no AC, and there were 40 children in the classroom sitting at desks. It was an incredible cultural experience and one that we shared on our YouTube video if you want to see it.
We decided as a family that we didn't want to live abroad much longer. We were missing the US. So we had some things to consider.
We have always wanted our kids to:
- LOVE learning
- Find a passion and drive and push forward with it
- Problem solve well
- Learn to be entrepreneurs
- Think for themselves
- Have the skills necessary to make a difference in this world
We also didn't want our kids to have to:
- take standardized tests
- only learn what the curriculum or teacher told them
- have homework each night
- not be able to travel often
So, public schools just didn't seem right for our way of thinking. We also are not a religious family so most private schools were ruled out as well.
It sounded too good to be true, but I dove into researching it anyway.
Acton Academy was founded in Austin, Texas about 10 years ago. Since then, there have been over 100 other Actons started around the world.
Think of it as a one-room school house using a very Montessori approach, but more modern. Meaning, they see the benefit of using technology such as laptops, to learn core skills like reading, writing, math, typing and more while encouraging children to find the answers to questions themselves.
They use a Socratic approach to teaching, encourage children to grow into having an entrepreneur mindset, do not require homework, allow and support families to take family-time and miss school for travel, and is not a religious-based private school. Basically fits everything we'd look for in a school!
I made a few overseas phone calls to speak with the guides and directors of the different Acton Academy's around the US and then learned there was one in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia!
So, we went to tour the KL Acton in January. By this time, Lilya was sharing with us that she really wanted to try going to school too.
Our visit to KL Acton went SO well. Tony and I were utterly impressed and Lilya and Riley walked out and said to me in the first 30 seconds 'I want to go to Acton, Mom'.
Again, we all agreed that we didn't want to go to school overseas. So we needed to start searching for an Acton in the USA in a state we could be happy living in.
While doing our research, we continued to talk with all 4 of our kids. Gwen, our 7 year old, really loved homeschooling and told us over and over that she wanted to stay home with mom and do school. Jasmine is only 4, and we feel that having time at home when you're young is so great for development.
So we all agreed, no matter where we ended up 2 would go to school and 2 would still homeschool.
After much research, we planned our flights back to the US using our Ultimate Chase rewards points (if you're looking for a great credit card this is the one we used with 80K bonus points for signing up).
We knew that we wanted to get into our RV and feel the feels first, before making any commitments. So, we arrived to our RV in the snow!
The kids were excited to see all their stuff and feel 'home' and I was excited to use my own pillow and make our own food again.
The Acton Academy that we decided we'd like to visit was in Boise, Idaho.
Yet, we had plans to attend the RVE Summit in Alabama in mid-March, so we had to make some decisions.
On our first day in the RV, Riley opened up to me and said 'Mom, I think Lilya and I are really ready to be challenged. I think we should go to Idaho and try Acton right away'.
He knew that he'd miss out on seeing many of his RV friends in Alabama, but he was ready to try school and who am I to stand in his way?!
So, we decided that after only 3 days RVing in the snow in Denver, Colorado it was time to drive our 'home-on-wheels' and our van to Boise, Idaho to visit Heroes Academy to see if it's a good fit for our kids.
We are always going to be travelers, and we also don't know how long we'll commit as a family to staying put. Yet, we are willing to give it a chance and try it for a few months to see if it's a good fit for all of us.
So, off to Boise we go to check out a school for our older two kids.
Time for us to look at what life will look like without traveling full-time for a bit and if it will help us meet some of our priorities we set for 2020.
They were: Wellness, Family, Business.
Without full-time travel for a few months (at least) while the kids try out school, my hope is that we can all focus on on our WELLNESS while also doing what's best for our FAMILY and bonus, I now might have more time and energy to work on the BUSINESS!
If you skipped to the end, or you've read this very long post (thank you!), then you might be curious to know what's next.
Well, if you'd like to hear more about our big life changes from us more 'in person' then check out our Instagram stories and posts over the next week and our YouTube videos over the next few weeks. We are going deep and sharing a lot more than this post went into in video format, it just takes a bit more time to get it ready. 🙂
There are many factors that influenced our decisions outside of Riley wanting to try school, and still many unknowns.
Thank you for taking the time to read this long post. I have been wanting to share this sooner, yet we have needed some time to breath and recoup from some crazy travel experiences that I'll be sharing with you all soon. So keep an eye here on the blog, or better yet in our weekly emails so I can let you know when we publish our next update.